Addiction and Not Being the Victim
Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease that tells the person that they do not have it, regardless of how bad their circumstances. Most addicts in the depths of their disease feel and act like the “victim.” They believe the world has wronged them, and everyone else is to blame.
This is because the brain of someone in active addiction is malfunctioning. It is not working in the way it is designed to work. Areas of the brain responsible for judgment are blocked. Primitive areas of the brain where the disease seems to be centered are running the person’s life. They cannot differentiate the truth from the false.
By Shayne Sundholm, CEO, Clean Recovery Centers
The blame game
Often individuals in active addiction have gotten themselves into unimaginable difficulties. All family contact is lost, they have been in jail numerous times, they are financially ruined, and on and on. In the moment, it is much easier to play the victim and blame everyone else than to come to the grips with the disease and begin the process of getting well.
Getting well requires the individual to realize they have a problem and begin the process of accepting responsibility for their actions. Continuously playing the victim is killing the suffering person. As long as it is society at large that have caused their problems, it is impossible to get well. As a result, the circumstances grow ever worse, often resulting in death.
In short, the “blame game” must end.
With a suffering addict, it can be incredibly difficult trying to establish the concept of not playing the victim. That’s because the addict’s ability to make judgments is largely blocked. Getting through that they are responsible for what has happened make take any number of approaches.
An approach that frequently works is family. If an addict still has family support, then the family must make a clear commitment that they will no longer support and enable the addict’s behavior if they do not get help.
Another approach that seems to work is for spouses to clearly inform the addict that the marriage is over and all communication will cease. Also, clearly telling the addict that all sources of financial help will be terminated has worked in many instances.
When people take such approaches with the suffering addict what they’re trying to deliver is a message that says “the jig is up.”
Courage and love
These approaches may sound harsh. In fact, they are often easier said than done. It takes tremendous courage for the family to react in this manner. This courage can be found in the love they have for the suffering person.
Love does not enable the person to continue on their path of self-destruction and eventual death. When family members realize this, courage often comes quickly, which is a very good thing since this is, truly, a matter of life or death.