How Do Shame and Guilt Differ in Amphetamine Addicts?

It’s time for a twelve-step meeting. Maybe it’s a therapist appointment. Perhaps, you have to meet with a counselor. Whatever the amphetamine addiction commitment, you aren’t going. You didn’t go last week. And, you aren’t answering their calls. Why? Have you relapsed?

When people backslide and begin using again, they can cut themselves off because they feel that they have failed. But, that isn’t the case. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes: “Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors, and relapse does not mean treatment has failed. For a person recovering from addiction, lapsing back to drug use indicates that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted or that another treatment should be tried.”

So, if that isn’t the case, why do people isolate themselves if they backslide? Two reasons: guilt and shame. These are two separate negative emotions, but they can work together to fuel amphetamine abuse and to get you back into a negative cycle of amphetamine use.

If you are in amphetamine recovery and need to revisit treatment or you are tired of feeling guilty and ashamed and want to begin your first treatment, you should speak with the experts at They can be reached at 800-816-1059(Who Answers?).

Guilt and Shame

Shame and Guilt

Drug addicts may feel guilt for the behavior they take part in, in order to get high.

Guilt and shame are often lumped together, but they are 2 separate emotions. An archived manual from NIDA clarifies that difference. “Shame refers to negative beliefs about oneself; for example, one is a weak, worthless, or deficient person. Guilt refers to the belief that one has engaged in wrongful behavior, such as stealing to obtain money for drugs.

Basically, your feelings about yourself are shame and your feelings about your behavior are guilt. Although both negative emotions are dangerous, shame is the more troublesome of the two and the one that is harder to deal with.

The Cycle

All people feel shame and guilt, but addicts feel them more often. Why is that the case? It is a product of incorrect attitudes about addiction.

NIDA observes: “Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will.”

Because of this, you may believe that your addiction is the result of your weak will. You must be a failure. But that simply isn’t true and that shame isn’t healthy.

Guilt isn’t either and it can be caused by many things: engaging in immoral or illegal behaviors—like theft, prostitution, and burglary—to get drugs or money for drugs, injuring your family and/or friends, losing your job, home, and/or family.

Once these negative emotions set-in, you will want to escape them and amphetamines are the perfect source of a temporary relief. But, if you take that path, you will be using amphetamines to escape the shame and guilt of using amphetamines. It is an endless cycle and a dangerous one.

Personal Inventory

One approach to lessening guilt and shame is to keep a written personal inventory. If done truthfully and fully, it will help you to remain honest with yourself and accountable to yourself and to others. This process should create self-acceptance.

The NIDA recommends writing down your answers for the following questions:

  • How does my addiction affect me—physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, in terms of my self-image, and so forth?
  • How does my addiction affect those around me—at home, at work, financially, in social situations, as a role model for children, with regard to the safety of myself and others, and so on?
  • What character defects in me feed the addiction—insecurities, fears, anxieties, poor self-image, lack of confidence, excessive pride, controlling behavior, anger, and others?

If you are ready to deal with the shame and guilt associated with your amphetamine abuse, it’s time to call at 800-816-1059(Who Answers?). Break the cycle!