The Role Of Blame And Forgiveness In Addiciton Recovery

BrianCubanJuly 2005. Sitting in a dimly lit room of Green Oaks Psychiatric Facility in Dallas, Texas. Dragged there kicking and screaming by my two brothers. Questions being fired at me by the intake shrink. Did I want to hurt myself? Was I suicidal? The lawyer in me knew what to say so that they could not commit me against my will

Thirty minutes before, my brothers had come into my house uninvited, interrupting my suicidal stupor, a .45 automatic cued up on the nightstand next to my bed. The three days before I had been dry firing it into my mouth to practice for that final leap into the pain relieving darkens. My pain. The pain I blamed everyone for. I blamed the shrink for trying to take my freedom away. I blamed my mother for the verbal abuse and fat shaming. In my mind she had driven me to this moment. She had created the monster I saw in the mirror every day. I blamed my brothers for not allowing me to take the path of least resistance into oblivion. I blamed the childhood bullies who has fat-teased me and physically assaulted me as a teen, ripping off my pants and throwing them into the street.

In this particular moment, the laser focus of my blame was my two brothers. Shouting. All coming from me. Finger pointing, all coming from me, as an intake shrink took notes. Never once mindful self-awareness of the fact that I was an untreated bulimic, drug addict and an alcoholic steeped in clinical depression. That was my identity. Blame was a warm blanket. So much easier then self-awareness, accountability and the terrifying fear of a new kind of pain. Recovery.

I never really realized how powerful that blame was in keeping me stagnant in my recovery until I finally hit that ultimate low point in my life standing the parking lot of the same psychiatric facility almost two years later for a second time after a two day, drug and alcohol induced blackout. Thinking to myself that I was close to losing the family that I blamed for all my woes. Not because of the blame but because those who love you may love unconditionally but there will be limits on their willingness to watch you destroy your life if you wont at least make an effort to take charge of your recovery even its it’s the tiniest step forward. That never made sense to me until that moment. It was not about blame. It was about understanding how I got to that point. Understanding that thirteen-year-old shy, bullied little boy. Understanding my mother.

I was very lucky. I have a mother who was willing to explore that with me. Many families do not have that. They have denial, continued blame and withdrawal from the pain of so many years ago. Mot wanting to open old wounds. I found that I could not explore who I was without taking a deep breath and ripping that old wound wide open. We talked. My mother explained how she was raised. Fat shaming. Excruciating verbal abuse by her mother. These were the tools she was given as a young mother of the early nineteen sixties. Her words penetrated the blame. Blame because about understanding. Understanding became about Forgiveness. Forgiveness of my mother. Forgiveness of the bullies. There was no fault. There was only life as it happens in the moment. I was no longer that thirteen-year-old boy. I was ready for the next step.


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