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Overcoming the Shame of the Past

Addiction is a powerful disease that causes us to do all sorts of regrettable things. Our substance use became our priority over all else, and we often harmed those we loved most during active addiction. It takes courage to face our past in recovery, but when we go about a process of cleaning up the wreckage we have caused, we place ourselves in a mentally and spiritually unburdened position that allows us to continue undeterred on our journey of recovery.

The 8th and 9th Steps of 12-Step Recovery suggest that we make a list of all persons we had harmed and go about a process of making direct amends to them. This allows us to make up for our misdeed as a result of our addiction. Whether or not we are in a 12-Step recovery program, making the decision to face our past can be extremely beneficial and allows us to overcome our shame. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.” The process allows us to overcome negative feelings associated with our past behavior and, by doing so, we are able to use our experiences to help others recover.

Many men and women in recovery feel as though their past misdeeds are too shameful for them to move forward. It may be difficult to come to terms with the past, but doing so allows us to help others more effectively. Our experiences, no matter how negative, are tools that we can use on our journey of recovery. Kahlil Gibran, in The Prophet, writes: “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter arises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” Our regrettable experiences, when overcome, place us in a position to be of greater service to others in need of our help and help ensure our own sobriety.

Addiction doesn’t have to control your life any longer. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists with spiritual guides and holistic experts to help you achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431