Guilt and active addiction tend to go hand in hand. Any of us who have felt guilty before know that it is not a pleasant feeling. We are aware that it is not easy to cope with. Sometimes, we may even react in self-destructive ways, such as self-harm, drinking, or drugs. In the long run, these are not actual coping skills, but instead, defense mechanisms which typically lead to more intense feelings of guilt.

It is important to understand that we are not ourselves when we are in active addiction. Our lives revolve around obtaining our drug or alcohol. We change our social circles, neglect hobbies, work, school, and hygiene to obtain and partake in the substance we are addicted to. We essentially forget who we are and become wrapped up in the substance we are using.

What Is Guilt and Why Do I Have It Now That I Am Sober?

Guilt is a responsive attitude. Narrowly defined, it is the anger we perceive turned in on ourselves by ourselves. It tends to occur when we experience shame stemming from behaviors we have engaged in after another individual has called us out on our actions. These actions likely were performed while we were in active addiction. Thus, there is a good chance we never would have behaved in such a manner if we were not trying to get our fix so that we did not end up sick from withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, we still remember what we did and anger, decreased self-esteem, lower self-respect, and confusion regarding our perceiving faith system and our own moral and value system can occur. Guilt, in turn, motivates us to react in either a positive or negative manner and can thereby increase impulsive behaviors.

How to Cope with Guilt in Recovery

Guilt tends to arise when we are informed of another’s feelings about how we reacted in a situation. Did they get angry and yell at us? If so, we know there is a good chance we did something wrong. Due to a worry that the individual we upset could become angry and act in a way that is like punishing us, we begin to feel guilty.

Besides 12-Step Meetings, Where Can I Get Help to Stay Sober and Work Through My Guilt?

Now that you know what that horrible feeling of guilt is and why it is lingering during sobriety, it is time to get the help you need. Do not let not-so-positive emotions hinder you from living the life that you deserve. Discovery Place of Burns, Tennessee is just a phone call away.  We have various alternative treatment programs, including a 30-day program and a long-term program.

Our format is based on a 12-Step philosophy. We know that different avenues help different people. Sponsors are wonderful support systems to aid you in working through your feelings of guilt. Al-Anon meetings and open Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are wonderful support networks for your family and friends to better understand your disease. 12-Step programs for both you and your family can work wonders in conjunction with your stay at Discovery Place. Call us today at 1-800-725-0922.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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