Time To Stop Blaming and Beating Ourselves Up

After a presentation I did earlier this week I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful, loving Mom, who sadly has  a son drug addicted.  She was in the depths of self-blame.

You know what that feels like.  I know what that feels like.  We have been there so many times.  As parents we blame ourselves.  It’s  that parent guilt.  I more often call it “mother guilt”.  And if you are a Mom, you know exactly what I am talking about.

We are so sure that we must have done something wrong.  That somehow we failed as a parent.  We go through what I refer to as the “if onlys”  – “if only I had done this”, “if only I had done that”, “if only I had said no”, “if only we hadn’t moved”.    We start to second guess every decision we ever made thinking that perhaps that is what lead to our loved one becoming drug addicted.

It really is time to stop blaming and beating ourselves up.

Could we have done some things differently in our lives?   Of course  we could have.  We are human.  We are a work in progress.  We did the best we could, with what we knew,  at a given time.  But did we cause our child to become drug addicted?  Absolutely not!!

You did not cause the disease of addiction and you cannot cure it. And you have to stop blaming yourself.  It is time to be kind to yourself.  Stop beating yourself up thinking you caused this. You didn’t.  Sadly,  you have a loved one with the disease of addiction.  That propensity was there before they tried that first time.  That first time, in a sense “awakened the beast”.

When we have a loved one addicted, we often spend our days in an environment where the unpredictable is predictable, if that makes sense.

We try and do our best every single day without a mean bone in our body and with only true heart at work trying to guide our loved one, trying to keep our family together, trying to understand, trying to help  – and most of the time, hopefully, we get it right.  But we are human.  Sometimes we don’t. So we have to accept where we could have done things differently.  Not given money.  Not paid the rent. Perhaps not believed the story you were told.  It is time to move on – stop blaming yourself.  Move on knowing that next time will be handled differently.

We have to be open or we don’t grow.  We are all works in progress. Every act, every decision we make is a chance for growth and a chance to do  things differently, do better next time.

And, there will be a next time,  because sadly,  that is the environment we have been thrown into when we have a loved one drug addicted. But next time is the opportunity to handle things differently.  And that is a positive lesson.

I had another mom mention her son’s  troubling behavior.

Sometimes unknown to us, our loved one may be in a psychotic state – and when we are dealing with someone in drug induced psychosis, they are so positive what they are saying is correct that we can be convinced there has to be something to it.  In their mind what they are feeling, what they are seeing is real to them. And because it is so real to them, their pleas for help are so convincing,  we sometimes wonder if it is in fact real.

In their drug induced psychosis, those addicted often believe people are after them.  Everything is at a much more heightened level.  At that time there is no way of bringing your loved one down – bringing that psychosis to a manageable level.  Sadly drug induced psychosis just doesn’t work that way.  De-escallation only occurs with time or with medical intervention.  In drug induced psychosis, they are unable to think.  They just react.  Again, where the unpredictable is predictable. It is the affects of the drugs.  It is the nature of the beast.

So we try and do the best we can.  Sometimes it works out for the best and sometimes it goes astray.  We can beat ourselves up but that does no good.  We did what we did with the best of intentions and it went astray.  We have to accept that and know we will try and do better next time and that is all we can do.  To beat ourselves up only “beats ourselves up”!!  It doesn’t change anything.  Next time we may consider other options.

What I know my friend, is that we try and do the best we can in every situation.  You are doing absolutely everything you can think of to help pull your loved one out of the bowels of addiction.  Sometimes our  decisions, our actions are right.  Sometimes they’re not.  We can’t take it personally –  addiction is a ruthless enemy – it tricks our loved one’s thinking – but we learn – and we will try differently next time.  And will we make mis-steps again?  Of course we will but we will keep trying and hopefully most of the time we get it right.

Remember your loved one is being held hostage by the drugs he or she is addicted to.  You are being held hostage to their behavior.  The love a Mother has for her child is unlike any other connection on earth.  It will defy everything.  It is real.  It is pure. And know you are doing the very best you can.

And I want to leave you with a thought – because we know we live in a world where sometimes people can be unkind.   Where people can judge our loved ones harshly.  Remember, we may not be able to change the views of everyone.  We cannot change the world.  But we each have that one voice, that if we speak up, perhaps, just perhaps, we can change even one person’s viewpoint and soften one person’s heart.  Addiction is a horrific disease that devastates the lives of those who loved them. And we will continue to love the people we do.  We may not be able to change our loved ones situation but deep down they know, we love them.  That we “see” them.  That we want their lives to be whole because of our deep love for them.

Take care my Friend and I wish you a peaceful weekend.

Much love,




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