Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Because we need to change what we do does not mean the situation is our fault

A lot of us are guilt based. We react strongly when someone suggests that we might need to take a peek at our part in a relationship or situation. Over conscientious people are especially hard to convince because they have tried so hard and so long to be helpful and to fix things. The very suggestion that change is needed in ones actions, thinking or attitudes feels threatening.

It is so easy to identify the person who needs to change. The addict! Plain, pure and simple. They need to get clean and sober and tend to their recovery. The family member, however, often reacts like a deer in the headlight to the very suggestion that some change is needed by them.

It needs to be made clear that the need to learn and alter our behaviors does not at all imply guilt. It is very true that many addicts continue their use regardless of how enlightened the family has become. It is conversely true that many addicts choose recovery in the most ineffective of environments.

There is a process to change. The first step is to become aware of what might need changing. Then you need to digest the thoughts. Next you prepare for the changes and then you try them. The final step is to maintain the changes. This process is greatly evident in every 12 step meeting. You go, you wake up, and you think about it, you try it and then you like it and you keep doing it. All of this takes time and support. You get the information and ideas from others in your shoes.

You learn that we are responsible to each other, but that does not mean that you are my fault!