We often wonder how people became addicts and if there is really a way out of the trap. For those suffering from an addiction, the questions that run through their mind are, “Why me? Why did I become an alcohol addict? Is this a curse?” These questions are accompanied by a deep-rooted regret for that first moment when you tried a drug or even a drink. You may even punish yourself with thoughts like, “I should never have taken the drug in the first place. Life would have been much better.” The truth is that what has happened has happened and the best thing you can do is to pick up from where you are.

The first step in overcoming alcohol and drug addiction is to get over the shame. Shame is deeply personal, emotional and painful. When you feel shame, no matter the source of the shame, you will be motivated to do anything possible to try to get rid of it – even if temporarily. In the case of addiction, this often means going back to the drug as a way of self-medicating and powerful feelings of shame and regret. At every stage of the vicious cycle of addiction, you feel out of control, hopeless, angry and disappointed with yourself.

There is a way to break the cycle.

First, acknowledge the shame and accept that you’re human, and therefore capable of making mistakes. Second, work on separating yourself from the feelings of shame. Just like with other emotions – like anger, sadness or fear – these emotions are passing clouds. The emotions are not you; you are experiencing the emotions. The same is true of shame. You’re experiencing shame; you are not shame itself. Third, recognize the people in your life that love and care about you, and enable them to step into your life and offer support however they can. And fourth, seek help. Seek help from those that love you and seek the help of professionals that can guide you through recovery.

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