You Cannot Overcome An Addiction/Problem Without Taking Personal Responsability.
The other night, I watched an interview about Ben Cousins – a fallen Australian Football star. He has been addicted to Methamphetamines (ice) for the past fifteen years…
At the height of his career, he seemed to have it all. He was the captain of his team, had won a Brownlow medal, and had all the fame and fortune that most only dream of.
Today, at just forty-one years of age he is broke, homeless, and has done two stints in jail. He has essentially lost the support of his family, and only has very limited access to his two young children.
I was looking forward to watching this interview, in the hope that he had finally decided to turn his life around. But, I’m afraid after watching the interview, my hope for him has faded. It was clear to me that he is nowhere near ready!
Ben was once an extremely good looking man, and I found it difficult to watch how terrible he is looking these days. His face has become old and hard, and his brain has clearly been affected from years of drug abuse. What I found even more difficult to watch was his unwillingness to be accountable for himself, his life choices, and the pain and heartache he has caused his family.
It was clear that his mindset is stuck in what I call a ‘victim’ mentality. This is when someone refuses to look at themselves and accept responsibility for their own actions – always blaming everybody else around them because it’s easier than to look at yourself.
It broke my heart to watch him trapped in this victimhood, because, I know all too well from my own addiction, that you cannot possibly move forward and overcome an addiction without being accountable for your own life choices.
With any problem in life (not just addiction), it is imperative that you understand why the problem has occurred in the first place. This understanding helps us to get to the root of the problem, which enables the self-healing to begin.
But, understanding where your problems stem from, is very different to using them as an excuse for your behaviour, or as an excuse to play the ‘victim’ in order to avoid personal responsibility.
An example of this from my own addiction: When I started my self-healing, I discovered that the unprocessed emotional pain, that led to my addiction, stemmed from three different key areas: 1.) Growing up with an alcoholic (and sometimes abusive) Father. 2.) My Dad getting cancer. 3.) Having my heart broken for the first time.
Learning this, helped me to understand where my emotional pain came from, and it made me realise that I had buried these emotions rather than face them, heal them, and let go of them. In doing so, these unprocessed emotions led me to destructive behaviours, such as, my drug addiction. But, as I mentioned before, understanding where problems stem from, is very different to using them as an excuse or a reason to blame others.
The root cause of two of my problems stemmed from CIRCUMSTANCES that involved my Father, but, that certainly does not mean that I blame him for them. I am the one who did not deal with those emotions at the time, being too young to really understand what was going on. But, as I became older, and came to understand where these problems stemmed from, it was up to me to make a choice.
I could either learn to understand the complexities of my emotional pain, take one hundred per cent accountability for them, and hence, free myself from them. Or, I could have chosen what Ben is doing right now: find the root cause of the problem, shift the blame onto everyone else – causing entrapment amongst the unprocessed emotional pain.
Ben’s Interview certainly highlighted to me: if you choose the easy road of playing the ‘victim’, you are ultimately choosing to stay living in the loneliness and misery of your addiction/problem. You cannot free yourself of an addiction/problem, if you cannot free yourself of the self-imposed ‘victimhood’!
In the beginning, it is not an easy road to face yourself and accept responsibility for your own shitty choices, but in the long run, it is the only way to set yourself free from the emotional pain of self-destruction.
I truly hope and pray that Ben Cousins realises this before it is too late. One thing I’m extremely grateful for every-single-day, is that I did – I woke up before it was too late!
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