How Addiction Makes Us Feel

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Those of us who struggle with addiction have grown accustomed to feeling certain intense emotions. How does addiction make us feel? Our experiences with addiction are different for each of us, and we will each have a unique set of emotions accompanying our experiences. Here are some common emotions that many of us feel and emotional experiences that many of us can relate to.

Many addicts share in common a deep self-hatred. We hate ourselves because of our addictive patterns, the things we do, and the choices we make. Many of us were insecure and self-hating before our addictions developed, and these painful feelings acted as catalysts for our addictions to manifest in the first place. We create a self-image that is not an accurate reflection of the whole person we are. Instead we focus on our regrets, our shame, our mistakes and wrongdoings. We perceive ourselves not as growing, changing, learning and evolving, but as immoral, shameful people doomed to suffer. We feel disappointed in ourselves, like we’ve let ourselves and our loved ones down. When we feel so deeply ashamed of ourselves, we also feel disgusted by ourselves, embarrassed, and horrified by the choices we’ve made. We’ve endangered ourselves, hurt the people we love, and done things we never thought we’d do. We can feel as though we struggle to recognize ourselves, like we’re not ourselves anymore. We can feel as though life is all one bad dream.

Many of us struggling with addiction also experience feelings of depression. We feel hopeless and sad much of the time. We feel discouraged and defeated. We feel desperate to give up on ourselves and on life. We suffer from suicidal thoughts and think taking our lives will provide us with relief from our pain. We struggle to feel connected to our purpose and life’s mission. We can struggle just to get out of bed in the morning. Along with our depression, we can also experience anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and other sleep issues, eating disorders, physical pain, and other challenges related to our depression.  

Our addictions cause us to feel intense cravings and addictive urges and compulsions. Many addicts feel powerless over them. We feel as though we’re up against a force stronger than ourselves, stronger than our willpower and resilience. We lose our faith in ourselves and our ability to do what’s best for ourselves. We feel weak. We feel self-destructive and self-sabotaging. We feel as though we can’t stop ourselves from acting on our urges, and this can be incredibly scary and disheartening.

Understanding some of the emotions we feel as addicts can help us to have a deeper understanding about ourselves and our addictions, helping us to move forward in our recovery.

The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and the feelings of hopelessness and disconnection that come with it. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.