Category Archives: denial

Personal Responsibility

“I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept
the consequences of every deed, word and thought throughout our lifetime.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004)


Anyone who sits through a few meetings will hear someone blaming their addiction (or other people) for their behavior. “My addict did this,” or “It was just my addict talking,” or “If it weren’t for my addiction, I….” or “If she hadn’t…” or “If they didn’t…” (insert appropriate whine).

Our attitudes are often the same regarding those whose social behavior fails to meet our standards. Perhaps we believe they have mistreated us or a loved one. Perhaps we believe they should know better, based on our underestanding of our reality. And do we get pissed off when they fail to apologize or make restitution in some way? Of course we do! We demand that they accept the responsibility for their actions (judged by our standards, mind you), and that they try to make things right.

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Bitch, Whine And Debate, Or Experience, Strength And Hope?

Note: These comments are not meant to apply to
newcomers or people in crisis.


I get really annoyed at meetings when the discussion veers to subjects that have nothing to do with recovery. I’m perfectly willing to admit that the irritation is my problem, but this is my blog and I’m going to discuss it anyway.  :-p

The other night I was at a meeting where the chair asked for a topic, and one of our more “intellectual” members raised a hand and commenced a five-minute dissertation on how they didn’t understand why we say in the rooms that it takes an addict to really understand an addict, why they shouldn’t just be able to speak openly about their addiction to any friend and get useful feedback, etc. They used the words obviously, clearly and in my opinion a lot. This sort of thing does nothing to promote discussion about recovery; it merely exercises the ego of the speaker.

Our fellowships are not debating societies. They are about getting a sponsor, developing a support system, working the steps and practicing the 12 principles* in our daily lives. If I want to bitch, whine or debate, I need to do it outside a meeting with my sponsor or a support, not hijack a meeting with subjects that have little or nothing to do with the process of recovery. Better yet, at whatever point in recovery I may be, I need to remember that I’m the problem, and projecting my complaints onto other people or ideas is not conducive to a genuine pursuit of sobriety.

Maybe that’s what I’m doing now: projecting my issues.

Or maybe not.

* 12 Principles? What 12 principles?

None Of My Business (Revised)

SerenityBecause I talk to folks about recovery a lot, I run across issues with self-esteem (in addition to my own). It’s not unusual to find situations where someone is obsessed with a remark they heard and blew all out of proportion by projecting their own fear onto it. Often these are comments that the offended party perceived to be “rude” and regarding which they believe that they are entitled to an apology. (Translation: “My self-esteem is damaged and I have to shore it up in any way possible without threatening it any further, therefore it’s the other person’s job to fix it.”)

I try to point out that everyone is rude on occasion, for a variety of reasons, and that even though some people behave like jackasses a good deal of the time it doesn’t mean that we have to give their remarks any more than minimal weight. I often mention that what other people think, even about us, is really none of our business. That doesn’t usually penetrate far, at least at first.

I’ve seen this a lot over the years. Some folks just don’t understand that (a.) we can’t control what people think about us, or what information about their lives they choose to share with us; (b.) that those things really are none of our business; and that (c.) we aren’t “entitled” to anything, outside of a legal framework. Our entitlements are strictly in our own heads. You get a lot of push-back when you say that to folks, but consider . . . Continue reading