While every recovering addict is an individual, we do share a few common traits and habits. You’ll hear those habits talked about at meetings and over coffee. One thing that many in recovery can relate to is the concept of “beating yourself up.” This happens when you continuously punish yourself for either real or perceived faults, mistakes or wrongdoings. It does not do any good to do this. You need to learn to stop beating yourself up and concentrate on the future and you sobriety.
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Sometimes, you feel guilt or shame for mistakes you made while using. Other times, for things you feel you have or haven’t done in recovery. Perhaps it’s nothing at all. Perhaps you feel bad about yourself in general, and so you take every opportunity to berate yourself or put yourself down, either publicly or privately.
Ways You Might Beat Yourself Up
Rehashing the same old mistakes.
You can’t stop and it borders on obsession. You can’t let the mistake go. You relive it, feeling fresh shame and regret each time. You go over all the ways in which you failed. It almost takes over your life and it keeps you from moving on.
Beating Yourself Up with Negative Self-Talk
“I’m so stupid”, “I never do anything right”, “No one could love me”, “All I do is make everything worse.” The list could go on. Negative self-talk is poisonous, and it tends to feed itself. The more you do it, the worse you feel. The worse you feel, the more likely you are to reinforce these negative messages.
Beating Yourself Up by Punishing Yourself
You aren’t taking care of yourself. You aren’t eating or sleeping right. You are engaging in unhealthy behaviors. You aren’t doing things that make you feel good. This usually accompanies other forms, such as negative self-talk or rehashing.
These behaviors do not do anything remotely productive for you. In fact, it only makes things worse. If it worked, most of us wouldn’t have to go to meetings. No matter what you’ve done, there is no honor in this behavior. There is no solution in it. It rarely results in stopping the behavior that you’re beating yourself up for, in fact, it may even cause more of the same behavior.
When you stop the negative self-talk, you will find that you have more energy, people want to be around you more, and you may find that you naturally let go of some of those behaviors that are causing you to feel you need to punish yourself.
You’ll also feel less judgmental of others. When we engage in negative self-talk or rehash our mistakes, we may also become less tolerant of the shortcomings of others. We may grow weary of beating ourselves up and may lash out at others instead.
Beating Yourself Up Can Cause You To Relapse
The whole thing is unpleasant in the first place, but it can get much worse if it causes you to relapse. As long as you are indulging in this guilt and shame-based behavior you are nurturing your addiction.
How To Stop Beating Yourself Up
Beating yourself up is a habit. Whatever the reason is that you started doing it, you’ve kept doing it. It can be somewhat of an addiction, actually. When we rehash and flood ourselves with guilt, shame and self-loathing, we actually release chemicals in the brain similar to those that are released when we use. They don’t feel good, but they are still addictive.
Being aware of the problem is a good start. Notice the way you speak to yourself. Notice your thinking when you are stressed, or when there is conflict in your life. How quick are you to talk to yourself negatively? What messages are you giving yourself? Is that the way you would talk to a good friend? That’s a good way to gauge the quality of your self-talk. If it’s not something you would say to someone you love and respect, then it’s not something you should be telling yourself.
Replace Negative Self-Talk With Something More Positive
When you start paying attention to the way you talk to yourself, you may find that you are spending your days flooding your own brain with bad messages. Remember, beating yourself up does not improve your behavior or keep you from making the same mistakes. It only makes things worse.
When you notice that you’re engaging in negative self-talk, it’s time to replace that message with something more positive. Say something nice to yourself. Acknowledge what you are doing right. If you make a mistake, certainly acknowledge it. Talk to your sponsor or support group about it. Make an amends and do what you can to rectify things. Then move on.
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Getting Help For Addiction
Beating yourself up for your addiction won’t make you stop. If you are struggling with substance abuse, then it’s time to get into the solution. FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. With inpatient and outpatient programs and comprehensive addiction recovery treatments and therapies, you can get the help that you need to heal and recover. Call us today.
Charles F. has been an active part of the Florida recovery community for over 5 years. He began as a behavioral health technician at an addiction treatment facility in Ocala, Florida and has since begun training as a Licensed Addiction and Chemical Dependency counselor in Boca Raton. Charles’ passion involves the promotion of recovery and helping spread the hope of recovery to as many readers as possible!