Guilt, Shame and Self-Talk
I celebrated four years of sobriety on the 1st of this month, and with my birthday came the usual mixture of sadness and gratitude. On and around my birthdays, my thoughts travel back to where I was and what I was doing at that time four years ago. My addiction to alcohol and other substances started when my daughter was about 18 months old, trying to self-medicate excruciating depression and insomnia. I was not a stellar parent up to that point, distracted by my emotional pain and also physical illness that I struggled with for the first year of her life.
Once I started using mind-altering substances, I was just checked out all of the time. I got off of drugs and alcohol from March through November 2009, but during that period of abstinence, I merely replaced substances with other alcoholic behavior. Long story short, my collapsing marriage came to an end, I relapsed, got fired and ended up back in rehab where I finally surrendered and embraced the program of AA. Today, I have my life back and so much more than I’ve ever had before.
Yet, I am still frequently plagued with guilt and fear. Much of it is surrounding my daughter, who is now eight years old. My disease often tells me that I have not been a good enough parent and never will be. I am afraid that this will happen and that will happen and she will turn out an alcoholic and blah, blah, blah.
This morning I read a quote from a women’s meditation book that said “It isn’t for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security.” I know that I suffer from a disease that has no cure, but with daily maintenance I get a reprieve and day by day, a bit of healing can take place. I have come this far, and I have overcome tremendous obstacles by putting one foot in front of the other. With the support of this program and faith in my higher power, I continue to move forward and eat elephants, one bite at a time. I believe that I have it within me to overcome these feelings of guilt and fear, but so far I haven’t found a solution.
This week, I would like to present the topic of self-talk and combatting guilt and shame. How to stop unconsciously giving yourself negative messages. How do you combat this? Does it ever go away completely?
Please share your experience, strength and hope on this topic, or share whatever you need to share this week. Thank you so much!