When accusations started flying in the comments, Sexton quickly and directly pointed out that her boyfriend's ability to stay sober had little to do with her. Sexton wrote:
"I love to drink and party! Absolutely dude. Most 22 year olds do… [Does it] mean i would disrespect someone’s hard earned sobriety by drinking with them or in front of them? Hell no… Ben is a grown ass man, baby. He makes his own decisions. Blaming a 22 year old for someone’s 3rd time in rehab is just ridiculous...He is human. I am human. You are human. We all are going to f**k up it’s just a matter of learning from it. Don’t be so quick to throw shade on people. Take a step back, accept that we are all on our own journey, and be a little less critical."
So where does the compulsion come from, to hold responsible anyone other than the dead celebrity in question? The root of it is in the public's great sense of personal attachment to famous people, especially musicians. Pointing the finger at someone else means propelling our own sadness out and away from us. Therapist Patrick Wanis told Shape magazine that: “We grieve them … because we feel they can no longer continue to contribute to our lives—we have lost out on their next musical creation.”
The other factor is an unwillingness to blame the deceased person themselves, for being gone too soon. No one wishes to speak ill of the dead, so we absolve them of responsibility and shift blame to the next nearest living person.
What the blame game ignores, of course, is just how complex addiction is. The causes of drug and alcohol dependency differ wildly depending on the individual. As the Center on Addiction points out: "Addiction disrupts regions of the brain that are responsible for reward, motivation, learning, judgment and memory." Relapses can be caused by anything and nothing. And for partners living with an addict, there is no perfect way of dealing with it. If they exercise tough love and leave, they are accused of abandonment. If they stay, they are accused of enabling. It's a no-win position to be in.
One thing to keep in mind is that the only person that can keep an addict sober is the addict themselves. Assistance can come from sponsors, organizations and, yes, partners. But if it feels too uncomfortable to pass judgment on the addict, it should feel just as unjust to direct it at their loved ones. In the end, Mac Miller didn't die because Ariana Grande broke up with him; Mac Miller died because he had a disease.