An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

The Blame Game

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by JoanMcWench, May 22, 2015.

  1. JoanMcWench

    JoanMcWench Community Champion

    What's the best way to address people who refuse to take personal responsibility for their addiction & insist that someone/something else is responsible?

    It's pretty tough to do this without being confrontational. Most people take questioning their decisions as an attack on them personally. I've tried so many different ways but it seems there's something inside people that makes them explain away the circumstances. Example:

    'I drink because my husband drinks. I don't even like drinking. I do it because I can't deal with his drinking.'
    'Well, you understand that the only person you control is you, right? Do you understand that the only person you're hurting is you? Has your drinking stopped or slowed his?'
    'You don't understand! I don't even like to drink! I have to!'
    *inside my head* Good God.
  2. I don't think there really is any magic word or phrase you can use to make the person see the "error of their ways". I've tried on numerous occasions to get through to people who have addictions, but the reality is that until they're ready to listen, there's really nothing you can do. I hate it. I feel helpless while I wait for someone's mentality to come around to the point where they will listen to reason. And perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps there really is some way to get through to someone, but if there is, I don't know what it is.
  3. Femiluv

    Femiluv Active Contributor

    This is a tough situation to deal with. In my experience, having open and honest conversations seems to work and consciously practicing active listening. My hope through this is that I am able to motivate the person to seek professional help. Seeing a therapist or other professionals is one of the quickest ways I've seen people learn to take responsibility for their actions.
  4. LilAnn

    LilAnn Community Champion

    That kind of thinking is poisonous. I don't think you can change it. They will always think they're the victim, and if you try to talk sense into them, you become the victimizer. They are going to have to realize it in their own time. I bet that's the turning point, when people start to realize they have a problem and they need help.
  5. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    It might be pretty hard to get through to someone who can't take personal responsibility for their actions. I think that convincing them they can choose to either use or stop using drugs would be a good first step. Whether they'll take that advice is an entirely different matter though.
  6. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I'd imagine that a lot of drug addicts will be able to tell you a story about how their life could have been so much different if it hadn't have been for this or that person. At the end of the day, that might actually be the case, but the buck will always have to stop with the individual themselves.

    The only way to overcome an addiction, is to admit it, and also admit that it's only you that has got yourself into the mess, so it's only you that can get yourself out of it.
  7. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    I, too, think that there isn't a set combination of words one can simply render to an addict in hopes he would change his mind for good. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy. One would need to have a glib tongue or the gift of being able to persuade anyone to believe anything he says. Even then, it wouldn't be such a simple task either. The addict's mind is usually corrupted and this makes it all the more difficult for them to achieve progress.
  8. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    As basically everyone else has said, I don't think it's that easy -- I wish it was though! I think that if someone is in the mindset of not wanting to change, playing the victim and blaming others/events for their addiction then it's incredibly hard. If it was easy as having a magic word or way of approaching it then I guess there wouldn't be such a high incidence of addicts. I think you just have to be there for people - let them know you don't agree with their behavior, and that you will help as much as you can with their recovery. I think when someone knows there is a stable support network it makes breaking that cycle of thinking easier.