Shame is one of the biggest obstacle in the way of an addict’s family to seek help. When addiction enters a family environment, shame is already present because of the stigma attached to addiction. In our society, addiction is not recognized as a disease. The family, at times feels responsible for the patient’s plight. Rather than addressing the issue, shame based families are heavily occupied in concealing all that is going wrong. Shame prevents them from getting proper help for their loved one in form of Intervention and they at times make the things worse by enabling, provoking or trying their own indigenous therapies.
Shame is defined as “an emotion in which the self is perceived as defective, unacceptable, or fundamentally damaged”. There are two Types of Shame Healthy Shame and Unhealthy or Toxic shame. Healthy shame is an emotion that helps us do our best. On the other hand, Toxic Shame is a painful belief in one’s own defectiveness as a human being. It involves a perception of failure of the total being. The shame based person believes that they should not exist. Studying the Roots of Shame will help us to identify the earliest sources of shame. If we know where this shame comes from, we could also begin to learn how to heal the problems caused by too much or too little shame.
Addiction is a shame-inducing behavior which is self-fulfilling. In order to overcome shame, the addict seeks mood alteration and emotional numbing through more addictive behaviors. As a result, toxic shame increases and hence, a vicious cycle is created. A person suffering from shame wears various Faces of shame in the form of co-dependency, self-alienation, and disturbance of self-image. Components of shame include; a painful feeling, uncomfortable thoughts that precede, accompany, and follow the physical symptoms themselves. Healing the shame is important as shame-bound people have difficulty with intimate relationships. Shame based people put up a false front, pretend and do all the things they believe will impress others. The 12 Steps Program for Shame Healing and Shame Healing Exercises have been developed for transforming toxic shame into healthy shame.