Have You Ever Felt Guilty or Ashamed About Your Drinking? Part 5 of 7

by Sep 17, 2018SUD Resources0 comments

At Heartland House, we have learned a lot about substance abuse disorder over our many years of serving men in recovery. Throughout our history, we have utilized an array of recovery tools that have their roots in 12-step programs, government initiatives, and studies and surveys.

We want to reach the still suffering alcoholic or drug addict. If you are questioning whether you might need help with addiction, we are developing a series of blogs on the subject that will be of interest to you.

This is the fourth article in this series and asks:

Have you ever felt defensive, guilty, or ashamed about your drinking or using?

If you have felt this way once or twice due to an experiment gone awry, that does not necessarily mean you are alcoholic. If this is a constant feeling after a night of drinking, or you feel defensive and constantly find yourself making excuses, then you might be an alcoholic.

As we’ve referenced a couple of times in other articles in this series, non-alcoholic drinkers can usually control their intake and behavior while drinking. They can drink one or two and then stop, or abstain altogether without any emotional consequences. While non-alcoholic drinkers may have experienced guilt or shame due to outcomes of a drinking bout, they are usually able to recognize the poor behavior and moderate their drinking in the future.

The feelings of shame, remorse, and despair are referenced often in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. Remorse is referenced in The Doctor’s Opinion: “After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again” and in the chapter, More About Alcoholism, “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization” is used to describe the feelings of an alcoholic coming out of spree having, once again, promised that he is done for good.

For those suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder, this defensiveness, guilt, or shame that is tied to their drinking, or behaviors while under the influence, is a regular occurrence. One of the diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder according to SAMHSA is “continued use of alcohol despite problems resulting from drinking.” If you are continuing to drink despite having feelings of defensiveness, guilt, and shame (among other potential problems), you may be an alcoholic.


In case you missed the other blogs in this series:

Part 1 – How do I know if I’m an alcoholic?

Part 2 – Is it hard for you to imagine life without drugs or alcohol?

Part 3 – Has your substance use caused problems in your personal or professional life?

Part 4 – Do you need to use drugs or alcohol to feel “normal”?

Part 5 – Have you ever felt defensive, guilty, or ashamed about your drinking or using?

Part 6 – Do you have a habit of drinking or using alone?

Part 7 – Have you tried to stop drinking or using on your own and found that you couldn’t do it?

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