One of the most unhelpful things that was said to me in my recovery was “own the behaviour and stop the behaviour, the WHY is not important” UMM that didn’t work! In fact it nearly killed me.
I see posts on Facebook all the time “Stop Blaming and just get on with it” This is completely unhelpful. If a person doesn’t understand the “Why?” then they cannot ever move past it or create effective strategies to exist with it.
When I first started talking about my story, people wanted to know “how did this happen?”
As I would talk about my life and my struggle, people would be looking at me and sometimes I would find they were thinking to themselves that I was just finding blame. Not that I was blaming, but that is what people would hear. Sharing details about what was happening in my relationship, financial pressures, life pressures and self esteem all seemed to provide confusion rather than clarity to people. One of my friends even said to me
“ Yes, but you did it!”
“Wow” I thought “You don’t get it at all!”
We live in a society that is always looking for the smoking gun. If something bad happens in our world, then everyone is up in arms wanting to know – Who is to blame? There was no ONE thing that led me to my self loathing and self destructive path, but a detailed fabric of circumstances and emotions and a total loss of connection with myself. Reaching out for help and it not working, removed hope. Then fear, shame and stigma kept me there.
So once again it is not about blaming it is about understanding. It is important to spend the time to reconnect with yourself in order to understand everything that has been in your life, from a learning perspective. This removes the emotion out of it. Emotions are usually responsible for blame.
The key is to reclassify the past as a learning library of your life, where you can look at parts, learn from the lesson of that time and increase your self knowledge. You can then return it to the shelf. It is NOT endless files of shame and regret that we have to carry around on our backs for the rest of our life. Our past can have as much influence on our future as we give it. “Once an addict always an addict” is the worst kind of mentality and it systematically removes hope from humans all over the world. I am living proof this is wrong. I believe in human restoration.
I meet people all the time that say “I have an addictive personality “ like its only a matter of time before my “drug” of choice claims me. This is not OK. No one’s demise is ever a foregone conclusion, yet I meet people who exist, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know, because I was one of those people. I lived day to day expecting that I would disappointment everyone I loved once again. I didn’t want to exist like that. I couldn’t. I had lost hope of a bright future ever being part of my story. It took me to the edge, the very edge. The only reason I am still here right now is that my pregnancy prevented me from taking that final step.
So let’s change the vernacular from ‘addictive personality’ to I’m a sensitive person who needs to feel better. If a person is not self aware and practicing self care, then the the outcome is destructive rather than productive. The brain science of this response is either emotional and reactive or rationally and intentional.
We need to more widely accept:
- That the model of band-aiding people is not working.
- That only focussing on the end by – product of the pain that the individual is experiencing is not enough.
- That education of how to sustainably live in this overwhelming society needs to be given more focus, if we are to ever stop the rapidly increasing flow of adults and children into addictive and destructive behaviours.
We are humans and we need a human response to this, not judgement. We need to create HOPE and facilities that help people to become fully restored. There is so much that I am grateful for. The self knowledge I gained as a result of my recovery process is the greatest gift of my addiction. It is one of the vital elements of a successful recovery and incredibly essential to my total restoration. Blame and the emotions that go with it, keep a person trapped and often enable justification of unhelpful coping methods.
So it is not about blame it’s about understanding and increased self knowledge.
I was a human being in pain and chose an unproductive way of coping. This is what The HOPE Project is trying to address. Its aim to help re-educate people in an effective, sustainable and achievable way of living day to day. It hopes to humanise the struggle so people can identify, understand and shift to a path of clarity -out of the fog of coping.
From surviving to thriving.