Embarrassment Versus Shame

Truth is not determined by the number of people who believe it.  Truth just is. -Lisa Neumann, Sober Identity

I had an interesting experience this morning.  I was sharing some less savory details of my legal consequences with a friend in a meeting, and I began my story with “I am embarrassed to say…”  He responded by asking me if it was embarrassment or shame.  The question stopped me, because I had not really differentiated between the two words.

So further research revealed that embarrassment is more external, while shame is internal.  At the time, my response to my friend was that I was experiencing both embarrassment and shame.  His quick response was “Really?  At a 12-step meeting you are embarrassed by your circumstances?  Think about your audience!”  Immediately I felt better, but I continued to think about the distinction, and to try think both feelings entirely through.

And, like fear, anger, many other strong emotions, embarrassment and shame can be removed when fully examined.  I was feeling both ashamed and embarrassed by the external factors of my legal consequences from my addictions.  Things that, at first blush, feel like they rob me of my dignity.  But as I really think through what I am doing, the truth is this:  I have an addiction, I have made mistakes in the past, and now I am doing all the right things that are keeping me sober one day at a time.  The truth is that I am proud of the actions I am taking daily, and the icing on the cake is that these particular circumstances, which have a pretty short time frame, will ultimately give me complete legal freedom, on top of the freedom I am experiencing as a sober woman.

There is nothing in my current life about which I should be ashamed, or embarrassed.  That is the truth.


Posted on October 10, 2012, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I absolutely love this post! That person offering the comment of “look at your audience” is priceless. I am so glad this was shared with me this morning! Thank you for these words and thank you for being open. Today, just for today, because that is the only day i have, today.


    • themiracleisaroundthecorner

      Thanks so much, and when I wrote today looking for advice, you are one of the people I was thinking of… if you have any words of wisdom for me, I would surely appreciate it!


      • I am humbled that I was thought of in this regard. I will read it once again and pray for the words to be sent your way. Hang in there, and today is a day that drinking and using isn’t needed, we will postpone that till tomorrow 🙂


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