Do you struggle to be heard — or taken seriously? If everything you say is being taken wrong, or you find yourself flying off the handle every time someone offers their advice or guidance, you may find your recovery stalled.communication
One of the hardest parts about recovery from an addiction is repairing the broken relationships that are left in its aftermath. Unfortunately, repairing the damage can take a long time — and a lot of hard work. The first step, of course, is to learn how to communicate properly, so that neither you or those you are communicating with taking offense. But where to begin?
Acknowledge That You Need Help
You’ve already reached out for help in battling your addiction. Now it is time to ask for help in learning how to speak so you are heard and listen in a way that helps foster healing. Figuring out how to deal with the people in your life (especially those who trigger big emotions), isn’t going to be easy, so give yourself a break and find someone to help you navigate these new waters. Once you start working the 12 steps more will be revealed about character defects you may have that do not help in your communication.
Learn to Listen
Communication is a back and forth dance between two people where both have the chance to speak – and be heard. If you want others to take you seriously you need to learn how to listen (I mean really listen), to what they have to say.
Manage Your Stress
Diving into a tough conversation when emotions are running high leads to disaster. When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed you are more likely to react without thinking and even read the situation wrong. This can lead to raised voices, knee jerk reactions, and misunderstanding. When you feel your stress levels rising, take a few moments to calm down and think about what is being said to you, and how you will react.
Watch Those Non-Verbal Cues
Communication is more than what is being said – it’s more often about what’s not being said. Be sure that the body language you are sending out reinforces what is being said and not contracting it. Otherwise, you will confuse your listener and they will find it difficult to trust your words – and your actions.
Be Assertive; In a Respectful Way
Those in recovery usually suffer from either an inability to be assertive – or they become abrasively assertive. Unfortunately, neither will offer the results that you are after. Being assertive requires making your thoughts and feelings known without being aggressive or demanding. This can be a difficult skill to master, especially when dealing with hard to handle people in your life. But remember, becoming a good communicator means learning how to interact with others with a tone of love and respect. It doesn’t mean making others adopt your point of view or winning every argument.
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