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 Post subject: Dreams of shame
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:27 pm 
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I have read a couple of posts that talks about guilt and shame and its helps me feel like I am not alone. I just started suboxone last Friday and its been great(minus the guilt and depression). Every night, I have dreams about the horrible things I did to get pills. I was a home health nurse and I stole a few here and there from my patients, until I got caught. All my life I thought stealing and lying were horrible and , although I never considered myself perfect, I considered myself an honest person. My addiction took the better part of me and I felt like I needed to steel pills to survive. I began to rationalize me stealing and eventually became numb to it. After getting caught thus admitting that I had a Lotab addiction, I cannot seem to get past the shame of what I did. I constantly plague myself with questions like: What are people saying about me? What if when my son grows up and someone tells him? What if I run into the patients I stole from? Who would ever marry an addict who stole from her patients? I, constantly, beat myself over the head with these questions:(. Does anyone have any suggestions or inspirational thoughts that will help me give myself a break. I feel like that overcoming my addiction is not as hard as overcoming the shame of what I did. I live in a paralyzed state of fear. I have nightmares , just about every night, about where I used to work and my patients.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:28 pm 
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I don't know if I can offer an great words of wisdom my love but I can tell you that anyone who has ever experienced addiction has probably done something they wouldn't normally do. I think of myself as an honest person but I stole. I think I am an amazing mother but I snorted a pile of oxy in front of my 2 yr old. I have fears that my oldest child will remember something as he gets older. But we have both made the decision to get clean and get back to who we really are. I think that says a lot about us. It's not easy to face our demons but we are doing it. Hang in there and maybe think of the good you have done. Look for the positives and know you are making better decisions now.


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 Post subject: can't change the past
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:35 pm 
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I think everyone ends up regretting something they did from time to time. I know it may not help a lot right now, but the one thing we cannot change is the past. that doesn't mean we should forget about what happened...but remember, no matter how much you obsess over it, you will never be able to change what happened. We can only move forward. And too, it may not help a lot, but you are certainly not alone in that kind of behavior. I know, that's not an excuse, but...I think it's a pretty well-known story. I hope you can forgive yourself now and concentrate on moving forward. Best of luck to you.


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 Post subject: Guilt and Shame is real
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:39 pm 
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Welcome to the forum Angie...

Well we can all certainly relate to guilt and shame. I think so many times that I am lucky I am not in prison or locked up in an institution somewhere. I think you are right on when you say I stopped.......but now I deal with the shame and guilt and it is very real.

For me I joined AA and found I person with lots of sobriety (I prefer AA over NA). That person soon became my sponsor and helped me deal with alot of questions I had about getting sober. One of the things that worked for me was doing a 4th and 5th step. What this is ......is where you sit down and write out everything you have done and resentments and what your part in it was and it takes total honesty......it actually was very hard for me to write down all the things I did in active addiction. Once complete we made a time to meet at a location (park, mountaintop....somewhere private) and I shared it all with him and God. Mine took about 6 hours to do. Once we were done we said a prayer and burned everything I wrote down.

I can't tell you how much relief I felt after doing this. I had suppressed so much stuff and I lived in a constant state of fear. Now not everyone needs to do it that way. Some find it helpful just writing it all out and how they felt about it.......just to get it out of your system.

Remember you have a disease and we did things when we were active in our disease that we know were morally wrong but we did it anyway. That past will always be your past but dealing with it and sharing it with someone you trust really makes a difference......it did for me anyway.

We can try to minimize and say well I didn't kill anybody or rob a bank but I know I did things I am not proud of. If we are honest and get it all out we may just find the relief we are seeking to continue living a good life and changing our habits.

I am sure others will share their experiences with you but know you are not alone...we all have felt this way and some still struggle. I hope this helps and good luck as you continue your new way of life.

Jim


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:42 pm 
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I don't know if I can offer an great words of wisdom my love but I can tell you that anyone who has ever experienced addiction has probably done something they wouldn't normally do. I think of myself as an honest person but I stole. I think I am an amazing mother but I snorted a pile of oxy in front of my 2 yr old. I have fears that my oldest child will remember something as he gets older. But we have both made the decision to get clean and get back to who we really are. I think that says a lot about us. It's not easy to face our demons but we are doing it. Hang in there and maybe think of the good you have done. Look for the positives and know you are making better decisions now.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Hi Angie,

I wanted to throw my support in too. You are NOT the only addict who did bad things and you are not the only one who now has to deal with the guilt and shame of their previous actions. I'm going to say that all of us have done some exceedingly dumb things while we were using and it can be difficult to get those memories to calm down.

For me, working with my counselor helped tons. Just talking about the things I did with someone who understood addiction made a big difference. Verbalizing those feelings you're having somehow takes some of their power away. It takes time, but you will get to the point where you can forgive yourself. Eventually, you'll be able to remember those events without reliving those events. Remembering those situations and reliving those situations are two separate things entirely.

Finally, my relationship with God helped me to eventually forgive myself too. He already knows what you did, He's not mad at you, He understands and He still loves you dearly.

You're OK Angie, what you're going through is normal....it hurts like hell, but it's normal and with some work, you can get control of it.

Take care of yourself and Be Kind To Yourself.

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Be kind to yourself. Our character defects do NOT define who we are!


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 Post subject: you're not alone
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:54 am 
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Hi Angie,

Read my story...its under methadone maintenance I think...plus I posted a "bottom" story as well....I am a nurse anesthetist, although not currently practicing, and took fentanyl and morphine from several hospitals. When I went into my first treatment in 1993 I was mortified...I thought I was the worst piece of scum on earth and that no one had ever done what I did. During my addiction I justified myself by saying that my patients always had pain meds on board and that they never woke up in pain...that I stole the 'waste' blah blah blah...and I literally broke open a med cabinet one weekend while I was in severe w/d from fentanyl, needing the fentanyl so badly. I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd do something like that....I had been on one 30mg pill of codeine a day...started the codeine due to migraines, ended up taking one every day also rationalizing that one...and went to shooting up fentanyl. Quite a big jump and while on just the codeine I'd say to myself 'hey its just a pill, it's prescribed and i am a better me on it. and i'll never shoot up. never'. Well...I did shoot up.
Just before getting out of inpt treatment another anesthesiologist came into the inpt. ward...We were shocked to see each other...it really did help me realize that I wasn't alone. It took me years and years, however, to get rid of the intense shame..not only of stealing drugs from work, but from many other decisions I'd made in my life that hurt me. Mostly I hurt myself in my addiction....but obviously my behavior affected others around me.

I don't know what kind of recovery program you have...and I've said this a million times already, but stopping the use of drugs is only the first step. And in the big picture, for me, it was the easiest even though it is very diffcult. The hardest part was having to look at myself in recovery with nothing to cover up my shame. and to start to face what I had done. And I needed support and new tools to live life without drugs. Drugs didn't work for me any more...although it took me many relapses to get it. I had cravings so intense my first year of sobriety was like having my whole body clenched down. I never thought i'd ever be relieved of cravings for opiates. I'd go to 12 step meetings and continue to think I was too defective to get better because everyone else seemed to get it...and to be free...I was stuck. I was in total bondage mostly of myself. You know?

So, my "advice" is to work some kind of recovery program...and find support.I have a similar experience to ReRaise. I like AA because I have a sponsor who gets it, people around me who get me and who want to change their lives...I see people free and happy...and i'm getting there more and more every day....I also just did a 4th step where you write down resentments and people you've hurt, talk about it to someone you trust and then make amends...and doing that work really helps get rid of the shame we carry...that is why I talk about AA so much. I hated AA for many years, didn't believe in it. In 2000 I started to really work that program and I was clean and sober for 5 years....I did relapse and went back out for 2 years on vicodin after my divorce and will now have 3 years May 21. But if I hadn't done this 4th step I don't think I'd be where I am today. I've grown up a lot, I've made a lot of positive changes, I have tools in order to live life and let go of needing to control everything...it's not perfect but it's def. progress!

I've been reading a lot about Ibogaine recently....and something really clicked with me reading the article DOAQ posted yesterday....that addicts heal addicts...and that we are the ones who will cure addiction...someone else said it today...that we are our own clincial trials and its true...there is an enormous amount of healing power together here...we know more about Sub then most of our physicians. And we are the ones who will elicit change in the field of addiction medicine. Most of us have the attitude that we meet each other where we are at...and that itself is healing. That's my philosophy although sometimes I fail at that and think I know what someone might need more then they do! But overall its addicts who heal addicts...and that brings me back to why I like 12 step meetings. They aren't perfect, but we listen to the message and take what fits...and find people who have what we want and hang with them.

Angie, it will get better...and you're not alone. To me, that was the most help, knowing I wasn't the only one. And in the early days of understanding my addiction I had a dr say to me "You are not a bad person, you are a sick person" and that also helped me because I felt so bad about myself. I didn't need anyone to tell me what I had done wrong....I knew it...I know it....I'm the hardest on myself. But as Romeo has in his signature...Be kind to yourself...give yourself a break....and let others love you until you can love yourself.


Last edited by chinagirl on Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:38 pm 
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The way I see it is if you can stop looking backwards and forgive yourself and start living in the present, the guilt will slip away. If you need to make amends with others, then do that as well - but that's your call. For me, when I stopped focusing on the past, all the guilt and shame of yesterday was gone. Because like was said, we cannot live in the past. It serves no purpose whatsoever and prevents us from doing anything with today. Hang in there...you'll get through this.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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 Post subject: self forgiveness..
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:35 pm 
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You're right hatmaker we need to forgive ourselves....one of my amends was to myself....I was so angry at myself for all the things I did, putting myself in such a victim mode...and that was the hardest thing, to forgive myself. And that's why sometimes we need others around us to pick up the slack and love us before we can love ourselves...and the thing that took me the longest to understand and somehow the first time I did this work I left it out completely! but that is to look at my part in all my resentments...I mean I made amends and all...said I was sorry when necessary, did what I had to do to fix things, again, if possible...and that is the healing part of this step...but the learning part of that step was/is to look at my part because I finally understood I had a part in everything that happened (most things rather we can't always control what others do to us) and as I began to own my behaviors (selfishness, dishonest etc) I began to grow up..and grow as a person and then I started to feel better because my behavior changed. and you build on that. One thing at a time. And why I like AA is we get a chance to help other people suffering from addiction by our stories, sharing our solutions etc.
Angie, the fact you are writing about it means you are starting that journey to self forgiveness...you'll get there.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:10 am 
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I'm one of the ones who posted about feeling guilty. It is easy to say "don't look back" but so very hard. Somehow we have to learn how to forgive ourselves. If you figure it out please let me know.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:23 pm 
Thank you. Very interesting and fresh


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:29 pm 
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I feel that my regrets are heightened and brought back to my conscious
When taking the sub. I became addicted to oxy through chronic pain. I forged
A script when any doc would grant me drugs. So I have r
This legal thing, but also sit and think abOut all my past and everything
I have regrets about. I prosecute myself daily. I share your issue and if
You figure how to overcome pls share. I hate myself as I have electrical
Engineering degree with honors and now am a convicted felon until my
Successful probation. And it seems that everyone is betting against me, including
Sub doc though I have been clean from doc for five months now.
God bless
And help us! I have my wife and darling son of seven still. Gotta turn page

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'If you can't trade a cry for a good laugh, then opiates will rule your life forever'. -me
This is the reason I am ready to walk uphill for a finite infinity, in search of myself at the end of the marathon.


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 Post subject: Oldie but goodie
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:45 pm 
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Good digging DC on finding this old post. It's as relevant today as it was back then. The question of how to rid oneself of guilt goes back ages and ages. In the Catholic religion they call it Confession. If you are a good, decent person, then you will feel guilt. Those who don't are called sociopaths. So at least you got that going for ya.

Alcoholics Anonymous took the principle of confession (plus other things) and made 12 steps out of it. You write down all the bad things you did, omitting nothing, then you read it to another person of your choosing. Then you try to make amends to all the people you hurt. That is the hard one because when you tell someone you stole from them, sometimes they get mad. One never knows how making amends will turn out until you do it. Some are best left alone if by doing it you end up hurting the person again, so you have to be careful. After you finish that it feels like a large pile of rocks were lifted from you if you did it the right way of course. Does it work forever and completely? Nope. Does it lessen as time goes by? Yes.

There are things I've done in life that are so shameful it was nearly impossible to tell someone else. I did it because my life was such a mess and was told it would help keep me sober, which it did. But even after telling my deep darkest secrets to someone I still feel guilt today at what I did over 40 years ago. I may still have the guilt, but it is a fraction of what it would have been if not for AA and the 12 steps. Whether it's right for you or others reading this post, I cannot say.

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