Many addicts, no matter their struggles, are already very familiar with feelings of shame. Shame often goes hand in hand with addiction, and the steps taken to hide it. Shame is a negative feeling and it can often keep us in the same behavioral cycle. You feel stressed, you act out sexually, you feel shame, shame makes you feel stressed, and you start all over again.
It’s helpful to know that shame can actually be a very useful recovery tool if you can learn to step back and look at it objectively. In our previous blog articles, like “What Brought You Here,” we’ve written about creating distance between your addict self, and your true self, or your self and your mind. You can also create space between your self and your shame. Separating yourself from shame lessens its grip on you and helps you get to a place of understanding your compulsions. How does shame fit into your personal story?
Listen to the voice of your shame. As you begin to examine your shame, ask yourself: who does this sound like? When you feel the pangs of shame, do you hear the voice of an authority figure from your past telling you that you’re a bad person or that you won’t amount to anything? If so, you have just begun to expose the roots of your shame, and you can now begin to examine it, and come to a more thorough understanding.
If you experienced abuse as a child, you might be especially prone to feeling shame. Many abused children are made to feel like they are worthless, or even like they’re invisible to the people around them. This often leads these children, as they grow up, to seek out solace and comfort any way they can. Sometimes, it might be in porn. If you feel like this might be part of your story, you’re not alone.
This is why at Neulia, we place so much emphasis on knowing your own story. When you understand what really happened, in your past, you have an opportunity to understand your present self. We’ve written about how your mind and memories might be faulty, like in our blog “3 Steps To Help Purge The Urge.” This can sometimes be especially true for those moments when you recall feeling ashamed. Did you really do something bad or wrong in the past, or were you simply told by other people that you did? Or were you made to feel like something you did was wrong, when you know logically that it really wasn’t?
What we want you to accomplish in examining your shame is turning your story into a solution. Look back at your life and formative experiences, and really examine what kind of impact they might have had on you. When you begin to grasp why you feel the way you feel, those feelings won’t have as strong a hold on you anymore. You can break out of the cycle and be free, because you’re beginning to realize the truth about your own story.