Addicts and alcoholics are profoundly ashamed.
Ashamed of what they have done. Ashamed of what they have neglected to do. They can’t believe they sat there in that bar, crack house or heroin den all night when they should have been at their kid’s birthday party. Hell, there isn’t even money left to buy a present. No one judges the addict as severely as they themselves do. They remember the lying, cheating and stealing. Many live with the shame of having sold their body and soul to all comers for one more hit. Total strangers. Unwashed. Unbelievable. Remembering all this can actually be a good thing. Because who wants to return to such a miserable existence? Both treatment and the 12 steps help deal with shame that, if left unattended, can drive a relapse. Sure, I’ve had plenty of clients with nary a drop of shame. They are the ones who really worry me. They come into treatment, do their time and leave unchanged. A little shame can be a good thing. It speaks volumes about morals and values.
They’re in recovery.