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the antidotes to shame

SANCTUARY brené brown we can do hard things


In our last Sanctuary postUnderstanding Shame, we talked about how shame, the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging, can fuel addiction and also hold us back as the parent, spouse, friend, or child of someone with an addiction problem.

Last time, I asked you to use your journal to contemplate shame and the impact it may be having in your life and the life of your Loved One. You wrote down the situations that trigger shame for you personally, and you also recorded your feelings and reactions when you are in the midst of a shame spiral.

In this week’s video shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown shares the number one antidote to shame and talks about three things you can do to break a shame spiral…

1.  Talking to yourself like you talk to someone you love
2.  Reaching out to someone you trust
3.  Telling your story




After watching the video, use your private journal to consider how you can implement Brown’s suggestions in your own life.

What negative things do you tell yourself that you would never say to someone else?

Is there someone – a friend, family member, therapist, or religious figure – you can trust and talk to when you are in the midst of a shame spiral? Someone who will have empathy and not judge or gossip? Write down the names of those you trust and can turn to.

The next time you find yourself suffering from shame, what positive steps can you take to alleviate the suffering? Will you call, email, or visit one of the people on your list? What are some of the ways you can have empathy for yourself? Can you take a hot bath, go for a walk, or treat yourself to a walk or massage? Record your feelings below.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)