How Addiction Impacts the Family

Stop Playing the Addiction Blame Game

Posted on August 27th, 2014

Addicts often blame everyone but themselves. To admit having a problem and then taking responsibility for it are both very difficult to do. The truth is that attitude is very important when it comes to addiction recovery and blaming external sources for problems is counterproductive to successful sobriety. Blame never leads to real change. It is simply a way to remove responsibility and complain about a situation without confronting the challenges ahead. For addicts, the blame game is one that desperately needs to be overcome if healing is to happen.

Who or What Is Really to Blame for Addiction?

Although current research has taught us that addiction is a disease it is still a mistake to avoid responsibility for personal choices and actions. We know that genetics play a role in addiction and that some people are more at risk of becoming addicted than others. Traumatic experiences and mental health disorders can also increase the risk of developing an addiction. Once started, drug use changes the brain and makes quitting progressively more difficult with time and continued use.

Do these facts mean that external factors are fully to blame for addiction? The answer is no. Each individual must take responsibility for choices, actions, and behaviors that led to their current state. Yes, addiction is a disease, but individuals put themselves on the path to dependence. They made the choice to start drinking or to take that first hit. After the first experience of losing control, when they chose to keep going instead of getting help, they began the addictive spiral. Now that they are ready to get the help that they need, admitting their own responsibility is important.

How Can Blame Be Harmful?

Blame is often an automatic response. There may even be a very good reason to blame someone or something else. Maybe you had an alcoholic father. Maybe he hit you when you were a child. Maybe you had undiagnosed depression and you self-medicated with alcohol. These life facts are not your fault and they have had a negative impact, but blaming them will not help in overcoming the disease.

Using blame as an excuse for addiction is harmful because it prevents you from getting better. Blame leads nowhere. If someone else is to blame, after all, how can you make any changes that will improve your situation? Blame holds you back in all aspects of your life, but when facing addiction it can mire you in a dangerous situation for a long time.

How to Get out of the Blame Game

To conquer the disease of addiction, an important step is to ditch the blame. Resolve to get professional help.  Take responsibility for your actions. You will not need to fight addiction alone. A counselor trained in addiction treatment can assist you in letting go of blame and accepting responsibility.

Learn to accept yourself for who you are. Challenges, such as a traumatic past or behavioral health issues, may have occurred and may be a part of your life, but these do not define you. Admit to the past mistakes and realize that they are not weaknesses but learning experiences. Focus on self-improvement and healing.  A key insight is that once you are truly ready to stop blaming others, you are ready to move on with life.

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