Behaviors that a person engages in during active addiction can often have a negative impact on self-image and self-esteem. They can lead a person to believe that they are “bad” or “weak”. These beliefs can further fuel the addictive-based cycle of “Toxic Shame”. Guilt is healthy remorse for what a person does in active addiction, while shame is feeling bad about whom a person is.
Toxic Shame is the belief that a person is the sum total of their maladaptive behaviors while in active addiction; that they are flawed or defective as human beings.
At AToN Center,
we work to help end the cycle of Toxic Shame by facilitating the following in treatment:
- Understanding the difference between behavior and identity
- Sharing shame-based feelings with others
- Attending peer support groups
- Experiencing painful feelings
- Developing more accurate thinking using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Working to resolve grief and loss
- Corrective experiences
This work helps an individual gradually develop a healthy sense of self that supports a recovery-based lifestyle, free from addictive substances or behaviors. Other Recovery Studies at AToN Center that address Toxic Shame are “The Cycle of Addiction”, “The Role of Values”, “Burning Bridges”, “Lies and Apologies”, “Honesty in Recovery” and “Trusting Your Story.
The Psychology Curriculum Studies that address Toxic Shame are “Cognitive Distortions”, “Core Beliefs”, “Rational Responses”, “CBT and Emotions”, and “Self- Esteem”.
Kate Judd, M.S., CADC-II