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A commentary on blame

Old 11-23-2015, 08:57 AM
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A commentary on blame

I am posting here cuz the newcomers is too sensitive for this kind of post. But this section tends to draw a different crowd.

I just don't know. Ya know I had a whole big long thing written out. A good set of reasons why blame is not acceptable. Was going to post it. And in my readiness I thought how I would not want to upset anyone with some very strong language. I would not want to be the reason someone backslides due to reading such a thing. I would not want to be blamed.

I cannot speak with any real certainty that we, as addicts, have the right to point a finger outside of ourselves and say thats why I am an addict. The idea of blame for me just does not work.

I dug this hole. I work everyday to dig myself back out.

An article this weekend infuriated me. Someone I know lived a life that has led to a dismal place. There is much finger wagging going on about who is to blame. The doctors that prescribe or the people that abuse.

Frankly, does it matter how we get to where we are? It only matters how we get better. No? Blame is a highly unproductive conversation. Blame is not a platform to stand on and cry to get help.

Let's talk about how we stay sober and help everyone around us to do the same.

I will end this post the same way I started it. I just don't know.

Sigh....
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:38 AM
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JD
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I agree that blaming doesn't help and does not move us forward. There are things in my past that I have a legitimate excuse to blame all my issues of alcohol abuse and depression on. Abuse as a 10 year old boy. They very likely could have caused my issues. But they happened and I can't change that. Blaming isn't going to fix anything. I'd just wallow in self pity and drown my sorrows in alcohol. I've done that for too many years. Healing takes work on our souls. Should I have to do that? Probably not but if I don't where does that leave me? No one can flick a switch and change the past.

So you can blame and continue to drink/use. Or move past blame and begin work on yourself to be a better person and have a better life. Don't get stuck in blaming!
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:49 AM
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Agree jd... just to be clear I am not the one blaming. I get angry when I see someone I know try to use blame to their unjustified advantage.
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:53 AM
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Hey weasel, I got that your not blaming. My post was a general commentary on blaming too.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:48 AM
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Hey Weasel, love the Charlie Brown profile pic

When it comes to my alcohol addiction I only blame me. I don't know how much genetics comes into play but for the most part I knew my family were bad drunks and I still decided to pick up at a young age. Partially not understand part experimenting, in the end it was me.

I reacted as bad as my uncle and dad when I would drink in excess: become violent, even at a young age. Even as the signs pointed to hey maybe this drinking thing is bad I still picked up. No matter how sick I would be from to much drinking and swore to never pick up again, the next weekend comes around and bam.. drink down my throat.

I dug this hole for myself. It's a pretty deep hole but it was me that did it and continues to do. All blame lies on the choice's I made way before I even understood what they would do to me later in life.
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:08 AM
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Yeah, there are no winners when we play the Blame Game. I think in early recovery (or deep in the throes of addiction), it's commonplace to look for a reason for all the troubles.

Namely, we want to know: WHO or WHAT put me here?

I must have been pushed into this mess. Because there's no way I'd have chosen this life for myself. I didn't do this on my own. People can blame specific events, a group of people, or even a vague conglomerate ("the government", "advertisers").

I believe much of the blame can be legit. But, like you, I think it doesn't really matter and it's a big waste of time - especially for those new to sobriety. I try not to engage in too much "back in the old days" stuff with people. I'm mainly concerned with where I am going, and what I am doing now. Wish others wouldn't get so bogged down with ghosts from the past.
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Old 11-23-2015, 03:43 PM
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Oh boy, Ken, do I relate to getting a little peeved at people playing the blame game! But, when I stop and think about it.....maybe they're just not as far along in their quit...maybe they're still in that awful 'Angry' stage....maybe they're just struggling to make sense of it all.

I totally agree that we could all point fingers and say 'Ah ha! This is why I'm an addict' and I agree that it is an exercise in futility and does nothing but keep the addict mired in their addiction, but for me....I try and remember that we are all in different stages of this journey.

Having said that, I think it's incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for people (including professionals) to egg on that kind of thinking. It absolutely keeps people stuck, because there is no way to change the past! It is what it is. It then becomes our responsibility to choose our path....our future. Yikes!

Good topic and timely for me. Thanks Ken.
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Old 11-23-2015, 06:48 PM
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I can't type well due to hand surgery today so no long post but I had to chime in to say I love this thread!
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Old 11-23-2015, 07:26 PM
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I posted recently to another post about it being easy to play the perpetual victim. This is not just a recovery thing. I see it everywhere these days.
It's much easier to put the blame of ones situation on external things than to look inward and take control and responsibility. I know I have been guilty and still have to work hard on stepping back when things don't go my way.
I'm not saying that people don't go through horrible situations that have major negative effects on their psychological well being. But if you spend your entire life dwelling on it in a woe is me pity party, you'll never move forward. It's why I don't like the concept of being in recovery for life. Your always blaming some outside force when it always only came from within yourself.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:58 AM
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One can only blame the past which can't be changed, not a good tool for Now or the future, Onward!
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Weasel1966 View Post
I am posting here cuz the newcomers is too sensitive for this kind of post. But this section tends to draw a different crowd.

I just don't know. Ya know I had a whole big long thing written out. A good set of reasons why blame is not acceptable. Was going to post it. And in my readiness I thought how I would not want to upset anyone with some very strong language. I would not want to be the reason someone backslides due to reading such a thing. I would not want to be blamed.

I cannot speak with any real certainty that we, as addicts, have the right to point a finger outside of ourselves and say thats why I am an addict. The idea of blame for me just does not work.

I dug this hole. I work everyday to dig myself back out.

An article this weekend infuriated me. Someone I know lived a life that has led to a dismal place. There is much finger wagging going on about who is to blame. The doctors that prescribe or the people that abuse.

Frankly, does it matter how we get to where we are? It only matters how we get better. No? Blame is a highly unproductive conversation. Blame is not a platform to stand on and cry to get help.

Let's talk about how we stay sober and help everyone around us to do the same.

I will end this post the same way I started it. I just don't know.

Sigh....
I blame the "gene" I got for addiction. And I passed that "gene" to my oldest son and NOT to my youngest. I think the gene has a code in it that makes certain people not learn coping skills (I'm joking really)...but that is MY problem. I don't have coping skills...and when someone really upsets me...or my body is really anxious...I have learned that when I drink some alcohol...I get numb and don't feel those things.

Yesterday....I had a very tough day. My head was going to explode. It involved looking for something...that really wasn't my responsibility to have to FIND....but because I have enabled some people and they count on me for everything....it was my burden to try and find this thing that I was holding in my house..and I couldn't find it (It was a birth certificate for my 25 year old son). Everytime...this son contacts me....My blood pressure rises....there is always tension.

I had just laid down for a sober "nap"...I was exhausted..lots of family drama with holidays and my parents divorcing after 52 years! My mother had just blown me off for a meeting. And I was already very stressed. Then this son calls me and says he needs this document as soon as possible...I had NO IDEA where I put it because I had to move everything out of the room and into boxes because of remodeling that room....

I jumped up from the couch....started searching (because this was contingent on HIM securing a good job). And he was BLAMING me cause I couldn't find it. Logically I KNOW he is 25...and he should have this document in his possession already...BUT...because I have always been the go-to for these things...I needed to find it.

And when I emptied that room I was DRUNK for 27 days...My head started pounding..I started tearing the garage apart...tears in my eyes...anger...fear....AND I DIDNT find it. I have 1 month sober right now...I started throwing things....in the garage...there are papers everywhere now...Then I stopped and thought F this....I'm going to the liquor store...I CANT HANDLE these feelings.

And I DO BLAME him...if he didn't text me...if he had his own documents...etc. But, rationally..it all comes back to ME...and I had to realize that. I ran to our City Hall...got him a copy....and that was settled. I can not believe I DID NOT DRINK. I usually don't get thru that feeling....And many times in my head...I do blame those around me for slips....its just part of the cycle I think.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:37 PM
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A victory!
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Old 11-27-2015, 08:36 AM
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Frankly, does it matter how we get to where we are? It only matters how we get better. No? Blame is a highly unproductive conversation. Blame is not a platform to stand on and cry to get help.

yes, i think it matters how i got to where i was and how i got to where i am now.
there's such a huge difference between blaming and understanding our history and how we got to where we are.
i agree blaming others/externals is not a productive way forward, but that in no way means it doesn't matter how we got here.
if we don't know/understand how we got here, how can we really change our way?
how can we prevent getting there again and again if we don't understand how we got in the mess in the first place?
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Old 11-27-2015, 10:01 AM
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I once read in a management book that to handle chronic complainers one should require them to have several options and a recommended solution before coming to complain again. The beauty of this approach is that it drastically cuts down on the amount of complainers, but especially that it helps to turn complainers into problem solvers.

It hit me one day that I could apply this principle to managing myself. It takes the emphasis off the why and the blame and puts it firmly on what can I do to solve my problem. In the end, blame was just another form of procrastination, another distraction that kept me from working on the actual solution.
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Old 11-27-2015, 10:14 AM
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Blaming does not accomplish anything. In my early recovery process (day 8 today) I realize I am human and have made mistakes hurt others and myself, but also I have been hurt too. It hurts when loved ones point fingers and place the blame on someone else and not take accountability for their own behaviors or actions. I feel the only way to grow is to take a look at ourself to see what we need to change and work on that issue, in the long run it will make you a better healthier person. Wishing you serenity today.
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Old 11-27-2015, 04:06 PM
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Here's a simple blame exercise - use your index finger and point it at something, anything. Notice there is one finger pointing out and three pointing back at oneself??

I was not a victim, I was a volunteer........

Recently an older book popped up on my radar- Under The Influence by James Milam. Interesting read for us trying to understand the physiology of alcoholism.
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Old 11-27-2015, 06:10 PM
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I had a little hang up going on with "who's fault is it". That's just what I was taught growing up, blame and fault finding. I had mellowed out somewhat after leaving home but it remained a core of my perception. The Robot helped me with that. It can be my responsibility without it being my fault. My parents failed miserably in their responsibilities and it wasn't necessarily their fault. They pored me into a mold the same way they were poured into a mold. No one is to blame. I was just dealt a dirty hand. I seriously should be dead by now. The good thing, that I get to own, is that I was also dealt the ability to play that hand well. Life in the bonus round is sweet ass.
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Old 11-27-2015, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Fly N Buy View Post
I was not a victim, I was a volunteer........
I don't believe that sentiment would go over too well with those who were victims of childhood violence and sexual abuse. I personally try to avoid generalizations when it comes to blame or not blaming. I believe there are times when assigning blame is helpful. However, it is equally important to find ways to deal with and process any past trauma, and looking for "one's part in it" isn't a valid way to do that (actually, I believe it could be quite harmful).
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Old 11-27-2015, 09:43 PM
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I don't blame anyone anymore, including myself, for where I wound up as an alcohol drinker. Nor do I blame alcohol. It just was what it was. If I had been wiser/smarter/more-introspective/less-blah-blah, maybe it wouldn't have gotten so bad, but it's all good now because I'm happy with where I am in life as a non-drinker. It was a life experience, and the end result was that I'm wiser and happier than I was before as a drinker.

There are circumstances where it can be helpful to assign blame, even to oneself, but to me that's part of a process that ideally drives towards serenity and acceptance, not just of past addiction but of past events that might have pushed us there. My emotionally abusive parents, for example, did the best they could with what they had, and their faults can probably be traced back to their own upbringings. But it's all ancient history, and as long as I'm happy with where I am in life, it all must have worked out for the best.
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Old 11-28-2015, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Weasel1966 View Post



An article this weekend infuriated me. Someone I know lived a life that has led to a dismal place. There is much finger wagging going on about who is to blame. The doctors that prescribe or the people that abuse.

Frankly, does it matter how we get to where we are? It only matters how we get better. No? Blame is a highly unproductive conversation. Blame is not a platform to stand on and cry to get help.

That reminds me of the old Buddhist parable; it talks about a person with an arrow stuck in his arm. Would abstain from taking action until he knew who fired the arrow, what the shaft was made from, how feathers were in the fletching, why the person shot him, and so on and so forth? Of course not! None of those details is important compared to the need to actually treat the wound.

There are lots of reasons people want to assign blame, and some are probably at least somewhat valid. But blame is secondary to actually solving the problem!

Thanks for another thought provoking post, Ken!
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