Communication Goals in Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment
Maintaining sobriety takes much more than refraining from drug or alcohol use. It takes recognizing the underlying problem that caused an individual to seek release from drugs. Also, it takes repairing damaged relationships and implementing lifestyle changes to encourage positive growth without the hindrance of addiction after treatment ends. One of the positive lifestyle changes to implement post alcohol and drug addiction treatment is to practice encouraging and supportive communication. Developing a new method of communication will help a person struggling with addiction to handle conflict in relationships and can also help family members of the addicted learn to relate to their loved one in recovery.
Why do Addicted Individuals Need to Work on Communication?
Each person’s addiction affects them differently, but there is a pattern amongst people in alcohol or drug addiction treatment that have difficult with proper communication. Issues that affect positive communication for those in addiction recovery include:
- Low Self Esteem
- Shame and guilt
- Passive-aggressive response
- Neglect of proper boundaries
- Perfectionist mentality
Active Listening in Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment
Arguably, one of the most imperative aspects of any communication is listening. If you are not listening during a conversation, you are only there to speak your own opinion and feelings. While this may seem helpful, it shows no empathy toward the individual you are addressing. Repeating what others said or actively reassuring the speaker to encourage more response are examples of active listening techniques. When engaging in conversation, instead of thinking of a response while the other person is talking, actually listen to what that person is saying. This will assure that your response is genuine and give the other person confirmation that you actually care and are listening to what they have to say.
Learning to be Assertive
Many individuals that are learning how to communicate effectively in alcohol and drug addiction recovery have had problems with others manipulating them in the past. These individuals can benefit from learning how to be assertive. This means approaching others with honesty and proper boundaries. Doing this will allow the recovering individual to be prepared for the outcome of any conversation they have to partake in. This also decreases the possibility of misunderstandings and the opportunity for others to take advantage of the individual.
Understanding Body Language
Sometimes communication doesn’t involve words at all. Others can pick up on how you feel just by how you hold yourself. Make sure to practice positive body language to get the right point across in any situation involving others.
Environment and Guidance
If you ever feel pressured or anxious about having a conversation with someone, to prevent unnecessary stress that may lead to relapse in early recovery you should consider your environment. If you know that a conversation is likely to become tense, select an environment that will promote soothing feelings to help you and the other individual relax. Think before speaking so that you do not say anything rash, and remember to practice active listening. If you still feel unsure about a conversation, it may be best to have it in front of a professional like a counselor or therapist so that they can keep the conversation on track and on a positive note.