Experiencing Shame in Addiction and Sobriety
Being addicted to alcohol or drugs is a painful and confusing experience that others won’t always understand. When they try to get sober for the first time, most people know how hard it can be to overcome the addiction, but another challenge exists that most observers don’t realize. Those who are recovering from substance abuse often feel a lot of shame about their situation, making it hard for them to move forward.
People who have never been addicted can be judgmental because they don’t know what it’s like to face the issue, but people who achieve sobriety also meet criticism. If you are the only sober person in the room, others will sometimes judge you for not conforming to their lifestyle. You are about to take a closer look at the setbacks that come with being sober and how you can overcome them.
You Live With Your Choices
When getting sober is your goal but your friends don’t support you, remember that they won’t need to live with the choices you make. From an outside perspective, judging the way others live their lives is easy, but your critics don’t always have your best interests at heart when they offer their unsolicited advice. The people who look at you with judgment are unlikely to show their support when your choices catch up and cause problems for you.
Take some time to consider where your life is going and whether or not you are happy with the direction in which you are moving. If you are not pleased with where you are at, you will need to make changes. Even when your friends or family don’t accept your vision, you need to make the choice that is right for you. Doing so will be hard at first, but you will feel much better about yourself in the long run.
Why People Judge
Whether people judge you for having a substance addiction or being sober, you might feel as though something is wrong with you, but that is not the case. Understanding why people judge you will give you a clear picture of why it does not matter. When you do something that does not impact others but they still judge you for it, it’s often because your behavior reminds them of their own insecurities. For example, a lot of people who face substance abuse problems don’t want to admit it to themselves or others. So if your friends tease you or make fun of the fact that you’ve stopped drinking or using, they may be insecure about their own use.
When they see you making an effort to combat your addiction, it causes them to realize that they also have a problem that they need to overcome. Rather than embracing it, they project their anger onto you. If you cause people to look at the issues in their lives, they sometimes lash out at you instead of accepting reality. Also, people who have been drinking for years without any problems won’t always know why you want to quit. They might say that you only need a break or to cut back a little, but their statements reflect their lack of understanding. Even though it’s not always easy to see, the way that people speak with and treat others is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Making the decision to stop drinking is never a bad choice and if others make you feel bad for that, they don’t have your best interests in mind.
Tell Your Friends and Family How You Feel
Telling your friends and family how you feel when they judge you can help you overcome the issue. People won’t always realize that their words and actions are making you uncomfortable, but speaking with them about it can work wonders. If they are willing to listen, let them know that you are facing a difficult challenge and that you would like them to support you. The ones who truly care about your safety and well-being will listen with an open mind and resolve to do better in the future. You must also understand that not everyone will try to see the situation from your perspective.
Removing Bad Influences From Your Life
Removing bad influences from your life is vital when your mission is to get and stay sober. No matter how much people want to deny it, their friends will play a role in many of the choices that they make. Staying away from temptation is one of the most important things that you can do when you are trying to overcome addiction. When your friends drink or use drugs in front of you, falling into the same trap will be easier than you might think. You will need to cut people out of your life if they don’t respect and support your decision to get sober.
This step can be overwhelming for many people, especially if they have been friends for more than a few years. Since defeating addiction is a difficult task to complete, you will need to take drastic measures if you want to achieve long-term success. You won’t need to tell your old friends that you don’t want to spend time with them, but you can distance yourself, allowing the relationship to fade. Attending an addiction treatment program is a great way to have that distance while you are starting your recovery.
Final Thoughts – There’s No Shame in Getting Sober
When you are struggling with substance abuse, you may face criticism if you use it and even if you get sober. Because only you will deal with the consequences of your actions, you can’t afford to allow others to control your life. While it won’t always be easy, standing up for yourself and the things in which you believe will build self-esteem and empower you to achieve sobriety. As you draw the line in the sand, some people will walk away from your life, but that’s okay because you need people in your life who believe in you and have hope for your future in recovery.
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/drug-abuse-addiction#1
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323465
- HealthyPeople.gov: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/substance-abuse
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-staying-clean-and-sober-67900
- MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov/substanceabuseproblems.html
- American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-can-i-quit-my-addiction-22390
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/substance-use-4014640
- Stanford Medicine: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2020/03/alcoholics-anonymous-most-effective-path-to-alcohol-abstinence.html