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Don't Blame The Substance User

01 August 2017 Written by 

If one word could be used to describe my marriage it would have to be: blame. There was an abundance of blaming going on. I blamed myself for not being able to stop my husband’s drinking, he blamed himself for hurting his family, I blamed him for continuing to drink, and he blamed me for nagging him so he had to drink. There was no short supply of blame.

Our life was a series of: Who was to blame?

  • If I was in a bad mood because the housework was not done, I blamed his drinking.
  • If the children misbehaved it was because he was drunk last Saturday night. 
  • If I wasn’t getting along with my Mother it was because he drank.
  • If I gained weight it was because he was stressing me out by drinking.

It didn’t matter what was going wrong it always ended up being his fault because he drank. It was sad and it was wrong.

He blamed himself for everything that went wrong in our lives as well

  • If the kids got sick, it was because he was such a poor provider.
  • If his Mother was angry it was because he drank too much.
  • If I wasn’t happy it was because he wouldn’t stop drinking.

 After playing the blame game for decades I found the rooms of Al-Anon.

It was there I learned to take responsibility for my decisions. It was not an easy step. I was so used to blaming someone else for any and all of my problems I didn’t know how to accept responsibility for my part. Slowly I began to hear there was a better way than blaming the alcoholic for everything.

The first thing I learned was a powerful phrase: I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. That simple thought helped me tremendously in letting go of a great deal of the blame for him and myself. We each had responsibility, but mine was not to get him sober…that was his job. It wasn’t my fault he was an alcoholic. I felt lighter after hearing that.

Next I learned to use the word, ”WAIT” – Why Am I Talking? This helped me to stop and think about the words I was hurling. Instead I started to respond instead of to react with sarcasm and hurtful remarks.

This led to my third lesson in stopping the blame game, “Do No Further Harm.” My blaming was harming my husband, my children, and myself. No matter how much pain I was in, it didn’t give me the right to harm anyone. My husband had not asked for this disease any more than he had asked for blue eyes.

My husband didn’t find recovery before he died of the disease. It was not the happy ending I wanted, but in recovery we learn to be grateful for what is and not for what should have been. I was grateful knowing I had stopped playing the blame game and started showing compassion and kindness to him. 

Content Originally Published By: Madeline Schloop @ Reach Out Recovery 

If you need help with addiction in your family, click on the link below to find professional resources of all kinds in your area. 

Read 4369 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 August 2017 17:40
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Madeline Schloop

Madeline is the widow of a man who died of alcoholism and the mother of 5 young adults whom she parents with the tools of Al-Anon. Her children continue to be affected by the disease of alcoholism. Her stories  deal with life's daily trials and what has and hasn't worked.
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