“Shame is hard to comfort. Even if you know it's baseless, it's still hard to come face-to-face with.” –Alex Tizon
People always say that we need to recover for ourselves. That was the hardest part of recovery for me because I couldn’t care less about what happened to me. I just wanted to stop hurting the people I loved. I wanted to be the person they thought I could be and accomplish the things they told me I deserved.
Navigating mental health experiences was next-level challenging as I tried to live a “normal” life with no traditional success. With each new barrier, I stoked my shame like a fire. I eventually became comfortable with it and learned how shame protected me. I subconsciously knew that I could victimize myself to avoid accountability. I was so engrossed in the problem that I could not begin to think of a solution.
Healing my shame was probably one of the most difficult experiences in my recovery because it meant I had to become comfortable with what I couldn’t control. It meant I had to finally accept accountability for the things I could change. This inner work brought me face-to-face with the shame that was caused by the parts of myself I hated the most. I had to start healing the parts of myself that hurt the most.
Sometimes I catch myself stoking that fire again. Humans are creatures of habit, but I would like to choose better habits. By learning to accept myself fully, I was able to love myself without judgment. I could never shame myself into being a better person, but I learned to love myself enough to choose better. Facing my shame was how I chose better.
Elizabeth is a Recovery Coach at an RRC in Newark, NC. Her passion is to provide person-centered services and empower guests through strengths-based language.