I think one of the most dangerous conditions a recovering individual can experience is the combination of feeling self-loathing and isolation. Self-loathing, or shame, is a common experience for those in recovery. It is usually something most recovering individuals feel long before their addiction starts (as you know, addiction is actually a cover-up for feelings of shame….more on this in a future blog post). This self-loathing is based in the belief that one is unacceptable to others, including God. Because of these feelings of shame, most addicts are tempted to stay in isolation and secrecy. They hide from their most important relationships and don’t want to be exposed with their mistakes. It’s difficult for them to see their mistake as learning opportunities. Instead, the mistakes reaffirm their feelings of self-loathing, creating a self-reinforcing cycle of negativity. The only way to break out of this negative spiral is to come out of hiding and talk with someone who is safe. With practice, the continued connection to others in this way begins to chip away at the feelings of self-loathing with are then replaced with truth about an individual’s worth and value.