There are many stumbling blocks on the road to recovery that need to be addressed. One of these roadblocks is blame. Blame is placing fault or responsibility for a problem on a person or a circumstance. No matter where you decide to place blame, it will be counterproductive to the recovery process.
The Two Sources of Blame
Blame comes from two basic sources when dealing with drug addiction recovery. The first source of blame usually comes from the addict themselves. When trying to figure out what brought them to this point in the first place, it is often tempting to place fault on a family history of addiction, on friends who encouraged bad habits, or on the pressures of life as a reason for why their substance abuse spun out of control. Almost all addicts go through a stage where placing blame is easier than working on recovery, but they’ll have to move on past this issue if they want to make any real progress.
The second source of blame often times comes from the people surrounding an addict. Addictive behaviors are harmful to relationships and the loved ones of an addict often harbor some hurt feelings as recovery begins. They are probably buying into one or more of the myths surrounding addiction that place all of the blame for this disease with the addict. Some of these myths include:
People who use drugs are bad and are unwilling to make good decisions.
Only weak people who lack morals use drugs.
Quitting drugs is simply a matter of willpower and people who struggle with quitting are just unwilling to put in the work.
The many reasons why these myths are false is a subject for our next article, but for now we’ll just say that these ideas are representations of flawed thinking and that they will not do anything to aid an addict in their recovery.
The Effects of Blame
When an addict is assigning blame to people or circumstances in their life that caused their addiction, they are not focusing on what they need to do to overcome their drug addiction. In many cases they are only providing themselves with excuses why they can’t recover from this disease. In this way, blame hampers progress. It excuses a person from accountability and gives them an escape route instead of a solution. Assigning blame to outside sources is like saying you have no personal control over your situation and that you can’t change it. Taking responsibility for your life and actions is the only way to recognize problems and to begin working through them.
When loved ones blame the addict for their drug addiction, they are hampering progress as well. It takes the focus off of recovery and places it squarely on the shoulders of the addict, expecting them to have enough determination and willpower to solve the problem on their own. They are not providing the support that the addict needs to stick with recovery. When placing blame on the addict, their family is also unable to engage in their own healing process. Addiction recovery is something that needs to take place for the entire support system and this can’t happen when feelings of blame get in the way.
Blame is a waste of time and an effort in futility. Placing the blame for addiction on a person or circumstance will only discourage rehabilitation efforts and hamper the progress of the addict. It is more productive for an addict to accept responsibility for their situation themselves so they can take steps toward getting healthy and it is imperative that those who love them refrain from placing blame and simply offer their support and encouragement in moving forward.
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