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No Fault, No Blame, No Excuse: Living Responsibly

No Fault, No Blame, No Excuse: Living Responsibly

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No Fault, No Blame, No Excuse: Living Responsibly

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Apr 25, 2014


This is an account of the authors work with addicted clients and their codependent families in recovery from addiction, as well as an exploration of the excessive shame, guilt, fault, blame, and excuses that go along with it. What worked for them can surely apply to us all, even if our stories might not be quite as extreme.

Tell me a story is not just for children to say. Read these stories for yourself, and appreciate the wisdom and guidance that can come from practical application of truth that fits everyones story. In the beginning was the Word, was said by the Apostle John, as the opening statement in his record of the Christ. In the beginning was the Story would not be a bad translation either.

Apr 25, 2014

Sobre el autor

Rev. Cliff Bond, MDiv, LCAC, attended two years at Northwest Missouri State University and then two years at Calvary Bible College in the early 1960s before serving as a pastor from 1966 until 1977. He returned to school, completing his BA at Baker University in 1978. He earned his MDiv in pastoral care and counseling from Emory University Candler School of Theology in 1981. After a year of advanced CPE in Kansas City, Cliff worked as a hospital chaplain in Topeka, Kansas, from 1984 until 2006. After working four years as a hospice chaplain, he currently serves part-time as a cancer center chaplain and clinical addiction counselor in the Topeka area, where he lives with his wife, Carol. Visit him online at blessingsonyourjourney.com.

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No Fault, No Blame, No Excuse - Cliff Bond

No Fault,

No Blame, No Excuse

Living Responsibly


Copyright © 2014 Cliff Bond.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

WestBow Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

WestBow Press

A Division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403


1 (866) 928-1240

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4908-3442-9 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4908-3443-6 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4908-3441-2 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2014906971

WestBow Press rev. date: 04/24/2014





Chapter 1: Finding the Truth

Chapter 2: Do You Want To Be Healed?

Chapter 3: Believing a Lie

Chapter 4: Lost and Found

Chapter 5: Protecting Children

Chapter 6: Childhood Memories

Chapter 7: Family Systems

Chapter 8 Throwing Stones

Chapter 9: The Three Commandments

Chapter 10: Are You Thirsty?

Chapter 11: God’s Name

Chapter 12 Making Wine

Chapter 13 An Important Issue

Chapter 14: Wrestling With God

Chapter 15: Balanced Living

Chapter 16: Working a Spiritual Program

Chapter 17: What Did You Say?

Chapter 18: Freedom Is Not Always Free

Chapter 19: Seeing Our Blindness

Chapter 20: Hitting Bottom

Chapter 21: Success and Failure

Chapter 22: Prophets and Demons

Chapter 23: Finding Forgiveness

Chapter 24: Making Excuses

Chapter 25: What Forgiveness is Not

Chapter 26: Insanity

Chapter 27: Feeling Bad, Feeling Good

Chapter 28: Losing What Really Matters

Chapter 29: Being Perfect

Chapter 30 No Matter Where You Go, There You Are


For Suggested Reading



It is to the many men and women who went far beyond fault or blame, and avoided excuses altogether in their recovery from addiction, that this book is dedicated.

One young man stands out. He completed inpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation and spent twenty-eight days in group and individual sessions, admitting what he had done wrong in his life. He even went so far as to admit the exact nature of his wrongs to me (the chaplain) in an individual Fifth Step session. Several months after completing treatment, he returned to my office, saying he didn’t come completely clean about his past, because of illegal activities he had been afraid to admit, since he had never been caught. Now, however, he wanted to admit those wrongs in a kind of Fifth Step extension, and then make whatever amends needed to be made to those he wronged. He asked me if he should turn himself in to the authorities and face whatever punishment was levied by the court. I said this was his decision, not mine, and there were several possible ways to make amends, up to and including turning himself in to the legal authorities. Those possible options were described and discussed in detail. The client eventually accepted this feedback and left my office.

Several years went by. One day he stopped by my office to visit. He had recently been released from prison. When I asked what happened, he said, I decided to turn myself in and do my time. I was impressed. This young man’s decision wasn’t about fault, blame or excuse but about responsible choice. He was not trapped or forced into a confession. He could have chosen another option. There was no element of shame or of making excuses. He found that middle road and that golden rule. (No fault, no blame, no excuse.)


It comes as no surprise to hear that United States citizens live in a culture that depends heavily upon the courtroom, judges, juries, and lawyers for its function. Litigation is a way of life. We extol the rights of the individual to a level that amounts to a nearly religious zeal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in our society, a person who burns themselves with a cup of hot coffee from a fast food restaurant, can sue the corporation because there wasn’t a warning on the cup saying they might be burned. The victim can then win that lawsuit and be awarded a substantial compensation. The fault is levied upon the food chain; they are to blame, and the innocent consumer is excused from being responsible. Fault and blame are part of the very fabric of our existence. So, what is wrong with that? Don’t we have a right to know whose fault it is, who is to blame, and who, then, can be excused?

Anarchy is not the only possible outcome when fault and blame are avoided. It is possible to live in a society where a bit less emphasis on fault and blame can still result in a healthy respect for law, order, and responsibility. It is not always necessary to know the answer to the question Whose fault is it? Sometimes it is not even possible to know that answer, yet we can still maintain personal or group accountability, and responsibility.

I’ve interviewed and counseled thousands of individuals and families since 1982 in my capacity as clinical chaplain and addiction counselor. It is my observation that too heavy a reliance on fault or blame in relationships results in a reactionary formation of excuse making, as well as an undercurrent of shame. In the legal system there will always need to be an element of fault or blame. But even here, an unsavory result of excessive fault or blame takes the form of punishment, rather than consequences or rehabilitation. That being said, the solution is not to go to the destructive opposite by making excuses for bad behaviors that take away the freedoms essential to a free society. It is imperative that No Fault be balanced against No Excuse. In our society and in our families—indeed in any human relationship—there is a need for personal and corporate responsibility, with consequences that help maintain order and justice.

But, again, my belief is that too heavy a reliance upon fault and blame results in excessive excuse making and then, as a consequence, responsibility suffers far too much. So, what then would be the Golden Rule or the Middle Path that would satisfy those whose job it is to maintain law and order and also those whose task it is to restore relationships, to a healthy and functional level? It is the purpose of this book to explore some workable options, using storytelling.


It is dangerous to arrive at what some would call enlightenment or understanding. It is a trap to believe we are right and others are wrong. It is a shortsighted mistake to come too easily and too quickly to finding fault, establishing blame, and then making excuses for our own shortcomings. Arrogance and grandiosity are not fitting companions for Truth (or Justice.)

Assuming for a moment that we really do want to find that elusive Truth that is gentle and, at the same time, firm and dependable, how does one go about finding it? Truth is more than a compilation of facts or evidence, even as Peace is more than the absence of war. Perhaps Truth can be found only in relationships composed of honesty, risk, and trust. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said Truth can be told only in a relationship. (Emphasis mine) Perhaps humility is required as well. And if Truth is finally approached, a sense of awe and gratitude surrounds the one who seeks and finds there is still yet more to discover, and is therefore not discouraged. In short, the seeker becomes a character in a story, a ballad, a tale, that takes on a life of its own, and is also part of a greater Story. Therefore, this Tale will be told around stories used during my work with clients and families, in recovery from excessive shame, guilt, fault, blame, and excuse. What worked for them will surely apply to us all, even if our story might not be quite as extreme.

At the risk of offending those who do not take the Bible seriously, as well as those who believe the Bible is the only authoritative guide for life, I will choose a middle ground. I will not argue here for what I believe, or against what others believe, but instead, will let the stories speak for themselves. Evidence for Truth can take care of itself. And if it cannot—well then, perhaps it is not Truth after all!

Quotations from Scripture in this book, were not usually taken from any particular translation of the Bible, but were paraphrased by me for the audience I was speaking to. I encouraged my listeners to look it up for themselves and I let them know that what I said was my own interpretation, often based on reading the passage from many different translations. I encourage you, the reader, to do the same, using your translation of choice, if you want to research the biblical background in more depth. So, let us begin.

Cliff Bond, chaplain

Topeka, KS



A special word about my friend and editor, Morgan

Chilson. She cleaned up my manuscript without

altering my writing style. Therefore, any errors in

this book are mine, and mine alone. www.exactlywrite.net

turned what was at first a very intimidating task for me

into an extremely

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