4 Reasons You Cannot Shame a Loved One into Recovery
Most people know that when a loved one becomes addicted, the best way to overcome an addiction is to go to recovery. Still, many do not know how to react when they discover the addiction and can try all types of tactics to get him or her into recovery that can do more harm than good.
Many researchers have found that the more shame the addict is exposed to, the higher a chance that they will relapse later on in recovery, which is not the desired result. There are four reasons why no one can shame a loved one into recovery.
Shame & Addiction
When individuals lend themselves to an addiction, it can bring up all kinds of shame by itself without the help of loved ones. An addiction is a disease in the mind and not a character flaw as the stereotype would have people believe.
According to a study conducted by the NCBI, both men and women are prone to shame, depression while on recovery from an addiction alone.
Guilt with Shame
Many professionals believe that there is a fundamental difference between guilt and shame, but most research backs guilt as a good motivator when urging a loved onto recovery.
According to the NIDA, shame and guilt are both negative feelings that damage the addict’s self-esteem but they affect the individual in different ways. Shame is the negative image of oneself and can lead to the belief that he or she are weak, deficient, worthless, etc. and guilt is the belief that he or she has behaved in the wrong way.
Because of this, shame is harder to treat than guilt because it is far more damaging to the self and therefore more difficult to heal.
Shame Causes Relapse
It is likely that the reason an individual began the addiction to begin with is due to the shame of something. This shame is already in play when they become an addict for the mistakes of their past, which causes a catch-22 in that the addict is ashamed, so they use which makes them ashamed that they used in the first place. When a loved one uses shame to convince them to go into recovery, it just confirms the feeling they have.
When they are feeling insecure during their recovery outside of treatment, they will feel that they are not good enough to defeat their addiction, which will cause a relapse.
Shame & Self-Esteem
It can be something as simple as not getting the promotion at work or something as big as losing their home because they could not make the payments. Whether the reason is big or small, the addict already feels shame about their shortcomings and turns to a substance that they feel can make them numb to it.
By using shame to push the individual into recovery, they are going in with the belief that they are not good enough to become sober, which can cause a relapse in the future.
Shame is more damaging to the addict than it is helpful, even if the loved ones’ intentions are good. An addiction is a disease of the mind and not something that shame will cure because shame lets the individual believe that he or she is a bad person overall.
This can cause a relapse long after treatment because they will not feel good enough to make it outside of the recovery with their family’s shame on their shoulders.
To find a treatment that is right for you or your loved one’s addiction, please call 800-839-1686Who Answers? and someone will help you find what you need to become sober.