Topic: Effective Communication with The Addict or Alcoholic
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.
Alcoholics 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.
Being clear with a reluctant alcoholic isn’t just a matter of knowing what we want to say. It’s more about knowing exactly what we hope to gain from an interaction, and moving steadily towards that goal.
At one time, critical thinking skills were a required part of education in many schools. I have the impression that’s no longer the case. Too bad, because faced with a flood of contradictory arguments, we need them more than ever.
We want to simplify difficult choice so as to maximize the chance the alcoholic will make the right one.
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.