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Sometimes as we’re working to recover, there are emotions that block our healing and impede our recovery. We might not think of our emotions as being powerful enough to block our attempts at recovery, but emotions are very significant parts of our lives. They are strong forces that can direct our energy and ultimately alter the course of our lives. When we don’t have healthy ways to manage our emotions, they can become destructive forces that sabotage our progress and keep us from being able to recover successfully.


The shame we feel as recovering addicts is often very profound. We’re ashamed of the things we’ve done, especially when we were still actively using and under the influence much of the time. We’re ashamed of the many ways we hurt the people we care about. We’re ashamed of how self-destructive we’ve become. We’ve endangered our well-being and that of the people around us. We’ve done things we regret. We’ve held ourselves back in life and missed out on huge opportunities. We feel as though we’ve kept ourselves small, only living half a life, not realizing even close to our full potential. 

When we feel deeply ashamed of ourselves, we not only feel guilty for the things we’ve done, we have a pervasive sense of shame that makes us feel inadequate and insecure. We feel bad about who we are as people. We feel unworthy, unlovable, and inferior to others. We get very down on ourselves. Our self-perception and self-talk are usually self-deprecating and self-hating. Being consumed by shame blocks our recovery because when we’re in this very difficult place, we don’t believe in ourselves or our capacity for healing and transformation. We don’t forgive ourselves for our mistakes and wrongdoings, and we keep ourselves stuck in the past, unable to move forward. Our shame compounds the deeply-rooted limiting beliefs we hold around our worthiness. We hate ourselves. We think we’re not good enough. We believe we don’t deserve forgiveness. We believe we don’t deserve happiness or success, in recovery or in life. Keeping ourselves stuck in this cycle of self-destructiveness prevents us from being able to recover.


When we’re ashamed of ourselves, we’re also often very angry with ourselves. We feel so disappointed that we’ve fallen this far and done so much damage to our lives. Rather than showing ourselves self-compassion, we are often self-condemning instead. We berate and judge ourselves. We may self-harm, intentionally hurting ourselves as a form of punishment. We might have been using our drugs of choice all along to help ourselves numb our feelings of shame and anger. Now that we’re in recovery, we may not yet know how to cope with these overwhelming feelings.

Our anger towards other people can be similarly destructive. Many of us have a hard time forgiving the other people in our lives who have hurt us. We hold grudges and we hold onto resentment and bitterness long after the initial offense. We feel incapable of letting things go. We aren’t allowing ourselves to make peace with the past enough to move forward. Our anger towards other people can trigger our addictive patterns as much as self-directed anger does.


When we’re filled with self-doubt in our recovery, we often can’t help but sabotage our progress because deep down we don’t believe we’ll be able to succeed. Subconsciously we think there’s no point in really trying – no sense in giving our recovery our full, wholehearted energy – because ultimately we’re only going to fail anyway. When we can’t envision ourselves succeeding, we sabotage our efforts by holding ourselves back, by making unhealthy choices for ourselves, by doing things we regret, and by continuing to make the same mistakes we’ve always made. We are often so self-doubting that we can’t see any other way of life for ourselves. We envision ourselves only continuing to suffer, so we don’t cultivate the necessary energy to help ourselves thrive. We aren’t self-affirming or self-empowering. We knock ourselves down. We limit ourselves mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally. Our self-doubt permeates our recovery and our way of life, creating unhealthiness in every part of our lives.

Finding a Way to Heal

Our shame, anger, and self-doubt are some of the many emotions that can block our recovery if we don’t learn how to cope with them in healthy, constructive ways. Our emotions are profoundly impactful to our recovery and to our everyday lives. They drive our behaviors. They inform our choices. When we’re blocked emotionally, we make self-sabotaging decisions. We behave in ways that hurt us. We’re not empowering ourselves as we take on the difficult work of healing. 

The good news is that we can break down our emotional blocks with tools like therapy, coaching, and energy healing. We can explore journaling and creative self-expression to help process our emotions in more depth. We can work through our emotional blocks in treatment programs and support groups. We can receive support as we explore the emotions that have been blocking our recovery and keeping us unwell. When we can make sense of our emotions – and when we allow ourselves to fully feel and process them – we can create an energy of self-healing that will make recovery possible for us.

At The Guest House Ocala, we have personal recovery experience and over 12 years in the recovery industry. We have helped countless people recover, and we’re here to help you too. Call 855-483-7800 or visit today for more information.