As someone who wrestles with addiction, you likely lied and told stories about your addiction. Maybe you lied about where you went and who you spent all that time with, where the money went, and what you had to do to get it back. Not communicating or outright lying is typical in families with substance abuse at the center. Open communication takes time to relearn following addiction. Find a way to get back to freely speaking your mind and regaining a sense of control over your mind and life.
Why it Matters
Open communication is critical in maintaining sobriety because deceit is the name of the game in addiction. To stay clean and sober, you must be willing to answer tough questions about addiction and abstinence. Questions like how sobriety looks are signs that you are striving to focus on in recovery but hiding from questions or telling half-truths is a warning sign of impending relapse.
Open Communication Tips
Not all elements of communication will feel comfortable or familiar but they are important. Elements of open communication include the following:
- Inviting environment filled with: support, participation, and trust
- Transparency: sharing information with everyone that needs to know it and not hiding from it
- Safety: seeking out people with whom it is safe to communicate and be open in conversation
Improving Communication Skills
Whether you are new to recovery or have been down this road for awhile, you can always work on developing better communication skills. The more skills you learn, the more tools you have in your toolbox to cope with others and communicate what you want and need.
- Stop and listen – set aside your agenda so the other person feels heard and does not feel stifled
- Reflect – rephrase what you said so you understand the issue and finish with what you think you heard the other person say to help them feel valued
- Stay on subject – talking with a loved one can turn discussion into heated debate
- Be willing to give in – have an attitude of acceptance and a willingness to recognize when the other person’s point of view is valid
Honest, open dialogue is borne out of sharing one’s feelings, thoughts, memories, and experiences while feeling heard and validated on the other side. It means real vulnerability which may be scary, but necessary. Working to make it a way of life will take some time so don’t be hard on yourself while you’re learning this new, challenging skillset.
Oceanfront believes open communication can help you stay focused on sobriety but it takes time to learn. We start in recovery providing tools and resources that help you develop the communication tools needed for the long journey ahead. Call us to find out how treatment can help you get on track with your sobriety goals. 877-296-7477