communication-dara

Road To Recovery: Communication Is Key

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

An addict will gamble, sell and trade everything they have to get their next hit – their dignity, their wealth, their community, their job, their friends and anything in between. It’s a deep fall from being sober to a full blown addiction. It happens very quickly, but along the way it’s easy to lose everything, most of all – perspective. Most addicts will tell you, it’s not the lost cars or houses that keep them up at night. It’s the lost opportunities, friendships, relationships. The hardest part of any addicts recovery is stepping up and admitting their flaws and mistakes to the people they care for the most. A big majority of addicts began using just to avoid these kind of confrontations and emotional pain in the first place. To become a functional member of our society an addict must learn ways to communicate with their peers and loved ones alike.

Communication skills

Effective recovery process can go only so far with physical and mental self-conditioning. An addict will almost never reach sobriety again without support and care from people around them. It doesn’t even have to be friends or loved ones, not at first anyway, that part comes later. First things first, as they say, so learning how to convey and communicate a thought, an emotion or a feeling is very important.

Learn to listen

An addict has probably heard extremely “useful tips” from people around them for years. Do this, do that. Just stop. Just don’t. Nothing annoys and pushes away a highly depressed addict more than some happy-go-lucky chump to tell them “Just stop using and cheer up!”. Learning to phase out this “white noise” is the very first thing they learn to do, since according to an addict, he is not addicted so all these nonsense recommendations are unwarranted and unnecessary. Until they are.Being able to step back and actually listen to what a person has to say can be very difficult for an addict. Years of practice ignoring people can be a hard habit to break.

Take yourself out of the equation

Chasing the high can take a lot of things out of perspective. When the craving sets in and the addict begins to come down, nothing but the hunt remains. They need it, and they need it now. Their entire focus turns to themselves and their personal needs and gains. Addicts are selfish beings, the very nature of addiction ensures that. For an addict, the world revolves around them and their next hit. This is not true, however, the world does not care for an addicts struggle and continues spinning regardless. It can be very daunting and troubling experience to re-learn the basics of living in a community, learning how to be a part of something more than a sum of its components. Empathy and care for other people and their opinions are very necessary skills to learn when returning to the sober world.

Meet them halfway

Working in a team, rather than a single unit. That is something new to most addicts. Being able to meet people half-way and compromise on difficult topics is essential for successful re-integration into society and building normal relationships. Most addicts have understood that not everything goes the way they want a long time ago. Being beaten into the mud by their addiction, again and again, has a very humbling effect, so when an addict doesn’t particularly care about feelings and needs of people around them it’s not done out of malice or deliberate hate. They are just used to the idea that no one gets what they want, life is unfair and there is nothing that can be done about it. Teaching an addict that by simple acts of kindness and self-sacrifice a group of people can prosper and flourish much faster than a lone-wolf approach to life.

Restore your core values

Addicts rarely have the luxuries of silk sheets and gourmet chefs cooking for them. They lack most of basic needs that we consider necessities. A shelter and a hot meal often take a back-seat to an opportunity to get high. Addicts will do a long list of self-compromising and downright degrading things just to get their drug of choice, a good meal or a comfortable nights sleep. Prostitution, lying, stealing and cheating to name a few. A recovering addict needs to re-establish boundaries that will never be crossed again. A pillar of core beliefs that are honorable and just, standing for something that provides character integrity is an important step to recovery and rebuilding your relationships with friends and loved ones.

Communicating with your addiction

These skills will be a cornerstone in a recovering addicts life to come. They will ensure that rehabilitation process is carried out without blockers, smooth and as quickly and efficiently as possible. The very same communication skills will also allow them to be honest with themselves and people around them. These skills will allow them to say no to drugs, alcohol, and other addictive behaviors.

Being an individual is important. Being an individual that is able to co-exist and cooperate with other individuals is paramount. To break out of this self-imposed prison, communication is key.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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