If you’re suffering from survivor’s guilt, you may feel the need to regain control but aren’t sure how. Though challenging, it’s certainly worth the effort to repair the pain in your heart. You can find support and strengthen yourself.
What Is Survivor’s Guilt?
If you’ve never heard the term “survivor’s guilt” before, you’re not alone. The condition is not discussed frequently enough. Simply put, it’s a condition where you feel sad and possibly even to blame for surviving an incident others did not make it out of.
You might be experiencing it as a result of a military encounter, where others in your group died and you escaped unscathed. You might also have developed survivor’s guilt from a civilian circumstance. For example, you might have been caught up in the middle of criminal activity where others were killed by the perpetrator, but you weren’t.
Addiction recovery stirs up many emotions, but one common emotion people with addiction feel is fear. The idea of giving up the substance that has become such an important part of life leaves many unknowns. The potential for a negative outcome is what often causes fear in people facing addiction recovery. In essence, you fear what might happen, not what is actually happening to you. While fear can have a negative impact on the process, managing fear in recovery is possible with healthy coping methods.
Definition of Fear
What is fear? You know it when you feel it, but putting fear into words is more of a challenge. Fear ranges from feelings of uneasiness to complete and overwhelming anxiety, and it can cause panic and stress. Fear relates to your concerns about the future. It is an emotion that causes distress over the possibility of pain, danger or other negative outcomes.
Forgiving an addict can be emotionally challenging. It can be even more difficult if you are emotionally close to the addict and have suffered because of his or her addiction. The addict may have stolen from you and abused your trust. You understand that not only did the addict suffer with the addiction, but those close to them suffered as well.
Why an Addict Behaves in a Certain Way
How can you move on and let go of the hurts of your past? You must learn how to forgive your addicted loved one, and one of the first steps in doing that is gaining an understanding of the addiction. First, start looking at the addiction as a disease, a disease that is separate from the addict themselves. Though it is likely evident that the addict made bad decisions and might have hurt you in some way while they were under the influence of their addiction, remember that the disease of addiction can cause them to lose control of their actions.
If you’re a successful person in your academic or professional life, you might wonder how you could possibly get caught in the throes of addiction. After all, you’re an intelligent person capable of using logic to create viable solutions to the problems thrown your way.
However, that does not make you impervious to addiction. In fact, the stresses associated with success can make you more susceptible to addictive behaviors. The reality is that history is filled with tales of brilliant men and women who were pioneers in their respective fields, but they suffered and struggled with addiction.
So, take heart. You’re not alone, and there’s no need to hide any longer. There are countless people who’ve achieved success but are unable to break this painful cycle. Addiction does not mean you’re bad or weak or broken. It means you’re human and need help like everyone else.