m18pak - you ARE a beautiful writer and articulated your pain so well I can feel it.
I don't know your shame. I've known mine. I can only offer the suggestion of what worked for me.
1. Forgive yourself. (REALLY forgive. Give yourself permission to forgive - after all, who are you to judge you?)
2. Then - release it. Let go of the shame.
When a very wise and loving person gave me this advice, I thought it to be too stupidly silly and not a hard enough thing to do for as big as the guilt felt. I had an incredibly hard time trying to figure out how exactly to let go of something that felt like an integral part of me. I wanted to know how to do that? What to do? Surely something as awful as this shame requires a complicated process? At least a pain for pain exchange?
Turns out, it really wasn't as hard as I wanted to make it out to be. When I finally could not bear it any longer, I thought it wouldn't hurt to take a shot at her suggestion. I took a walk out in the woods. Sat and meditated on my guilt and shame until I burned with it. Then, I visualized myself packing it all up into a ball and tossing it into the river. It floated downstream, around the bend, and out of sight.
It has not returned.
I hope you can find a way to do the same. We need voices like yours.