701, 2020

Taking Responsibility for our Harmful Behavior

Taking Responsibility for our Harmful Behavior Part One We will face many difficult tasks in the process of recovery. Life is difficult. This is the baseline from which all else follows. When we accept life for what it is, we give up fighting. We surrender and accept the extent and severity of our dilemma: we are powerless over alcohol and other drugs and our life has become unmanageable. When we surrender, we develop a belief that we can find a better way of life, [...]

701, 2020

The Tit-for-Tat Mentality

The Tit-for-Tat Mentality Part Two Let’s explore the psychology underlying the difficulty of personal responsibility for alcoholics and addicts. Most alcoholics and addicts have developed extensive psychological mechanisms to avoid and deflect taking personal responsibility. One tried-and-true approach is the tit-for-tat mentality. The tit-for-tat mentality is typical with couples in the early stages of recovery. The addict’s role in this destructive pattern of communication is to justify all of his or her behavior, blaming the rotten behavior on the spouse. “I wouldn’t act this way [...]

701, 2020

The Houdini Maneuver

The Houdini Maneuver Part Three Another powerful way addicts avoid taking responsibility for unhealthy behavior is what I call the Houdini maneuver. While the tit-for-tat mentality justifies hurtful behavior because “You made me treat you this way because of how you behaved,” the Houdini approach is more sophisticated. This technique is designed to create an illusion by instilling confusion and doubt in the person with whom we are interacting. Doubt and confusion are created by challenging the other person’s reality at every turn of the [...]

701, 2020

Facing Our Shame

Facing Our Shame Part Four Now that we are aware of some of the ways we avoid personal responsibility, I want to spend the remainder of this chapter discussing what it means to truly make amends to our partner or our family. When we finally face the reality of how we have behaved, we see that we have spiritually wounded those people we love the most. This is not easy because it means facing a part of ourselves that we are ashamed of: the despised [...]

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