Living with addiction, many of us come to feel quite accustomed to and familiar with regret. It becomes second nature for us to feel ashamed of ourselves, remorseful and full of regret for our mistakes, wrongdoings and shortcomings. As a result, we feel depressed, anxious, insecure, inadequate and inferior. We use our addictions to help us feel better, as a form of escapism, and we get caught in a vicious cycle of trying to escape the pain of our shame and accumulating more regret in the process. How can we stop ourselves and keep ourselves from doing things we regret? What can we do when we feel overcome with temptation to engage in our addictive behaviors or use our drug of choice, when we feel urges and compulsions coming on?
A very important element in breaking our recurring cycles of shame and regret is developing mindfulness. We want to become more mindful of when we’re being triggered and/or tempted. We want to be mindful of what brings on our urges and what’s happening in the moment rather than being unaware and unconscious, and mindlessly doing things we’re unhappy about. We want to be able to examine the underlying emotions, fears and issues. When we do things we regret, there is often something deeper going on. We often feel unfulfilled, empty, bored or lonely. Oftentimes there is a fear we have yet to resolve. We want to become more mindful of how we operate, how we manage our thoughts, emotions and behaviors, and how we deal with pressure. How we respond in moments of crisis or when we are challenged has a lot to do with our emotional intelligence and our levels of mindfulness and self-awareness. Practice being more mindful in your daily life, by practicing meditation, and by working with a therapist or support group to uncover deeply rooted issues. In the moment, we can take deep breaths, repeat calming affirmations, and visualize ourselves moving through the challenging issue without giving into the pressure. We can visualize ourselves successfully getting through the urge without letting it overpower us.
When an urge hits and you’re afraid you might do something you regret, take a moment to look at the big picture. Look past the momentary temptation to see how you will feel afterwards. See the sadness and shame you’ll feel. Think about what you really want in life, your end goals and all the steps you have to take to get there. This urge is a spiritual test.
Instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes, forgive yourselves so that you can move forward and do better next time, making healthier choices for yourself and doing what you know is best for you. Our flaws and shortcomings, even our regrets, are part of what make us who we are, and how we transcend them and elevate ourselves into higher consciousness while dealing with these issues is one of our spiritual tests in this lifetime.
At Bayview Recovery, we want to help you rediscover your joy in life and find your fulfillment. Call 888-570-7154 today for more information on our addiction recovery treatment programs.