Don’t buy into the blame game from the addict in your life

The blame game doesn’t just happen to celebrity and high profile families. It happens every day, too many times a day. The celebrity status of this story can promote hope and healing for families of addicts. You are not to blame! Talk about it, get help for yourself! Know someone who needs to talk about it? There’s help, there’s hope, there’s a plan.

From the Huffington Post:

Madonna’s Homeless Brother Says She ‘Doesn’t Give A Sh-t If I’m Dead Or Alive’

Madonna may be a billionaire now, but she’s reportedly not worried about her brother’s well-being.

The 54-year-old singer’s homeless brother Anthony Ciccone has spoken out about his famous sister, claiming that she doesn’t care whether he lives or dies.

Ciccone, who is an alcoholic and lives on the streets of North Michigan, tells the Daily Mail that Madonna “doesn’t give a sh-t if I’m dead or alive. She lives in her own world.”

“I never loved her in the first place, she never loved me,” he adds, “We never loved each other.”

It was first reported that Ciccone lived under a bridge in Traverse City, Mich., 16 months ago after he revealed that he had been homeless for over a year. In October 2011, he told the Daily Mail that he lost his job at the family’s winery due to his alcohol addiction and that neither his father nor Madonna had done anything to help him get back on his feet. And it appears his story hasn’t changed.

“My father would be very happy if I died of hypothermia and then he would not have to worry about it anymore. He’s old school, he grew up in the depression,” Ciccone explains to the Daily Mail of his dad Tony Ciccone, continuing, “He doesn’t want to be bothered, he’s lived his life you see. He doesn’t like me. He doesn’t want me to be me, he wants me to be somebody else. He thinks the way I live is intentional. He simply doesn’t know me.”

Still, Ciccone’s refusal to accept that he has a drinking problem seems to be the root of the issue. A family friend Kathy Meteyer said Madonna’s father and stepmother Joan were distressed by her brother’s actions.

“He just can’t come back until he stops drinking, because they think it will kill him, it already kind of has,” Meteyer admits to the Daily Mail. “They have helped him so many times. Tony has put him through rehab and given him lots of chances. I think Madonna paid for rehab a few times. The alcohol has taken over his brain.”

But Ciccone says he won’t seek treatment because he doesn’t think he needs it.

“I’m a human being, you can call me what you want. [Alcoholic] is a label, I don’t like it. I don’t need brain surgery, I merely need love and care of family and friends,” he explains.

“[I got] no family back up, when the chips fell, no family back-up,” he adds. “I’d rather be working. What would you do under these circumstances when your family has stood against you completely?” “

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  1. What a sad situation. But if he refuses help, what can the family do? It seems to me that he wants them to accept and enable him. And it appears that this isn’t going to happen. He wants people to feel sorry for him, but that goes out the door when everything that has happened is because of his own actions.

    • Yes Angie, that’s my point. His way is not working, yet he wants to tell others how to help him. If he feels unloved,
      it is likely his own perception that love equals enabling. thanks for commenting! Jerri

  2. It’s not just addicts that play the blame game; those with mental illness often do as well. And you have to repeatedly remind yourself that it’s NOT your fault. They MUST take responsibility for their behaviors, or they won’t get anywhere in life. Continuing to accept the blame doesn’t do you or anyone any good at all.

    Lesson learned the hard way from being married to a man with Borderline Personality Disorder, as well as addictions.

    • Yes Gwynne, keep reminding yourself! And thanks for mentioning that the blame game happens in the mental health area also.
      I often have to work with families to learn to set boundaries around compliance with medication and treatment. They need
      support to learn how to do this and stay strong, as you well know. The blame game can happen in any situation, but is it so
      amplified and even more painful in the addiction/mental health arena. J

  3. Wow, this was a powerful story to share especially since it’s so high profile. I think there’s a lot in here that a lot of families can relate to on so many levels.

    It reminds me of a former boss I had whose brother was in and out of rehab. He always blamed her for his drug addiction because she didn’t care enough even though she always paid for the treatment. One day she just drew a line and stopped agreeing to pay, stopped agreeing to help. I know it was painful for her and it turned some family members against her, but I can understand why. At some point you have to put forth healthy boundaries and stop helping people who can’t help themselves.

    • Yes, it’s not just our personal lives, but our business and work lives that can be affected by the addiction of someone we love. Your boss did the hard but right thing! Detaching with love means not taking emotional or financial responsibility for someone else’s addictive behaviors and consequences.

  4. It starts with yourself. You can blame everything and everyone- but until you take a GOOD look at yourself and start wanting to change – it’s not going to change.

    • Yes Denys, beautifully said. In my experience working with addicts/alcoholics and their familes, nearly 25 years, there is only one factor that determines success: the desire to get and stay clean. It’s not magic, there’s work to do, but that’s the mindset that the successful have.

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