Whatever problem we’re facing at our 2:00 am relapse decision point, it’s an almost certain bet that another recovering person has been there.
Scott McMillin, Recovery Systems Institute Principal, discusses the barriers that keep an addict or alcoholic from seeking help. Learning new ways to communicate can allow a caring family member, friend, or professional to motivate them to get the help they need.
Whether you are planning an intervention, or just trying to nudge someone a little closer to the point of getting help, or even trying to rebuild a good relationship with a newly-sober friend or family member, communicating effectively will help.
If something contradicts his/her experience, they’ll believe the experience. However, if we’re able to provide information in such a way that it better explains that experience, we gain credibility that extends to other positions we may take.
You should expect the alcoholic/ addict to test the agreement. It’s only natural. They need to see if you really mean it, or were just blowing smoke. If you stick to your guns, they’ll abandon the challenge.
It’s a much-repeated observation of psychology, that people feel an urge to act in ways that are consistent with their previous actions.
Beginning your statement with ‘yes, but’ means you’re already arguing. And rest assured, the alcoholic person is well prepared for argument.
People with alcoholism learn to test the resolve of those around them. That doesn’t mean they’re unaware of the need for change, just that they aren’t certain that other people will be there to support them.
It’s more about knowing exactly what we hope to gain from an interaction, and moving steadily towards that goal.
We want to simplify difficult choice so as to maximize the chance the alcoholic person will make the right one.