It seems expected to go through a period of guilt and regret while on the recovery journey, but is it possible to make this a positive experience instead of a chapter full of self-loathing and guilt? If so…how? Can we avoid letting this “white space” get the best of us? Annie gives her advice on how best to get through this phase and how to feel good in our own skin. While some may say that misery is just part of the path – maybe we can turn that misery into something beautiful!
Guilt and Regret From Drinking
The guilt and regret from drinking can be a huge obstacle to overcome. How do you handle it? Time means reflection, It means getting comfortable in your own skin.For many people we drank so much not only because over time alcohol builds a tolerance and a physical craving but also because we weren’t entirely comfortable in our own skin.
So not drinking can be a double whammy. Well a triple whammy. You now have the time for reflection, you have the guilt and regret from drinking and about the things you are reflecting on and you are doing all this when there is a good chance you feel uneasy in your own skin.
So what to do?
Learn more about processing emotions after drinking. Start reading This Naked Mind for free today.
First, I will tell you that even now I can be hit by a huge wave of regret: example our neighbors moving in and our moving day.
I was so sad about this, even crying a few mornings ago – but then I was struck by the realization that I don’t remember moving day so that I will remember my kids graduation day – and their weddings etc. etc. I saw very clearly that the awful feelings of regret and remorse and just wishing I could get something back that was completely erased from my mind – needed to exist.
The Way Things Are Woven
Its like that example of seeing a tapestry from the weaving side. In the side where its all made its just a mess of threads and colors and chaos. It doesn’t look like anything – much less anything meaningful. But it is all creating something beautiful and every step of it is part of your journey. And someday – in some form you get to look back and say… oh I see where that was going. You see the tapestry from the side not of creating but of what was being created… and say oh. Ok that mess was so that this could happen.
You have stopped self medicating, this means you are getting to know you. You have time, and you know you MUST get comfortable in your own skin – that means you are motivated. My advice is to learn about yourself. You can start to handle gilt and regret from drinking once you’ve gotten a better handle on who you are.
Its so easy to beat ourselves up, and so unproductive. I had to learn in the first year that I stopped drinking that I was addicted to beating myself up, addicted to worry. I thought if I came down hard on myself then I would force change. THAT NEVER WORKED. It’s hard to handle guilt and regret from drinking when you’re piling more on!
The minimum standard – absolute minimum – you should set for yourself is to treat yourself like you would treat someone else. Start to listen to the things you say to yourself, in fact write them down. Every time you feel anxiety, or guilt, write down your inner dialogue. And then read it and imagine you were saying that to a stranger, or a friend. It will make you cringe. How can you handle the guilt and regret from drinking when you are berating yourself for it constantly?
You should treat yourself like you treat your children. With love and compassion and forgiveness. I realize this is much easier said than done and it takes effort, and consciousness around what you are saying to yourself, in order to change how you speak to yourself.
Listen to the complete podcast for more on moving past guilt and regret from drinking.
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License