If you love an alcoholic then you have played the blame game. If you are still letting this game upset you to the point where you actually believe the vile they spew at you then you haven’t learned to play the game right! Until you do learn to play the alcoholic blame game, which is a normal portion of alcoholic behavior, their addiction will harm you just as much as it harms them and sometimes even more!
Let’s define the blame game that is such an enormous portion of alcoholic behavior. This is when you are having a conversation with an alcoholic and you end up getting the blame for deterioration of the relationship between you, the alcoholic behavior itself and even the behavior of other people who have had to deal with the alcoholic behavior. That’s right, in that moment when alcoholic behavior is focusing on blaming someone else, you are all powerful! But don’t get too excited because you only get the credit for all the horrible things in the alcoholic’s life, not the positive aspects. Anything from your past can and will be thrown in your face and every defect of the relationship with the alcoholic will be put on your shoulders as if instead of them going out of their way in their alcoholic behavior to obtain the alcohol and consume it, you had duct taped them to a chair, inserted a funnel into their mouth and started pouring the alcohol!
Let me make something clear. I have treated alcoholics for their addiction. I have lived with them, loved them, comforted them, been rejected by them and cried buckets of tears over their pain and the pain they have caused others, including me. Out of all the addicts that I have worked with, not one of them didn’t at some point put the blame on someone else. Alcoholics just happened to be the most unpleasant about it, without fail.
So how do you win the blame game? You love this alcoholic, but the alcoholic behavior is slowly making you begin to wonder why YOU don’t take up drinking yourself! The alcoholic behavior may have even led to the alcoholic asking you when you are going to start cutting them down for specific behaviors or flaws about them that you never even mentioned! When you don’t do this, they get even angrier and start digging in your past and picking out mistakes and flaws that you gave up long ago! As the alcoholic behavior leads on a downward spiral in communication, they just drink more, feel less and lucky you..they pass that pain right on to you. Wasn’t that generous of them? Of course in the end, that too will be your fault because you just shouldn’t have been breathing in that particular space at that particular time. You are overwhelmed by the power you didn’t even know you had!
Back to the question..how do you win? My first suggestion is, don’t play. Accept the fact that those shafts of pain that are the result of the alcoholic behavior are going to lead to your being rejected in the end. You will be hurt like never before because you have given them the ammunition to hurt you when you empathized with them over their pain. You think they know you love them because you have been the rock they lean on. The problem is, they don’t and can’t love you because they have the ultimate lover in alcohol. As soon as you realize that the focus of compassion is continuously going one way and the blame is going the other, you may open your eyes. You may in fact say something like “Hey..I know I have made mistakes, but the fact is I made changes to combat the mistakes in my life. Is there any hope of that in your near future?”
Be prepared, because this is usually the point when the alcoholic behavior changes from slightly irrational to completely over the edge. How dare you ask them to change? The next round of alcoholic behavior will without a doubt consist of the alcoholic listing every way that they are better than you. The amazing part is that the alcoholic behavior leads them to tell you this with a straight face as they stumble to the bathroom for the 11th time in the past hour! Oh yea, good times.
When you get tired of being on the losing end of the blame game, you will simply realize that #1 No you aren’t to blame for the alcoholic behavior. #2 Yes, you have made your own mistakes and are doing something about them and #3 You can’t possibly be blamed for how everyone else sees the alcoholic behavior, even if you did tell them about it! You weren’t the one causing the alcoholic behavior to exist in the first place. In the end, realize that it’s alright for you to say something along the lines of “I know I have made my own mistakes and part of those mistakes were made by sticking around to enable you by being your sounding board, shoulder to lean on, caretaker and one who loved you no matter what horrible things you’ve done. But now, it’s time for me to repair that particular mistake by walking away from this alcoholic behavior that is taking my sanity apart in various doses. It’s time to end this game. Good luck to you. I love you and because of that I simply can’t be a part of this self destruction you have going on. So, you can either look in the mirror at who is really to blame for your misery or find someone else to play this game.”