It’s a fundamental problem caused by our addiction. I might call it the excuse barrier. It’s a shifter – a shifter of blame, a shifter of fessing up, always blaming something else, or denying our perhaps long-term history of drunkenness. Did we really give the family or our kids or our employer our best? Some say the most damage is done to ourselves. We ignore honesty with ourselves. Oh, we may see some difficulties the morning-after. We may even cry and ask ourselves “Why do I continue riding this merry-go-round?” But that temporary immature childish self-pity is temporary. With the first reach for the bottle or the drug, poof, any slight vestige of responsibility disappears. We become children again. All we wish for is the silence of those around us who may once in a while “call us” on our alcoholic conduct and we respond with the usual: “I’m stressed. It was a mistake. I couldn’t sleep last night and that one drink threw me back into that old “Substance Briar Patch.” The worst excuse we may use is, “I don’t know what happened – been going to an AA meeting but it doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not as bad as some of those people. This time I’ll really try”
The addict has developed over the years his or her own defenses and usually has a protective “think skin.” He has been through this before and knows what defense works. Often, the family contributes to the problem – covering up and enabling you to continue, not forcing you to take responsibility until an ultimatum is presented. There’s no progress until the family takes responsibility for its non-actions or its silence or its cover-up. It’s a poison stew overcooking a bit more each day the conduct continues, and the family can’t take it anymore and the stew boils over. In some sense, the addict is a coward, pure and simple. Perhaps so is the family or the employer. Everyone avoids facing the addiction, erecting their own barriers to block it out. Each member of the family retreats into their own self for maybe each has found a way to ignore or block-out or forget or excuse the addict’s conduct. Learning to get away from the fear of the worst happening to the addict, or the embarrassment suffered from the drunken conduct of the alcoholic, who in desperation cries out: “I’m really going to try this time to take responsibility and work the Steps ... I really mean it.”
The result is sadly usually the same if that is the only commitment the alcoholic makes.
“There’s no trying, only doing”.
Jim A./Covington, KY