Coping with Regret in Recovery

Regret is the feeling that arises when we believe we could have made better choices or actions. It is common to question ourselves with phrases like “why did I…?” or “why didn’t I…?” Given that making mistakes is inevitable, it is likely that we will experience regret frequently. Research indicates that approximately 1/3 of our decisions may lead to feelings of regret. Instead of striving to evade regret, it is advisable to focus on managing and processing regret.

Two Types of Regret

There appear to be two primary forms of regret. One might regret failing to fulfill obligations to others. Upon recognizing the issue, it could be relatively simple to rectify one’s actions or seek reconciliation. Conversely, do you exert a comparable effort when you falter in pursuing your aspirations and objectives? Lingering regret is often a result of neglecting to chase after your dreams and goals, rather than falling short on your duties. Over time, we typically regret more the things we neglected to do, rather than the actions we took.

How to Cope with Regret Now?

Can we utilize it effectively instead of getting lost in regret, guilt, and shame? Consider the following suggestions: Embrace regret instead of avoiding it. Embracing it can provide a chance for growth. Instead of dwelling on “if only,” can you adopt a mindset of “this time” or “next time”? Many regrettable decisions or choices may recur in the future.

Instead of solely dwelling on self-criticism, consider the circumstances surrounding your actions. Given the same scenario, personal background, and triggers, would another person have made a similar choice? Reflect on what insights you gain about yourself. Avoid black-and-white thinking. A decision that wasn’t optimal likely wasn’t entirely flawed. Embracing decisions, facing outcomes, and evolving through this journey shapes our growth into responsible adults. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at (727)498-6498.

Are you struggling with addiction and want to learn more? Visit Psychology Today or check out our page on addiction treatments.