Shame over our addiction, as well as over the actions and behaviors we taken part in during our use, can creep up easily. We may have engaged in substance use or drinking to “numb out” or “not feel.” By doing so, we were downplaying our shame instead of attempting to work through it. This not so fun emotion can also increase our cravings and lead to relapse if we do not attack it headon.

Shame Builds During Active Addiction

If you are not living with an active addiction to drugs or alcohol, or are not in recovery from them, you may not fully understand the shame that comes with having been through active addiction. Two main “failures” typically arise when you are battling a substance use disorder. One of these perceived disappointments is the lack of self-control we experience over our substance of choice. Even the word “choice” can make us feel as though we decided to have an addiction when in fact the substance use disorder chose us. Yes, we did decide to first try alcohol or drugs, but no one wakes up and says, “I want to be an addict or an alcoholic when I grow up!”

How to Cope with Shame in Recovery

The other “failure” happens due to typically falling short of society’s expectations, as well as our own, during active addiction. Our behaviors change when our life revolves around drugs or alcohol. We may even act in ways that are against our own morals and values. This can lead to shame slowly rearing its ugly head and rooting itself further into our consciousness and unconsciousness.

Working Through Your Feelings of Shame

One option to aid with working through our shame is to attend group or individual therapy sessions to tackle the root cause of the shame. Sessions with trained professionals, as well as others who have been in similar situations, can aid an individual in better understanding of why they behaved as they did when they were drinking or using. It can also help to see that you are not alone in a group therapy setting. This is also true for 12-Step meetings. If you decide to take part in a 12-Step fellowship, you have the chance to make amends which can help decrease feelings of shame.

Do Not Numb Out. Get Help Today!

It is important to identify the areas of your life that you feel shame while not dwelling upon the emotion. Do not let shame stop you from getting the help you could be receiving. Discovery Place of Burns, Tennessee is just a phone call away. Our trained professionals are standing by 24/7. Contact us to learn more about how to begin your life free of alcohol, opioids, cannabis, or other addictive substances.

At Discovery Place, we understand that family support is essential. Alternative treatment is not only for you but also for your entire family. Al-Anon meetings and open Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are wonderful support networks, in conjunction with Discovery Place, to help you work through your feelings of shame. 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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