We’re all familiar with experiencing shame and how it can be an isolating emotion. Shame often leads to feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt which can greatly affect those who are in addiction recovery. While most of us deal with shame and move forward from it, some people aren’t able to escape it. The feelings remain constant and create a deeper void in the person’s existence.

To fully understand how shame fuels drug and alcohol addiction, we must learn how to distinguish it from guilt. Guilt is a natural feeling that occurs after making a mistake or a poor decision. Feelings of guilt come from our moral conscience which lets us know that we’ve done something against that of our moral compass. For example, you feel guilty for being angry at your spouse because they made an honest mistake or you yelled at your kids for interrupting you at work.

    Shame is quite different from guilt in that the former creates feelings of inadequacy. With shame, you may feel that simple mistakes devalue your worth as a person. For example, if you were at the receiving end of your spouse’s anger, shame might prompt you to isolate or stay out for a while. As these feelings build up, you start to look for ways to escape and for some people, they achieve this by drinking or resorting to drugs.

While guilt can enlighten you in correcting your mistake or behavior, shame makes you feel trapped in a self-loathing vortex. Let’s discuss how shame can feed addiction and make it difficult for people to recover.

When does shame become painful?

Shame is a natural human emotion that everyone experiences. However, things are quite different when it comes to addiction as this feeling becomes almost unavoidable. It brings a profound sense of separation not just from yourself, but from other people as well. These constant feelings are what wears people down from feeling shame:

  • You feel undeserving of love.
  • You feel unimportant
  • You feel as if you’re a bad person
  • You feel like a complete failure
  • You feel like you deserve to be alone
  • You feel like you are not worth it

When a person feels shameful because of their addiction, it can turn into an internal battle that’s hard to win over. The chronic sense of inferiority and unworthiness makes the person believe they’re undeserving of love, happiness, or respect. They feel ashamed of who they are and this cultivates hopelessness, numbness, and depression.

Such an emotional state will eventually form a barrier to self-help, rendering the person incapable of being receptive to assistance. 

External stress coming from work, relationships, and finances starts to feel overwhelming. Because of this, the person may resort to using drugs or alcohol to escape from the stress. Substance abuse affects one’s self-esteem and as they delve deeper into addiction, they start to lose control of their life. With this comes hopelessness and disappointment escalate that further engraves their shameful feeling.

 As the cycle repeats, the person becomes let down by their inability to handle the pressure. They feel as if they don’t deserve help from other people because they’re afraid of disappointing their friends and family.

Cycle of Addiction

How to heal from shame

While shame and addiction can keep a person trapped in the cycle, that doesn’t mean that healing is impossible. It takes incredible heart and courage to acknowledge your addiction and with this self-awareness comes the opportunity for healing.

Recovering from shame requires a safe environment where you are surrounded by people who can help you move forward. In a professional addiction treatment program, you can triumph over shame by:

  • Identifying shame – The first step in healing from shame is to learn what human error is. Everyone makes mistakes and it’s important you don’t let those mistakes define you as a person. It’s okay to feel guilty for what you have done, but never allow that feeling to turn into shame, or else you will feel defeated whenever you make a single error.
  • Commit to change behavior – Self-awareness is the catalyst of addiction recovery. Once you’re able to recognize the root of your problem, you can address that with changed behaviour. There’s no point in beating yourself up over the same mistakes you made in the past. Instead of wallowing in shame, take it upon yourself to change for the better. 
  •  Redefine your self-worth – Your thoughts reflect your actions. If you think you’re unworthy of love, then you’ll end up making the wrong choices to justify that thought. But if you start to think positively of yourself, you will start to rebuild your self-esteem and become more confident in your decision-making.

Healing from shame and addiction requires an honest effort coupled with professional help. If you’re dealing with bouts of shame, do not lose hope. There is still a way for you to break free from the shackles of shame and addiction and the sooner you start your recovery, the better it’ll be for your future. If you require any further information then look no further than Bali’s leading rehab centre who can provide you will all of the necessary information.


Calm Rehab Addiction Recovery

It doesn’t take a lot to become a gray area drinker. For those of you who don’t know, gray area drinking refers to consuming alcohol in different spectrums. People who fall into this category usually don’t consider themselves alcoholics because they feel their alcohol consumption is completely under control. Or is it?

The problem with gray area drinking is that it gives you a false sense of security. While you may not be physically dependent on the substance, you often use it to help achieve a state of mind like relaxation and happiness. Society has made gray area drinking the norm which is why people are having a tough time identifying it as an issue.

Just because everyone is comfortable doing it, that doesn’t mean you should too. Here are a couple of tell-tale signs that you may be a gray area drinker and how you can address this situation.

  1. You’re becoming concerned about your drinking habits

Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling remorseful after a drinking session? Yet you go on with your normal routine like working out, eating a healthy diet, and functioning properly at work. Sure, your drinking isn’t affecting your life drastically, but you know in the back of your mind that it’s something worth paying attention to.

This is how most gray area drinkers feel. They’re quite unsure whether their drinking habits are starting to get out of hand or not. Still, they engage in alcohol consumption because nothing bad is happening as a result. 

Alcohol Addiction

  1. You drink between two extremes

As a gray area drinker, you’re far from hitting rock bottom and you’re most definitely not a now-and-then drinker either. You fall somewhere in the middle where your alcohol consumption is either sporadic or intense. One day you find yourself drinking a pint or two and the next day you end up half drunk.

This is what tricks gray area drinkers into believing their drinking habits are okay. Because they don’t end up getting hammered, they think they have everything under control.

  1. You stop drinking alcohol but jump back in again

Say you were working on your fitness goals and you stopped drinking or you swore on your New Year’s resolutions that you would cut down on alcohol. You maintain sobriety for days — even months on end, but something comes up like a surprise party or a promotion at work.

You find it hard to turn down alcohol and back again in the drinking carousel you go. You immediately regret how much you’re drinking and you can’t seem to stop as easily as you did last time.

  1. Your drinking habits don’t look alarming to those around you

Gray area drinkers are surrounded by people who engage in the same activities they do. If you talk about your drinking with your social and business circles, you probably know who drinks much more than you. Knowing this, you tell yourself that your drinking habits aren’t that bad and your colleagues don’t view it as a problem.

  1. You view alcohol as a reward

As a gray area drinker, you consider alcohol as a reward. It’s how you enjoy life and unwind after a stressful day at work. Everything in moderation, right? Yet, you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve woken up with a hangover and swearing not to drink too much ever again.

Gray area drinking is like a slippery slope and the societal pressure to keep drinking is strong. Friends and family members will come to you and say “Let’s have a drink” and while your initial answer is no, you end up drinking because it’s only this one time. 

Gray Area Drinking


How to combat gray area drinking

Gray area drinking can be addressed by making small, meaningful changes to your life. Be honest with yourself; what’s the reason you engage in gray area drinking? Do you use alcohol as a way to relax and have a good time with friends? Or do you drink to ease the frustration and anxiety?

Find other ways to spend time with your loved ones. You don’t need alcohol to enjoy the companionship of friends or family as you can engage in other healthy activities like playing sports and working out. Look for alternative avenues for dealing with your frustration and anxieties that don’t involve drinking. As you learn to replace your drinking habits with positive ones, you can slowly step out of this gray area and live your life completely sober

Reach out to healthcare professionals that understand your drinking concerns. Gray area drinking is real and there are many qualified coaches, therapists, and healthcare practitioners who understand the root cause of this problem.

If you’re dealing with gray area drinking and would like to receive professional help, you can reach out to Calm Rehab. Calm Rehab is a drug rehab in Bali that specialises in both drug and alcohol rehabilitation. With a team of qualified clinical professionals on our side, Calm Rehab sets the stage for helping you make lasting life changes and step away from gray area drinking once and for all.