Understanding and Overcoming the Shame of Addiction

Shame and addiction almost always go hand in hand.
If you’re struggling with an addiction of any kind, whether it’s to alcohol, food, prescription medications, sex/porn, or cheating, you likely have been feeling the shame of addiction for quite some time. Perhaps you’ve been trying to overcome it for years.

You may feel out of control, powerless, hopeless, disgusted, angry, or disappointed with yourself. You mentally beat yourself up for not being strong enough to not give in to the urge. You feel guilty and worthless.

Also, as your addiction negatively impacts other areas of your life such as your relationships, your
finances, or your work, the shame takes a firmer hold on your psyche. Each time your make a promise to quit and don’t, or each time you tried to stay clean and sober only to relapse, the shame was reinforced.

You are not your addiction. You are not a loser, or a horrible person, or a substandard human being just because you have an addiction. Everyone you know, whether they’ll admit it or not, has both strengths and weaknesses. This one weakness — big as it may seem — is not the sum total of who you are.

Overcoming the painful shame is possible — once you take that first step to get help. You must convince yourself that you need to do this, you must be the one to take the first step and ask for help. You need to be ready — and when you do reach out, you will be glad you did.

Sex Therapist and Relationship Expert
Melissa Jane


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