“Admitting that he is somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame.” —Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book, page 61
My addiction was absolutely everyone else’s fault. If my parents had been more attentive to my emotional needs, if my husband had been more loving and if my friends weren’t so self-centered, I would not have been in this mess.
Playing the Victim
We addicts do so like to toss out the blame for our poor decisions. We love to think that we are victims of fate. And boy was I a good addict!
I recall hearing an alcoholic share her story. She concluded by stating, “I am no longer a victim.” Perhaps she wasn’t, but I certainly was.
I couldn’t wait to tell my story as my audience would be moved to tears by the tragic life that allowed me no choice but to soothe the pain with chemicals. Poor, poor me, pour me another drink!
Taking Responsibility for My Choices
Eventually finding my higher power, a God of my understanding, I read the bible for the first time. 1 Corinthians 10:13- “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Yes, with God’s guidance, I could face the temptations of alcohol and drugs. Yet, that passage also spoke to me of free will. I did have the ability to escape this lifestyle if I would let go of seeing myself as a victim.
But taking responsibility is oh so hard. It is so much easier to blame another and not take on the responsibility of owning our issues. I had been comfortable in that role, yet I was getting nowhere.
I was abstaining but was still not truly sober. In my second year of abstinence, I realized that there were consequences to my actions and behaviors and that I had freely drunk and drugged.
This epiphany was huge in my sobriety. If I was responsible for my negative actions, I was therefore responsible for changing them. Boy was I in for a lot of work!
Poor, poor me, pour me another drink!
Alcoholism: one part alcohol and 99 parts ‘isms’
In my humble opinion, the ‘isms’ are why I drank and drugged, the ‘isms’ are why I blamed others and the ‘isms’ are why I felt like a victim. Alcoholism is one part the consumption of alcohol and 99 parts the ‘isms.’
Once I began to behave like a grownup I began to see the addictive ‘ism’ for what they were—sad, silly excuses. My sobriety truly began when I became willing to study these issues.
Recovery was not far off at this point and successfully working the steps finally became possible.
In hindsight, I know that Alcohol-ISM is conniving and canny. Accepting my free will and my role in addiction were milestones. These vital truths found me embracing my sobriety with a new fervor.
Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.