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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Accepting Blame

Before I can really discuss contributing factors to alcoholism without leading anyone astray, it is important to underline an important concept of Christianity which is fundamental to the 12 Steps:

We must be prepared, under any and all conditions, to accept the blame for our actions and their consequences.

This does not mean we should agree to accept blame for what we have not done or what is not true.  This would be a prideful act to accept credit for actions we have not taken.

But, we also should not seek to minimize our own responsibility for what our thoughts and actions have caused.  We cannot blame others for 'making' us do something: we chose, and so we must accept our blame for making the choice.

There are rare instances where we are forced to do something or risk a worse outcome, but even in these cases we often feel regret because we know in our hearts that we participated in something awful.  It does not matter: we still share in the blame.

This sounds insensitive, but only if one does not believe in God.  If we believe that God is watching and thus permitted our situation to occur, then we should also remember that His mercy is great and that He can repair what we have broken and forgive us for what we have done.

The only way to receive this forgiveness is to accept the blame, to proclaim our guilt.

If we are tempted, then we cannot blame the temptation or even the tempter.  We must blame ourselves and so be forgiven by God and be healed from the wounds we have caused ourselves or others have inflicted on us.  More especially, we should pray that God heals the wounds we have caused others.

By accepting blame, we receive mercy and grace.  This path is set in motion, however, not by our own 'strength' to accept blame, but our belief that there is a loving God who will accept our repentance no matter what we have done and can heal any evil that could ever have been perpetrated.

So, if we are to discuss the temptations of demons, cultural influences, bad friends or even worse relatives, we always do so with the understanding that the recovering addict accepts full responsibility for his decisions.  He must be completely will to accept all the due blame, and this is impossible without belief in God's love and healing justice. 

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