There is nothing darker than finding yourself going against your basic values. Values that were taught to you at a young age such as “treat others how you would like to be treated” and “always tell the truth”. In addictions, we generally go against these values. It creeps up slowly and gradually from something as simple as lying to your boss about why you were late (hangover), to stealing from loved ones (to get a fix), to finding yourself in an unhealthy relationship simply because the person provides you with your drug of choice. At the time of interacting in these behaviors, one does not care about future consequences or how it may affect them or others. All that is valued is consumption of the substance (drugs or alcohol).
Unfortunately, most become overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, shame, disgust, sadness and anxiety. There is nothing worse than sitting with these emotions alone. There’s a part of you that can’t share these feelings with anyone out of embarrassment or discomfort. You attempt to alleviate the pain by convincing yourself, “it was necessary, they deserved it, they will forgive me, and it will blow over”. To sit there in your own revolving thoughts is exhausting. It takes energy to deal with the ups and downs of feeling awful and your mind trying to compensate.
What’s unfortunate is after the feelings of guilt and shame comes the repeat cycle. Not only are you emotionally aware of the negative behaviors (lying, stealing, ect.) and understand they cause you emotional pain, the cycle continues and the results don’t change. Have you heard anyone say, “I will never drink again” after a heavy night of drinking and they end up drinking a few days later? That is the unfortunate cycle of dealing with guilt and shame from negative behaviors. What would it look like if this cycle was interrupted? If you no longer had to deal with the pain associated with addiction? Would it transform you? Or does it scare you? Our basic values are there for a reason. They point us in the right direction to keep us safe and live a brighter life.