Addiction Advice – Relapse: Avoiding the Blame Game

We are all partial to finding blame when things fall apart, but in a case of relapse back to drug and alcohol addiction, it’s very important to just take a step back and think before you speak to a loved one who has relapsed. In short, you need to neutralize your emotions and not make your loved one feel guilty or even absolve them from guilt at all.

Taking time to blame someone tends to focus the responsibility on the blamed one and not on the problem, and also focuses on the “Who did what?” as opposed to the “What do we do about it?” Blame also implies a desire or sense to punish someone and by doing so there is a missed opportunity to resolve the problem, or identify the trigger that led to the relapse. The worst part is that the conflict remains the focus instead of finding a solution.

Here are two addiction advice tips to help avoid the blame game.

  • If the relapsed addict is feeling guilty then that’s probably a good thing. Typically this guilt means they’ll do whatever it takes to stay sober again. They’ll often dig a bit deeper to discover what triggered their relapse and avoid that situation (people, places and things). So, don’t try to remove the addict’s guild or anxiety.
  • If the relapsed addict doesn’t feel guilty then it won’t be helpful to force him or her to feel guilty. When we try to make someone feel guilty about anything it is usually about ourselves, like, ‘look what you’ve done to me.’ Pointing it out his way is not a way to get the relapsed addict to seek treatment.

Do you have any helpful addiction advice for loved ones who have relapsed?

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