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Healing from the Shame of Behavioral Addictions

Those of us struggling with behavioral addictions, or process addictions as they’re sometimes called, have a unique set of challenges relating to our recovery. Behavioral addictions can include any behavior, process, or combination thereof that we become dependent upon. We can become addicted to anything that brings us feelings of release, relief, detachment, escapism, distraction, happiness or pleasure, just as we can with any addictive substance. The chemical reactions in our minds and bodies are similar whether our drug of choice is an addictive substance or behavior, for example the spikes in dopamine we experience that are associated with pleasure and the thrill of being high.

An Isolating Illness

The cultural association with addiction is most often related to substance abuse, and when dealing with behavioral addictions, we can feel as though our addictions are not understood, validated or even included in the mainstream discussions around addiction. We feel rejected by society, by our communities and families. This can make our experience with addiction particularly lonely and isolating. People don’t understand why we have such intense problems with gaming, gambling, sex, eating, spending or shopping. They don’t understand why we can’t just stop. Just like with substance abuse, we might make multiple unsuccessful attempts to quit and feel powerless every time we relapse.

Our Feelings of Inadequacy and Shame

We can feel as though our particular struggles with addiction are even more shameful than the typical substance abuse issue. We see addiction to drugs and alcohol as being more commonly accepted, and people are more out in the open with these particular struggles, while people often tend to keep their shameful behaviors a secret in order to avoid being judged, demonized, shunned and rejected. Like many addicts, we struggle with feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. We see ourselves as less than, as unworthy, as undeserving of happiness. We feel that our addictions are troubling and burdensome, and we come to define ourselves by them. Our behaviors become compulsive, and combined with our impulsiveness, we can feel totally overpowered and debilitated by them. We feel unable to stop ourselves, and unable to fight off this invisible force taking over our lives.

Unconditional Self-Love

Healing from our behavioral addictions means not only recovering from our dependence issues and working toward sobriety or abstinence but also transforming our self-perception to be self-loving and self-accepting instead of condemning. We reject ourselves internally, and this self-rejection yields self-destructiveness, self-sabotage and self-abandonment. These forces fuel our addictions and mental health issues, and in order to truly get well, we have to learn to love ourselves unconditionally, including (not despite) the addictions that have been a source of shame for us for so long.

At The Guest House Ocala, our experience with addiction and recovery makes us uniquely poised to be able to understand the struggles you’re experiencing.

We’re here to help.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488