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Sometimes when we’re in recovery and are having success with our sobriety, we have a tendency to want to forget about our past struggles with addiction and pretend as if they never happened. We avoid talking about our addictions, and we don’t openly self-identify as addicts. When people who know us bring up our pasts, we might get defensive and angry. We keep our addictions secret from the rest of the world as much as we possibly can. We live in denial about our past challenges with addiction, even when we currently feel strong in our recovery. Why do we deny our past struggles with addiction, and how can our denial be detrimental to our recovery?

Persistent Shame and Disappointment

Sometimes when we have a hard time being open about our addictions, it’s because we still feel lingering shame around them. We feel embarrassed by them, and disappointed in ourselves because of them. We hate the things we did when we were actively using, and we hate the person we became because of our addictions. We stooped lower than we ever thought we would, and when we hit rock bottom, it was lower than we ever imagined we could possibly get. We’re embarrassed and ashamed to admit the mistakes we’ve made and the ways in which we’ve hurt ourselves and the other people in our lives. We reject those parts of ourselves and our past experiences that we consider to be shameful and wrong. We hate ourselves because of them.

Addictive Coping Mechanisms For Our Self-Hate

The recovery process is about more than being able to abstain from our drug of choice and remove it from our lives. True recovery also means healing the emotional wounds that fueled our addictions in the first place. Many of us find that our feelings of self-hatred and self-rejection were major contributing factors to our addictions. We turned to our drugs of choice to numb how painful it was to hate ourselves and feel ashamed of ourselves. We sought comfort and escape in our drugs of choice. Every time we used, though, we felt even more ashamed of and disappointed in ourselves. We hated ourselves for being unable to quit. We hated the lives we had created for ourselves, all of the turmoil and havoc we had to experience. The more we used in order to feel better about ourselves, the more we hated ourselves.

Being Triggered Into Relapse

That self-hatred doesn’t go away as soon as we get sober. Being in recovery doesn’t mean that we instantly love ourselves and that our deep emotional wounds are suddenly, magically healed. When we still feel as though we hate ourselves and are still in denial about our past struggles with addiction, we can be easily triggered to relapse, even when we’re well into our recovery, because that self-rejection is still very strong and can cause us to seek solace in our old habits. Even once we’ve gotten sober, and even when we’ve managed to stay sober, how bad we feel about our pasts can make us want to use again. We’re still feeling an overwhelming amount of emotional pain around our past experiences. We still haven’t made peace with the things we’ve been through, and we haven’t come to terms with the fact that we’re addicts.

Our Past Struggles Have Served Us In Our Recovery

Coming to terms with our past struggles and accepting all the different, challenging parts of ourselves is a major component of our work in recovery. How can we stop denying what we’ve been through and who we are? One thing we can remind ourselves of is that all of our past pain has actually served us in our journey, even when it feels as though it nearly ruined us and destroyed our lives. In actuality, it strengthened us and molded us into the people we are today. We owe much of our success in recovery to the difficult lessons we had to learn and the growing pains we had to endure. We became more solid in our conviction that we wanted wellness for ourselves, because of the contrast of having experienced such tremendous suffering. We knew we needed to work to heal ourselves from seeing just how much we had been self-destructing. Out of our pain came growth, strength, and empowerment. When we deny our past struggles with addiction, and when we deny that we’re recovering addicts, we don’t embrace all the different parts of ourselves that have contributed to our becoming the best possible version of ourselves. We don’t acknowledge our learning process and all the growth we’ve experienced. We try to wipe our slate clean and start again, not realizing that our struggles were blessings in disguise and that we owe our current happiness and well-being to the strength it took to overcome those struggles. We can learn to be proud of ourselves for being in recovery. We can embrace our past, knowing that it helped pave the way for a future we can be proud of and happy with.

The Guest House Ocala provides unparalleled, premier-quality treatment to those who suffer from self-defeating behaviors brought on by trauma and its underlying issues. We are uniquely equipped to help our guests heal from trauma-induced substance abuse and process addiction in a safe, comfortable and confidential setting.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488