Self Blame vs. Responsibility

Don’t Blame Yourself but Take Responsibility

All of us have experienced situations where we feel we were wrong, in some cases we absolutely were this is not just something that happens to addicts / alcoholics. The fact is that humans are humans and we are not perfect even though some of us might think we are at times. As a second fact of note sometimes when we are wrong damage occurs, whether it be physical, emotional, financial, whatever. Most of us find ourselves looking back at times when we were wrong and caused “damage”; often we look back and merely think we have caused damage when in fact we caused no damage at all and still in some cases we have caused irreparable damage.

What do we do with that? All the self-blame, the guilt, sometimes shame, incredible frustrations with ourselves, and yes in many cases the excuses. I have over a long period in my alcoholism built up a very large reservoir of damage caused; I have apologized so many times it no longer has any meaning, dwelled in guilt enough to have paralyzed myself over and over. Often. I would bury myself so deep in guilt and shame that the depression would set in and to kill it I would begin the same self-destructive cycle all over again causing yet more external damage to feel more guilt and shame upon returning to life.

I have said it more times than Vizzini from The Princess Bride says the word “Inconceivable”

So, what do we do about cycles like this? What do we do for damage control, to keep from suspended animation or worse, running away and leaving more destruction in our wake? To pretend it never happened is ignorant and quite possibly narcissistic, regardless it’s wrong. Going back to all the times I’ve said I was sorry, did I really mean it? In every case where I feel guilt or shame over my actions I can in fact say: yes, I meant it. I am perfectly capable of saying I am sorry but beyond that what is my course of action? Remember, the sorry no longer means anything as I have said it more times than Vizzini from The Princess Bride says the word “Inconceivable”.
Responsibility is a versatile word, it can be taking responsibility for something that one must do (in most cases this is how we view it) or it can mean taking responsibility for previous actions, holding one’s self accountable for the results. This does not mean killing yourself to make amends or pushing to repay someone who doesn’t want to have any dealings with you at all. What this means is simply acknowledging your wrong, apologizing whether it’s accepted or not, and moving on with the notion that you will be more mindful of not making the same mistake again.

we can always know that we have tried and that we have learned from our history

Sometimes, we need to realize that positivity is not always about “feeling good”, it’s about the effects of our actions and our words, our beliefs, and our convictions, and yes sometimes our faults and our struggles on ourselves going forward as well as on others. While there are some people who may never forgive us, or accept that we are taking responsibility and action; we can always know that we have tried and that we have learned from our history. We can approach each new situation with a better understanding of ourselves and what pitfalls we may fall for, and an open mind to the fact that maybe we will be wrong again but when that happens….
We will take responsibility and continue forward!
Go clockwise,

~Joe

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