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While much of the work done to beat an addiction goes on in the heart and mind of the person with the dependency, personal interactions with counselors, family, and friends play an important role as well. As you would expect, those conversations can be either a positive or a negative force. At our Sacramento rehab, we caution people to watch out for destructive conversation patterns.
Below are some unproductive ways that loved ones may find themselves communicating with a person who has an addiction. Learning not to fall into these patterns can be very helpful as you strive to create a positive dialogue.
In most cases, the things you are trying to explain to a person with addiction are things they already know. All you do by going over them is irritate and frustrate the person.
Conversations focused on determining who is “at fault” are rarely going to have a positive outcome. A person who likely already feels guilty about their behavior (whether that guilt shows or not) is likely to simply shutdown when the blaming starts.
Where were you last night? Where you getting high? Who were you with? The truth is, even if the person responds to questions like this truthfully, there will be nothing helpful in the answers.
This is the more intense version of “educating” and it is sure to elicit a more intense (and more negative) response!
Conversations in which labels like “addict” are applied aren’t helpful in any way. The idea that this kind of “tough love” will produce a positive outcome simply aren’t supported by real-world evidence.
Similar to blaming, this kind of conversation may involve passive-aggressive statements like, “It’s not your fault that you’re an addict. But I just hate to see what it’s doing to [insert name of loved one.]” Here again, nobody knows more than the person with the addiction what their condition is doing to that loved one, and to imply that they don’t see it or don’t care is only going to make them angry.
Teaching People How to Talk Productively
To be successful at a Sacramento rehab, your friend or loved one will need your support. And in order for your interactions with them to actually be supportive, you need to think carefully about how you talk with them. We can be a valuable source of insight on interpersonal communication. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.