During discussions with individuals (friends/relatives) who are addicted to one substance or another, they often state their main gripe, which is this: "It is my life, so why doesn't everyone leave me alone and let me live it the way I want to?" Good point - or so it would appear.
My response is, "if you want everyone to leave you alone, then you should live a hermit's life." When they ask why, here is what I tell them. "I don't bother you when you are high or drunk so you should not bother me when you are high or drunk either. The next time you are broke, homeless, in some kind of trouble (jail, bills), or need some assistance of some kind, remember you wanted people to leave you alone. You want me to leave you alone when you're high or drunk and I will, but I want you to leave me alone when the consequences of your addicted lifestyle catches up with you. For that to happen you will have to become a hermit."
My point is, when my actions impact those around me, then I am responsible for insuring those actions do not harm others, especially those who are close to me and/or love me. This is called self-responsibility.
It is quite easy to say alcoholics and drug users have no self-responsibility. Their very actions make the point for us. However, there are many of us who are not alcoholic and/or drug users that could practice more self-responsibility.
To younger people, self-responsibility would mean getting and keeping a job, a driver's license, owning a car, moving out of their parents' house, not partying all night, and practicing safe sex.
To individuals in leadership positions, self-responsibility means being honest with your constituents, making honest and courageous decisions, showing up for work every day, and treating everyone fairly.
The older I get, the more I realize how important self-responsibility is to me. Most of my adult life, it never bothered me if I went to bed around 2 or 3 in the morning. I would still get up, go to work, and be productive. The older I get, the harder I find it is to get up at the same time. I need more sleep. When I do get up early without going to bed earlier, I am pretty much useless due to being tired all day. I also am finding out I don't have the patience I used to have with the hassle caused by my irresponsibility. So to me, self-responsibility means getting to bed early enough, and getting up early, paying bills on time, keeping appointments, not making promises you have no intention of keeping (I'll call you later, let's eat lunch this week), eating more healthy foods, exercising and treating others respectfully.
Although it is possible, it is hard to reach a level of success without a high level of self-responsibility. Without self-responsibility, your life will probably be filled with all types of inconveniences caused by your irresponsibility, especially if you are in a leadership position. Successful leaders are the ones who have the respect of their workers (I said "respect" not "liked" by their workers). The quickest way to lose respect is to appear irresponsible in some aspect of your life.
I think the ultimate goal would be to teach children self-responsibility at a very early age.