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Avoiding Guilt and Shame in Recovery

Guilt & Shame in Recovery

Sometimes, in recovery, it’s easy to get caught up in guilt and shame. Because addicts tend to be perfectionists, it’s difficult to understand that a mistake doesn’t have to mean disaster. Didn’t we beat ourselves up enough out there when we were drinking and using? Life on life’s terms certainly has its ups and downs, but when we break down the Christian recovery message, it really comes down to two essential elements—love and forgiveness. We know God has already forgiven us for whatever we have done if we truly believe in Him. We also know it’s our responsibility to offer love and forgiveness to others, but isn’t it easy to forget to love and forgive ourselves, sometimes?

The first step toward being able to give love and forgiveness to others is being able to offer love and forgiveness to ourselves. God’s love is unconditional, after all. So, we must remember to love ourselves unconditionally—if we make a mistake, let’s blame our humanity, rather than ourselves. Everyone makes mistakes. When was the last time you saw a computer keyboard without a delete button or a hammer that can’t remove a nail?

A mistake isn’t an excuse to run, hide, or blame. It’s simply a reason to draw closer to God, ask for healing and move on with a sincere desire to strive for perfection, knowing full well the joy is in the striving, because there is only One who is perfect.

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10)
Seeing the crowds, he went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
How happy are the poor in spirit;
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy are the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure of heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called children of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.*

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