“Blame holds us back. Responsibility moves us forward. Constant self-blame is just as irresponsible as insisting that others are always to blame.” ~Thom Rutledge
For those of us struggling with addiction and disorder, it is not too long before we encounter blame. It is an insidious creature; it is virtually impossible to escape.
Since our addictive natures are usually heavily intertwined with other complicated life issues, like abuse and trauma, blame often surfaces as a coping device, used to enable us to simply function in our lives. Survival is as far as we can go; healthy flourishing appears to be an out of reach luxury.
Rutledge’s quote is a “no brainer,” at least, to our logical minds. It’s that emotional world, however, which trips us up and prevents us from facing, addressing and handling blame within our addictive reality, in a healthy manner.
I know this is a large chunk of the recovery work I, myself, do. And honestly, the jury’s still out on how well I am doing with it all. Objectivity is quite difficult to achieve.
But, a key factor which helps in my recovery process is that of Stewardship.
Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” 1 Corinthians 4:2
I believe we cannot even hope to attain any rung on the recovery ladder if we don’t, at least, acknowledge that blame is in the room, no matter how subtle or obvious it may be.
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10
No one is unscathed by it. It’s been there from the start. Check out the Creation Story in Genesis just to see its origins for humanity.
And, before we get too caught up in despair and discouraging feelings about blame, telling ourselves, “it’s too difficult; it cannot be done,” the challenge invites us to keep an open mind about the stewardship principle, what it is… and is not.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Stewardship is defined as…
“the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”
Again, before we get too overwhelmed, we need to recognize the absence of one particular word in that definition: perfection.
And that has been a guiding and healing recovery revelation for me: stewardship is not perfection.
That’s an important thing to remember in this addiction/recovery reality. In our human, imperfect experience, there is no such thing as perfectly healed.
The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” Proverbs 14:10
Another recovery adage I have come across as I bump along in life is this: “Hurt people hurt people.” And, of course, the emphasis here, in any recovery domain, is the necessity of forgiveness. It’s the other side of the blame coin.
We’re told over and over we cannot move forward or begin to heal if we refuse to forgive. And that includes the forgiving ourselves.
And so, the statement, “Hurt people hurt people” becomes the self-inflicted wound all too easily.
I know I may be taken to task here for being too self-indulgent when I say, for that reason alone, our choice to value better stewardship of the blame issue is to our individual advantage.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
We need to get downright mercenary with our stance on it. We need to take that approach because it is, indeed, the most personal.
Everyone else aside, recovery and blame issues ultimately reside solely within each of us. And, no matter how we may try, we still cannot escape ourselves.
And, one more thing concerning stewardship as a treatment to the addiction/blame factor: it is the opportunity for us to use our gifts.
I direct you to the passage of Matthew 25:20-21…
“And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”
I know it may be an extreme stretch here, but if we view our addiction struggles through the filter of being gifted with talents, the stewardship principle takes on an even more personal and meaningful tone. Our recovery is, in fact, the significant soul work we need to do to better ourselves- and others.
Maybe we can even see the resemblance to our Savior’s Gethsemane moment. No, we wouldn’t choose this pain for ourselves; likewise, our Savior, Himself, even tried to bargain against HIS purpose.
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
Nevertheless, we have the lives and the struggles we have. So, the question remains: what are we going to do about that?
The Most High never placed any limits on the promise of 2 Corinthians 3:18:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
A transformation process is in effect.
We are different today than we were yesterday.
And tomorrow, we be different than today.
Blame – of anyone, including ourselves, curtails the full potential of our glory transformation process. Blame does not benefit us. Yes, pain happened to us; injustice happened to us. And it terrible and agonizing. But it is not unique.
…time and chance happeneth to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:1
So, if we can challenge our thinking about the blame issue, taking on stewardship concerning even it, perhaps, we can view it as part of the deeper spiritual work which has been entrusted to us.
That’s right, I said entrusted.
Addiction – pain – blame – the stewardship principle itself – ALL entrusted to you and I right now.
What are we going to do with that?