Blame can be incredibly potent and is something that can be a major part of one’s journey through recovery. While it can be both common and debilitating, addressing blame in one’s life is essential to creating a healthy mindset for one’s own continued recovery.
Regardless if one is in recovery from substance abuse, addiction, or is coping with the effects of a mental health disorder, it can feel like there is a surplus of blame to go around. While it can be tempting to act on these notions, blame often has little place in an effective recovery plan, making addressing and overcoming blame essential for a transformative recovery.
Different Forms of Blame
Blame can take several different forms and there is no single, uniform way in which it may affect one’s life. However, there are two distinct, prevalent ways in which it may manifest. For some, this can be the blaming of oneself for their actions and situation.
While taking responsibility and maintaining accountability for one’s behaviors is essential for recovery, blaming oneself can feel entirely different. This kind of blame can feel debilitating and disheartening, actively causing additional stress throughout one’s recovery journey.
Blaming oneself can be a dance with self-destruction. It crosses the line from accountability and responsibility and into a realm where an individual may unfairly judge themselves for every stress, imperfection, or aspect that they feel is wrong in their lives.
Not only can this sap one’s motivation to continue pursuing recovery in the first place, but it can also compromise one’s idea that they even deserve recovery at all. The effects that this blame has on one’s self-esteem and self-image can be astronomical. It can even compromise many of an individual’s self-care strategies, therapeutic approaches, and create a stagnant feeling of shame and guilt that permeates throughout one’s life.
The other common form that blame can take is the blaming of others for one’s situation. This happens by considering oneself the victim of a myriad of wrongdoings that have landed them in an unfair situation. The temptation to liberate oneself of blame can be palpable, but this approach usually causes much more harm than good.
Blaming others can cause a fissure in once beneficial relationships, developing a schism between those in recovery and their supports who are trying to provide care and encouragement. With developing feelings of isolation and no supportive network, prolonged recovery can be incredibly difficult. Feelings of anger can become extraordinarily prevalent in one’s life and increase the chances of relapse.
The Cycle of Blame
Despite the immediate destructive nature of blame, the cyclic effects can also be incredibly devastating to one’s recovery goals. Blaming oneself can cause an individual to develop an incredibly self-critical and pessimistic worldview that can create a perpetual feeling of self-blame. Seeing only the worst in oneself and blaming oneself for all of the negative things one sees in themselves can beget even more self-criticisms and blame.
Likewise, blaming others and pushing people away can isolate an individual, leaving feelings of betrayal or neglect to overpopulate one’s mind, further blaming others for leaving one behind or alone. This can create increasing feelings of frustration and victimization that facilitate even more blame.
These cycles can quickly compromise many other aspects of one’s recovery and can continue to fuel themselves until addressed. Acknowledging blame and creating a plan to deal with its presence is necessary to make it over this difficult hurdle on each individual’s recovery path.
Starting the Conversation
Depending on the unique way in which blame may manifest, working to overcome these feelings can be very different. However, confronting blame typically starts with communication. Effective communication strategies can open the doors to personalized and effective ways to address these complex feelings.
Communication is a learned skill with two distinct components: speaking and listening. While this can seem simple on the surface, the ability to effectively articulate how one is feeling can be difficult. For some, the difficulty may present itself in overly self-critical or belittling word choices.
Others may need to focus on any antagonistic, confrontational tone that may result from harboring blame at others. Likewise, listening involves a willingness to listen openly and without prejudice. Communication without openness to perspective may as well not take place at all.
Working with professionals to create a space for this kind of conversation is the best way to begin addressing the complex cycle of blame on one’s journey. Whether a person is needing to address their perceptions of self-blame in an individual setting or may benefit from a family program to explore how one’s blaming of others has come to be, openness and willingness to engage in these conversations in a safe space is essential.
Blame can be a toxic, ever-present battle throughout recovery, and we at Everlast Recovery Centers are ready to help you address the unique way in which blame may affect you. Blame can be the most difficult and complex hurdle to overcome, but your time with us can be personalized to help you better embrace communication and forgiveness on your path through healing. Our comfortable, home-like atmosphere promotes effective and safe therapies to explore your own vulnerabilities while peers and professionals alike help you build upon your strengths. Art and music therapy, as well as other therapies, are all available to help you express new forms of communication while learning to fairly judge yourself on your own journey. An environment of supportive peers and personalized therapeutic outlets ensure that you always have a new option to explore in recovery. For more information on our programs or to speak to a staff member about your recovery goals, call (866) 338-6925.