Communication is important in any relationship, personal, with the self, and working.
To listen is to give your complete attention to what someone is saying, as well as what someone is not saying. People speak through more than their words. There are nonverbal communication cues as well as meaning hidden within their word choices, the tone of their voice, and how they are choosing to communicate. To hear, on the other hand, is only to receive the sounds someone is making. You’re taking in what is happening, but you aren’t listening, you aren’t paying attention. Listening skills include learning to listen just to listen, rather than listening in order to develop a rebuttal or a reply. Using tools of clarification to repeat back what someone has said helps you take extra steps to make sure you are fully understanding what you listened to. Addicts and alcoholics in recovery learn that they need to be acknowledged, understood, and heard. These are core needs of human communication and human connection that everyone experiences. Treatment helps men develop the communication skills they need because all day they are engaging in communication through individual therapy and group therapy. Group therapy dynamics help men learn to listen to one another, offer positive feedback, gain clarity, and learn how to embrace feeling acknowledged and understood.
Mindfulness is a practice in refining your ability to pay attention. You pay much less attention than you think in communication as well as many other areas of your life. When you apply mindfulness to communication, you are grounding yourself to the present moment, meaning you are fully present in the conversation. Rather than be thinking about something else, you are authentically connecting with someone in that moment. For men who have developed addiction and alcoholism, authentic connection is hard to do. Men have a tendency to protect themselves and seem strong, unavailable, detached, and hardened. The opposite is true. Mindfulness creates a softness and a presence that fosters noticing the needs of others, bringing awareness to needs in the self.
One of the keys to effective communication is empathy. Empathy is the human ability to understand and possibly share someone else’s feelings. It is easier for men to stay separated from others so as not to seem weak or vulnerable. However, they miss out on their humanity when they behave in that way. It is better to act with empathy and recognize the shared human experience and identify with feelings. Feelings, articulating feelings, and communicating feelings are essential developments for men in treatment.
Communication is critical to changing your story. When you can change your story, you can change your life. Oceanfront Recovery is a men’s & women’s addiction treatment center offering men & women the opportunity to change the story of their lives from addiction to recovery. For information on our residential treatment programs and specialized executive track, call us today: 877.279.1777