Do Recovery and Regret Go Hand in Hand?

Do Recovery and Regret Go Hand in Hand?

Making bad decisions is kind of part of the process of struggling with addiction. You are not in your right frame of mind to do anything good sometimes and you hurt people you care about. You even hurt yourself. Regret can creep in and that can change how you see things in recovery.

Regret Continuum

Wherever a person lands on this spectrum, they may be struggling with regret. This is healthy to feel, for awhile, and plays an important part in the future. Regret should:

  • Help us anticipate. We can anticipate what may come in the future from past regret. We can make better choices to minimize anticipated regret. Embracing hope and possibility can support better choices, thus reducing possible regret over future behaviors and actions.
  • Acting differently. We can choose not to make the same decisions over again. If we are faced with similar choices, we can go to a different direction. Regret encourages us not to miss out on new opportunities. It motivates us to turn over a new life and build a hopeful life in recovery.

Cope with Regret

How a person copes with regret depends on how much they turn negative aspects into a positive learning experience for the future. People can learn how to cope with regret better by learning to:

  • Harness functional aspects: emotions are survival mechanisms. Regret tells our brain we need to take another look at the choices we make. Instead of ruminating on those bad choices, it is better to learn from them and move on.
  • Let things go. If a person gets stuck in a rut of self-blame, it can turn into depression and lower self-esteem. In that sense, it is often easier to forgive others than oneself.
  • Blame. We need to account for bad decisions we created and play out the consequences. It can be tricky because while addiction pulls the strings for a bit, we carry out the actions. Acknowledgement is key to recovery.
  • Reframe the situation. Recovery is a journey. Learning from mistakes can afford us opportunities to learn lessons about life. In this way, vulnerabilities, triggers, and other people can be the key to reframing the situation we find ourselves in and work to reframe the situation.


For more than 25 years, Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center has been devoted to helping those who are struggling, to find serenity and recover. With a focus on holistic treatment for the physical, emotional, and spiritual, our program effectively rebuilds and heals what has been broken by addiction. For information on our addiction treatment program in Louisiana, call us today: 866-848-3001