When struggling with substance abuse, it’s tempting to feel like the victim. Things are rough. Your life is probably in shambles. Your loved ones have likely distanced themselves from you. Things are falling apart.
The question is – how do you respond?
It’s Not My Fault…
Do you blame everyone and everything for the circumstances you’ve created? Do you off-load the blame for your chemical dependency on others? Do you do the hard work of making change or remain stuck in self-pity?
Playing the victim allows you to get the attention you seek; it allows you to control others, avoid responsibility and growth, and justify your behavior. The problem is, it doesn’t work forever. Eventually, your loved ones catch on. Stay in this role long enough, and you’ll likely find yourself alone.
So, how do you break out of this role? It will take time, effort, and personal growth – but it is absolutely possible. To launch your break out of victimhood, start with these steps:
Get Outside Your Own Head
As a victim, your default setting is self-centered thinking. How does this affect me? How do I feel? What can I get out of this? What am I going to do next (or what is going to happen to me next)? Start thinking of others. Consider how others feel – how things affect them. Change the direction of your conversations so that you are asking for others’ thoughts and feelings, rather than always sharing your own.
Change Your Auto-Response
What do you say when someone asks how things are going? More importantly, what do you think? To get out of the victim mentality, alter any negative self-talk and change your responses. Say, “Life is good.” Tell yourself, “Things are looking up.” Focus on the good parts of your day. Remind yourself of victories, no matter how small.
Do you need to apologize for something you said or did? Do it. And, don’t add a “but” on the end. No excuses. Take responsibility for what you did. Own it. Apologize. Make any amends necessary. And move on.
It’s hard to stay focused on yourself, your wounds, and your own “victimhood” when you’re serving others. Whether it’s formalized or casual, find ways to make an impact in others’ lives. Check into community organizations. Find a local church or spiritual center. Ask your family and friends how you can help them this week.
Focus on Long-Term Consequences
Victims are focused on their short-term needs. I want something and I want it now. I will bully and manipulate whomever I need to in order to get it. This kind of thinking has to change. Start thinking more long-term. Delaying gratification is a sign of maturity. It involves a bigger perspective and healthier responses. It results in better choices for a brighter long-term future.
Additional Reading: 10 Ways Drug Abuse Hurts You and Those Around You
Image Source: iStock