Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | April 1, 2019

No, You Didn’t Make Your Loved One Drink

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It’s a damaging, destructive lie that’s repeated all too often: if an alcoholic drinks, it is someone else’s fault. It’s bad enough when an alcoholic alleges that a loved one drove them to drinking, and even worse when they make others believe that lie.

How often have you heard some variation of the following:

I drank until I passed out because I hated my ex-father-in-law and he hated me

If my wife would stay off my back and let me be with my friends more, I wouldn’t drink so much and I’d be home sooner

My father hit me all the time growing up and my mother did nothing about it

Our son was such a lost soul and nobody understood him

The recovery website Sober Recovery recently published an article about 10 things non-addicts (or normies) don’t understand. One of the things they tackled was the idea that addiction is someone’s fault.

Believing that addiction is someone else’s fault is dangerous thinking for these reasons:

  • It denies the fact that addiction is a disease that may have more than one cause that science has yet to uncover all the complexities of – it needs to be treated as a disease that requires care. Trying to treat it as a moral failing or simple poor choice overlooks this important fact.
  • Trying to assign blame distracts loved ones from the fact that the person living with the addiction needs treatment – not enablers doing nothing to help. Lending a “sympathetic ear” while supplying the addict with their addictive substance is not the help they need.
  • Blaming others and the trouble such behavior causes makes it harder for the addicted person to start on the road to recovery in a safe emotional state. The starting point of a loved one’s recovery is not the time to dredge up old feuds against ex in-laws, former friends, etc.
  • Focusing blame on another person denies the addict’s ability to decide to take that crucial first step. Becoming addicted is not a choice, but deciding that living with the addiction is no longer acceptable is one the person living with the addiction needs to feel free to make.

The next time an addict pinpoints you as being responsible for their addiction or you hear of the blame being shifted somewhere else, remember that this is a more complex problem than larger society presents it as. Consider reaching out for help if someone in your life is struggling with an addiction.

 

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