A common characteristic of addicts and alcoholics – and even some so-called normal people – is to blame others. And when we blame others, we render ourselves powerless.
So many times I've heard alcoholics or addicts say "If my mom and dad didn't use I wouldn't have started using." And while it may be true that the parents introduced the child to addiction it doesn't do a lot for that person's recovery today. When we make someone the scapegoat for our behavior it is pretty easy to continue that behavior.
And this kind of blaming goes beyond just blaming parents. Some of us blame the system, claiming that is rigged against us. Or because we're minorities, we blame a racist society for our addiction and our lack of success. Others blame their lack of financial success on their poor education.
But this blame game only goes so far. All of us know someone who was raised in the direst circumstances by the most horrible people. Yet they overcame their upbringing and became successful in spite of all the obstacles.
Some members of my own extended family were raised in dire circumstances. One of them elected to do something with her life got an education, becoming a successful business person. A couple of others are pretty much losers and addicts who blame their parents for their present ugly circumstances and are stuck in a cycle of blaming others for their lack of success.
For many years I blamed my failures on my upbringing. My father was a raging and brutal alcoholic, a nightmare to be around. So it was easy for me to blame him for my drinking and drug use. And for my subsequent years of prison and mental institutions. Ultimately though, I realize that I would never change unless I took responsibility for my own behavior.
And that was the beginning of my road to recovery.
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