Regret can be a powerful emotion. It can be very destructive if you allow it to be. You can feel regretful over many different things. You might regret a few unkind words you said or regret spreading a little gossip. You might regret your behavior or actions. Whether what you regret is large or small, the feelings can be consuming.
Regret can often spark feelings of anxiety and even depression. It can be easy to get lost in the what-ifs and play different scenarios over and over in your head. What if you didn’t say those words? What if you stayed home that day? What if you worked just a little harder? The spiraling can continue as long as you will allow it.
If you are struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), you probably have a laundry list of things your regret. You may regret breaking the trust of a loved one. You may regret causing tension between you and a spouse or family member. You might regret losing a job or neglecting to pay your bills. Substance abuse has a way of causing us to think and behave in ways we are sure to regret. We might make poor decisions as a result.
Letting go of this regret can be very difficult. As you make the decision to enter treatment and seek help, you might be riddled with shame and guilt as a result of your past. You might even allow shame, guilt, and regret to keep you from seeking treatment for a while.
The Effects of Regret
What does regret feel like physically? Regret can often feel like a mild illness or a pit at the bottom of your stomach. It might cause headaches or even shakiness as a result of the anxiety and uneasiness it can create.
Regret also takes a toll on your mental health. It can cause you to feel distracted, sad, or even hopeless. Allowing regret to consume your thoughts even after making the decision to seek treatment can hinder your growth and healing.
Regret can create a persistent feeling of worry or uncertainty. It often strips us of any self-confidence when it comes to future success in relationships, careers, or other endeavors.
Learning How to Let Go of Regret
Letting go of regret does not necessarily mean forgetting about your mistakes. It does, however, involve forgiveness, making changes, and focusing on the future. Living in the past and dwelling on mistakes you have already made can leave you feeling stuck and unmotivated.
Learning to forgive yourself is the first step. You must acknowledge your progress and give yourself credit for making the decision to pursue change. Seeking help takes significant courage. This should encourage you, as you are proving to yourself that you are capable of making the right decision.
While you may never forget the hurtful things you said or the mistakes you made due to your addiction, it doesn’t mean you have to continue beating yourself up over them. It may be safe to assume there are plenty that you may not even remember. Forgive yourself. Addiction takes control over our minds, bodies, and spirits. Give yourself some grace and understand that you are choosing to do the right thing now.
Make Necessary Changes
The next step toward letting go of regret is making changes. In order to avoid making the same mistakes that caused your regret, you have to change the way you think, behave, and act. Choosing to seek treatment is a great step toward change.
As you go through the treatment process, you will continue to evolve in many ways. It is important to embrace the changes that occur as you heal. Be open to trying new things that will add value to your life in recovery. Know that you are changing for the better as a result of your sobriety.
Focus on the Future
Focusing on the future is another key component when it comes to letting go of regret. If you continue to think about the things you regret, you are more likely to repeat them. Instead, choose to focus on all the good things. Think about how far you have come since choosing to seek help for your addiction. Think about the relationships you are mending and the healthy habits you are adopting.
Don’t continue to let regret stand in your way of a successful future in recovery. By forgiving yourself, making the decision to make a change, and focusing on what is to come, you can find peace and happiness in recovery from SUD.
Regret is something we all feel from time to time. When it comes to recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, regret can be very disruptive and hindering. Regret causes us to focus on the past and leads us to dwell on what we could have or should have done better. Addiction strips us of our control. It is important to understand the power in this and recognize that the things we said and did while under the stronghold of addiction may not have been our choice. At Enlightened Solutions, we help clients learn from past thoughts and behaviors and focus on moving forward toward healing. We help divert focus from shame and guilt to the hope that can be found in recovery. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we would love to help. Call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.