Now that you’re in recovery, you have an incredible opportunity to make things right in your life, including repairing any relationships that may have been neglected during your addiction. A good starting point is to learn how to be an active listener.
This simple yet overlooked skill will help you build rapport, understanding, and trust with the loved ones who will be by your side along your hard-won journey toward sobriety. Start by trying these tips for becoming a better listener:
Do put down your cellphone. If you’re like most Americans – 92 percent according to the Pew Research Center — not only do you own a mobile phone, but you often keep it within arm’s distance. Glancing at a recent text or checking your Facebook feed during a conversation with a loved one is not only rude but it sends a message that you are uninterested in what the other person has to say. It also prevents good eye contact, which is a crucial element in effective communication.
Do paraphrase (not parrot) what the person said. Every so often it’s helpful to repeat what you heard the person saying in your own words. This will show that you are listening and make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings along the way.
Do acknowledge your loved one’s problems, issues, and feelings. You might say, for example, “I known this is a difficult issue and appreciate your willingness to talk about it with me.” This type of dialogue will show that you are listening openly and with empathy.
Don’t just wait for your turn to talk. Be mindful of the exchange. Even if you’re excited about the subject matter or feel the urge to interject, it’s important to slow yourself down and pay attention to what the other person is saying.
Don’t discount the other person’s opinion. Instead, give your loved one space to share his or her perspective and try to absorb his or her point of view.
Addiction Help for Families
A strong factor in long-term recovery and increased, sustained success includes the entire family entering treatment. At Red Oak, we can help you explore your own journey while healing the connection between relationships. To learn more, call: 828.382.9699.