I smoked a cigarette yesterday for the first time in 15 years.
And it felt good.
Well, right up until I had to tell my husband what I did. Then the guilt and shame came crashing in.
For some odd reason, ever since I had Covid in the fall of 2021 I have been craving a cigarette. I was a social smoker for a couple of years when I was younger. I worked at a job where you only got a break if you were a smoker, I was going through an awful divorce, and I just picked up the habit of smoking to relieve stress and get a break. I was never addicted. Quitting wasn’t even hard for me.
Then I got Covid. Why Covid made me start craving cigarettes is anyone’s guess. But it did. I fought it off for just over year and then finally caved.
While I was heaping burning coals on my head for being so stupid, I realized that for the year I’ve been fighting the cravings, I never once turned to God to help me with them. I never asked God to take the cravings away, I just told myself not to do it.
But I did. Because fighting addiction is nearly impossible on our own. We need Jesus.
Once I realized that I felt more guilt and shame.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Now, I’m left picking up the pieces and wondering just what comes next. The guilt and shame were enough to keep me from going back for more. At least for now. I know in the long run I need Jesus. But for the time being, I need to deal with with the guilt and shame.
How to Deal with Guilt and Shame
The truth is, I’ve already asked God for forgiveness, and I know He forgave me. Wouldn’t it be nice if that was the end of it? It’s not.
I have to deal with the consequences of my choice.
My husband is very loving and forgiving, but I can tell he’s still upset.
My 15-year-old daughters read this blog, so I know they will find out. We don’t keep secrets at our house, we put it all out in the open and learn from our mistakes. I just hope it points them to Jesus and doesn’t turn them away.
Because the truth is, if I had been turning to Jesus it probably never would have happened.
So back to the guilt and shame feelings.
How do we deal with guilt and shame?
3 Ways to Deal with Guilt and Shame
Here are three things I am doing.
1.) Seek & Accept Forgiveness
First, I sought forgiveness from my husband. That was huge. And he forgave me.
Then I asked forgiveness from God. Of course, He forgave me, too.
Then I had to forgive myself. That wasn’t as easy, but it was possible.
2.) Give it to Jesus
I mentioned that I hadn’t been turning to Jesus with this addiction. That’s something I’m doing now. I’m placing it at the foot of the cross and trusting Jesus with whatever happens next.
3.) Pray Continually
And finally, I’m praying continually. Praying God helps me conquer the cravings. Praying that I continue to find my worth in Him. Praying for Him to give me peace about this situation.
Join the Conversation
Have you been living with guilt and shame? If so, I invite you to go through the steps above, because, sister, there is forgiveness and peace available for you, too.