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The shame cycle happens when someone uses substances, then goes on to feel shame. This shame becomes overwhelming, and causes them to then use more substances. This can soon spiral, until the ties of addiction bind this addicted person very tightly.
In this blog, we look at exactly what is the shame cycle in regards to addiction, and tell you how you can get out of it.
Getting out of this cycle often requires professional support. If you need help, speak with Samarpan Health today.
In general terms, the cycle of shame refers to the shame, guilt and other negative feelings a person experiences when they think they have done something bad, or wrong. These feelings are unpleasant and painful, and trigger a response in the form of further “bad” actions – anything from angry outbursts to substance abuse, or even just obsessional and damaging self-talk. These behaviours, in turn, lead to more shame, low-self worth and other harmful emotions, followed by yet more negative actions, to help cope with these feelings.
The shame cycle repeats itself, and in order to break it, a person has to radically change their self-beliefs, and how they relate to emotions. When addictive behaviours become a part of this cycle of shame, it becomes even more difficult to escape. At Samarpan Recovery, we can help give you the tools and support you need, to be free of the weight of shame and the self-defeating mechanisms you may use to cope.
In addiction, the shame cycle takes on specific characteristics. A person’s default strategy for dealing with shame, their go-to solution for escaping their painful emotions, becomes substance abuse. Addiction impairs a person’s judgement, and destroys their resilience, focus and will-power. In addition to the shame someone may habitually struggle with (and which often goes back to childhood), the individual feels the shame and guilt of their addiction. The shame cycle becomes a vicious cycle – the person numbs their self-hating emotions with substances, then feels remorse and shame at having allowed themselves to use, only to take more substances to repeat the process of escaping from their feelings.
The shame cycle in addiction often rotates around other emotions too, such as self-hatred, low self-esteem, and a sense of worthlessness – a toxic combination of feelings that are very
harmful to a person’s mental and emotional balance.
The cycle of shame generally has deep roots, which go back to a person’s childhood and have become a part of their conditioning. People stuck in a cycle of shame and addiction have often grown up in dysfunctional families, where shame and guilt were normalized. The person may have unconsciously taken on a low sense of self-worth from a young age.
As a result, it is usually a person’s programming that enables the cycle of shame to take root in their lives. They are often under the impression that their shame and self-loathing come from their actions. However, while this may be partly true, people frequently don’t realize that their default mental settings are creating the conditions for such negative emotions to grow.
Common causes of the shame cycle include:
Where addiction is concerned, any conditions – past or present – that strengthen low self-worth and lack of self-confidence, are particularly likely to reinforce the cycle of shame and substance abuse.
When substance abuse or addiction are a part of the cycle, a person faces the impact not only of their cyclical emotions, but also of the addiction itself. Since addiction and shame feed off each other, as described above, the cycle of shame saps a person’s energy, and places great strain on their mental and physical well-being. This makes it very difficult to keep up even the appearance of being well, and can impact all areas of life.
Finally, the cycle of shame can stop people reaching out for the help they need. They may feel their substance abuse and their lack of self-care make them unworthy of receiving the support that could save them.
There is no quick fix for breaking the shame cycle, but the first step is always to acknowledge and allow whatever you are feeling.
Many people find it hard to ask for help, particularly if they’re ashamed of problems such as addiction. But the right help can spare you lots of misery and loneliness. Whatever your
struggles, at Samarpan Recovery we guide and support you on the road to recovery.
Samarpan is a specialized international Substance Use Disorder (De-Addiction) and Process Addiction rehab in Pune, India that accepts a maximum of 26 clients. We only accept clients on a voluntary basis and have a highly structured program that encompasses the most effective approaches to Substance Use Disorder and addiction. The facility is set in the rolling hills Mulshi, with clients having either individual or shared rooms, in a modern resort-like facility, staffed by Internationally Accredited Professionals. Samarpan is fully licensed under The MSMHA and is also an accredited GORSKI-CENAPS Centre of Excellence offering a program from 5 to 13 weeks.
If you or someone you care about is considering treatment for substance use disorder or process addictions, we can help. Contact us now on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/WhatsApp us on +91 81809 19090.
+91 81809 email@example.com