"Shame" is defined as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. I have been affected by shame since I was very young and still experience shame to this day. When I was young, I was told by people who were supposed to care and love me that I was "stupid", "an embarrassment", and "a loser", telling me really hurtful things. Actually, I grew up believing that these things they told me were true which pretty much set me up for failure. It really wasn’t until I was 27 years old that I realized that everything that was said to me wasn’t true and that it was probably just a projection of what they felt about themselves. Shame can really affect a person’s life in a horrible way. My shame caused me to miss out on a lot in my life that I wish I could get back. Thanks to God, I found my way to South Orange Count Detox & Treatment where I am learning to find truth and realize that I don’t have to get stuck in my shame, but that I can use it to motivate me to do better.
Shame is such negative word. “Shame on you” is something no one wants to hear. It brings up feelings that so many of us relate to our childhood. For me, I don’t only feel as if I have done something wrong, but even worse, I have disappointed the ones I love, and I've felt like I was morally defective. Addiction brings with it so much shame. The lying, the sneaking, and the hiding all fuels the fires of shame. What I have learned here at South Orange County Detox and Treatment is that I can have healthy remorse over my actions but I don’t have to live in shame which is usually the number one reason for relapse in my case. I'm also learning that one of the keys to success in recovery is emotional sobriety. Understanding what makes me tick and turning my life around so instead of getting stuck in the shame and failure I can get on with the process of forgiving myself. The greatest thing to hear is “I am proud of you”. I intend to replace shame with pride so I can lead and healthy productive life.
Throughout my addiction Ive done many shameful things and I was never able to take an honest look at myself until I made the decision to pursue recovery. Since making that decision I've had to uncover all parts of myself, good and bad, in order to have a healthy ego and come closer to my true self. One detail I've had to face, and one that undermines further progress is shame. However, by consistently working on myself, spot checking myself, and through working a program I've been able to handle and deal with that shame and turn it into motivation and determination to rebuild relationships with others, and most importantly, myself.