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REDUCING SHAME
By jc004
7/6/2011 3:08:33 PM
From the book [Don't Call It Love] by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. on addiction and recovery. The book looks very good and is often quoted in Hilton's [He Restoreth My Soul].

To have recovery, we need to reduce shame. Hilton calls shame one of the three hooks of addiction (guilt, shame and pride).

"Shame provides power to the addictive process. The shame cycle of bingeing and then feeling despair keeps addicts driven toward efforts to stop that are doomed to fail. One of the key tasks for all addicts is to reduce the shame that locks them into repetitive cycles."

"Addiction often exemplifies first-order change. Addicts believe they can control their behavior without help, and their shame keeps them from asking for help. Being a Master of the Universe, they want to figure it out alone. So they try harder, in secret, by themselves--and fail."

"Second-order change often means solutions that involve vulnerability--and these are often solutions people tend to rule out."

"Addiction is no different. Addicts need to admit that they need help, that they have become powerless. To admit that you need help and are powerless breaks the shame cycle. YOU HAVE AN ILLNESS; YOU ARE NOT A BAD PERSON. Paradoxically what would seem not to work does. The key ingredient is vulnerability." [Emphasis added]

"Twelve step programs provide a way to escape shame...First addicts must learn to identify their own shame response. By learning to label their shame, they can then separate reality from their feelings of shame. They develop a capacity to detach from their shame so the feelings do not reengage the cycle of addiction. To start, addicts can focus on occasions when they are likely to feel shameful.
"Addicts experience shame when they:
-feel like a failure
-despair over their struggle with destructive s~xual feelings.
-feel like misfits--strange, unusual, or weird
-feel 'ashamed' about things they have done
-feel inadequate and unlovable
-obsess about what other would think if they knew the truth

"All addicts experience themselves as if they were two different people--the good and honorable Dr. Jekyll and the self-indulgent, out-of-control Mr. Hyde. Therapists build on this internal experience to reduce shame. They teach addicts how to identify how their "addict within" operates. Addicts are asked, What does your addict do when things go right, when things are bad? How would your addict alienate you from your partner? your children? friends? How will your addict sabotage your recovery? your therapy?"

I have seen this in my own life. I tend to shame myself through feelings of worthlessness. I tell myself I'm a horrible person. I used to think these feelings were good, that somehow they would motivate my recovery. Shame does just the opposite.

I am separating myself from shame. I am not a bad person; but I have an illness. I don't call myself an addict. I am a decent person with an addiction. I hate the addiction and I hate what it has done to me and my family but I don't hate myself. Self-loathing will only exacerbate the problem.

Comments:

helped    
"This helped me know how to help my husband more. He has created a heap of shame on himself (along w/ his family molding his shameful view as well) over his entire life, and as you posted, it is not helpful along the road to recovery.
Also, as you said, basically, my husband is an awesome person with a destructive addiction. It does not make him stuck to it like a label would be."
posted at 15:33:24 on July 6, 2011 by ConfidenceIn
Yes    
"Do not let your trials and weekness or sin define you. Be patient and know that God is making you spiritually worthy to receive his blessings. No doubt, no fear, no shame. We have the POWER. our Lord, Jesus Christ!"
posted at 18:35:23 on July 6, 2011 by Hero


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"The solution to this problem ultimately is neither governmental nor institutional. Nor is it a question of legality. It is a matter of individual choice and commitment. Agency must be understood. The importance of the will in making crucial choices must be known. Then steps toward relief can follow."

— Russell M. Nelson

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