Shame, Self Forgiveness And Alcohol Abuse


One of the biggest issues with alcohol abuse is the suffering of shame and guilt that is associated with addiction. Learning to overcome this guilt and to forgive yourself is a process that is necessary in dealing with alcohol addiction. Shame is a separate feeling from guilt although it is often associated with guilt. Shame also often arises out of feelings of guilt making it difficult to begin the healing process and moving forward.


Normally guilt is seen to be a good thing because it causes people to be empathic to those around them and helps self-improvement. However when a person becomes alcohol reliant, guilt can become a destructive force. An unhealthy feeling of guilt can lead on to other issues such as:

  • Anger toward others around you

  • Anger toward yourself

  • Depression

  • Lust

  • Greed

These kinds of guilt are seen to be self-destructive and often the only way that an alcohol dependant can deal with these feelings of guilt is to try and block it out. Alcohol may be an underlying factor in causing guilt in the first place but then comes the idea of alcohol to numb the pain that guilt causes. This in turn causes an endless cycle of guilt and drinking that many find hard to overcome.


One emotion that is similar to guilt is that of shame. It is often mistaken for guilt and yet shame is something that is often an effect of guilt. When someone acts out of guilt, they can then feel ashamed of their actions. Acts of shame that are associated with alcohol dependency include:

  • Feeling ashamed about the treatment of others

  • Feeling ashamed about deceiving others

  • Feeling ashamed for the actions of the self

Shame is not always based on action but sometimes shame can be brought on by feelings and emotions as someone often feels they should not feel a certain way. One way to deal with both shame and guilt is to find out the root cause of the guilt and then to find a way to forgive yourself.


In order to treat alcohol dependency there is a need to address the feelings of guilt and of shame. Once the root cause is found, then self-forgiveness can be worked on. It is self-forgiveness of this sort that can help to break the never ending cycle of drinking to forget the shame and the guilt that alcohol causes.