The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your identity. -Albert Ellis
These wise words, written by one of the more honest and ornery grandfathers of modern psychotherapy, remind us that contentment comes when we stop blaming others. Blaming others is a way of avoiding responsibility for what is happening in our lives. Blame is a handy tool because it removes us from the burden of responsibility, but it also keeps us in a position of powerlessness over any potential solution. One of the most important aspects of emotional health, though, is the proper understanding of what is and what is not actually our responsibility. With practice, we can become very effective at coming to this understanding more and more quickly. With this important awareness comes the ability to apply our energy to life in an effective way. When we can become truly effective in our lives, then we can begin to actually feel less powerless and obviously less ineffective. Finally, as we feel less powerless and ineffective, there becomes less need for the emotional escape that addictions attempt to provide.