The blame game is the act of pushing blame in a tough situation. It doesn’t just have to do with an evasion of responsibility on the side of one party or another, but it’s also terrible waste of time in any problematic situation. A person’s priority when a complicated issue arises shouldn’t be to find an enemy to poke at and shout at – it should be to solve the issue, and find ways to avoid it ever happening again.
Blame does have a reason for existing, of course. Like fear, it’s preventative – when something bad happens, we blame something and develop a prejudice against it in an interest to avoid the terrible thing.
But as modern human beings, relying on a simple instinct like that will not be enough to tackle complex problems, like addiction. If you want to recover and maintain your sobriety in addiction, then learning to overcome blame in all its forms is important. This includes blaming others in the initial stages of denial, all the way to blaming and shaming yourself for every negative part of your life, without taking the steps to improve.
Learning to Stop Blaming Others
In many cases, addiction begins with denial. It’s easy to understand why. No one wants to be an addict, and we all deeply crave to be in control of our lives. When we’re first confronted with the idea that there’s a substance that is controlling us – whether that confrontation comes from our own conscience or those around us – the initial reaction is to reject that idea. Because it’s incredibly scary. Addiction is a hard topic to talk about, and it’s an even harder to issue to fight. Like grief, the first thing we do is get defensive
That is where the blaming begins. When a problem occurs, all too often someone dealing with addiction may know they’re at fault. But to perpetuate the rejection, they long to find someone else or something else to blame. Because again, it’s easier. It’s a simpler, more elegant solution that doesn’t involve as much pain, hardship or struggle.
Or at least, that’s what some addicts hope. The reality is that denial can lead to broken relationships, broken careers, and broken lives. And this sends people down an emotionally negative spiral, fueling the problem. It becomes a vicious cycle.
The only way out of this is to realize you have a problem. It’s not just about knowing deep inside that you’re in a pickle – it’s about embracing the fact that you need to change. That it’s on you – that the problems you’re facing are your responsibility, and that you must fight your addiction if you want to have another shot at living life to its fullest. However, this often enough segues into another similar issue – instead of blaming others, you begin to blame yourself in a way that is equally unhealthy, and just as unhelpful.
Learning to Stop Blaming Yourself
This may be even harder than ending denial. Often, self-loathing and self-hating become a part of addiction as addicts slip into a cycle of depression and euphoria, flipping between drug use and withdrawal. They feel terrible about themselves, which fuels the addiction.
This isn’t every case, of course. There are people who realize they are addicted, yet maintain a level head – they know they have a problem, and struggle to stop, but not because they’re struggling with emotional pain.
Yet in most cases, guilt is a regular fixture of addiction. Ditching it means overcoming those depressive thoughts, and that’s easier for some than it is for others. In some cases, when recovering addicts develop a full-blown depression, the problem can reach a level so profound that it requires medication and therapy. At this stage in the latest it’s important to seek help. If you cannot stop feeling terrible about yourself and feel it draw you away from any potential of long-lived sobriety, you need the support of others to keep you on the right track long enough to convince you of your self-worth.
Some people may believe that shame, guilt or self-hatred is a justified or healthy emotion – it’s a form of repentance, even. But that simply is not true. You won’t get anywhere by beating yourself up. All that does is ruin your chances of improving and becoming someone you can be proud of.
Blame Has No Place in Long-Lasting Recovery
It’s never healthy to look at a situation and continuously blame. It’s judgmental at best, and at worst, it is part of a mentality of aggression. However, blame has its place. It’s important to be able to identify where things went wrong, what caused the decisions you made in life, and why things are the way they are.
But there is a difference between understanding that, and being stuck on it. The simple fact is that if there is a problem in your life, you need to work towards fixing it. Focusing on the blame will only harm you in the long-term.
Take an example in addiction – if your addiction is rooted in childhood issues, then the best way to help you overcome these is by moving past the fears and ideas they have caused. This can be done by rising above the abuse and finding a place in life in which you can be happy with yourself and those around you without your history dangling over you.
If your own adult decisions and misconceptions are at fault for your addiction, then you must grow past them. You must recognize your mistakes, and forgive yourself for them. And you must let your actions prove that you’re capable of moving on.
There are countless reasons why people become addicted to a certain drug. Even on a purely physical level, one can blame pure chance or genetics on a physical dependence to alcohol. But in the long-term, it only hurts to blame. Blame is negative, and addiction ultimately feeds on negativity. Empowerment, positivity, change and honesty – these are the tools you need to fight back against the despair and the hopelessness that drives so many into relapse.