Acknowledging and opening up about addiction are two of the hardest steps, linked to rehabilitation. Admitting that enough, is enough, on a personal scale, can be tough. Yet, doing so to a loved one or friend can feel like your world is slowly falling apart, that judgment is on its way, or that addiction support will be unwelcomed.
Silence can however be detrimental through both addiction and rehabilitation. Miscommunication can lead both a user and their family members down many negative paths; from blame to depression, to broken relationships.
This is exactly why it is important to talk about addiction, to build a supportive network, to advocate trust and to respect boundaries. Not only will this benefit those looking for help, but it will also help those who’ve witnessed the detriment of addiction.
As humans, we do naturally become closed books when it comes to talking about taboo subjects. Addiction is one of those subjects, stigmatised by society down to its mental health associations. This is where many individuals can experience denial, where drug and alcohol abuse, for example, is justified.
This is where the fear of consequences will likely show itself. However, we must work on ways to talk about addiction and normalise the plea for help. Otherwise, many more people will suffer in silence, falling victim of addiction.
It’s time to understand each other and how to talk about addiction, as open books. Here are some common communication barriers, experienced through addiction, along with ways to open up and accept one another. If you’re looking for addiction support, at Action Rehab, we are here for you and your loved ones.
The dangers of silence
Silence can cause many issues when considering an addiction diagnosis. Those who are abusing the likes of drugs or alcohol will be at risk of falling into a blurred reality, caused by substance abuse. That reality can impact outlooks on side effects, on consumption and on experiences with drugs and alcohol. Avoiding any form of support will reduce your chances of a family and friend referral, intensifying your addictive behaviours.
For family members or friends, who are witnessing the abuse of drugs and alcohol, remaining silent can enable consumption. Understandably, you may not know how to approach the talking point of addiction recovery. Yet, it is important that you do learn how to talk to an addict about getting help, proactively, promoting the motivation of drug and alcohol rehab. Without this, silence can turn into an enabler, where you’ll begin to justify their detrimental habits.
It’s also important that we touch on miscommunication. Sometimes, silence is avoided, where communication becomes messy. Both parties will fail to understand each other, and their outlooks on addiction. The user may struggle to communicate their experiences with drugs and alcohol, whether that’s’ down to denial or a blurred perception.
Loved ones may feel to blame, may feel judgmental and disappointed, may feel deceived and may feel like they do not understand the causations of addiction. Through a miscommunication, relationships can be put under pressure, resulting in greater stress, both motivators of further substance abuse.
Down to this, learning how to talk about addiction as a supportive unit is very important. Silence should be avoided, as should miscommunicating experiences or expectations, as now, more than ever, you will need each other.
Common communication barriers through addiction
Many users will communicate with their loved ones, expecting them to understand an addiction diagnosis from the get-go. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic outlook to have, as there is a high probability that your loved ones will lack awareness around addiction, around the signs and symptoms and around causations.
With this in mind, it is important to learn how to talk about addiction to those with limited experience. By doing so, there’s a stronger likelihood that a mutual understanding can be made, rather than expecting it from the start.
It’s also important to remember that it can take some time for your loved ones to understand. A lack of patience is a common communication barrier which can push away all forms of personal addiction support. Sharing your experiences and guiding your loved ones towards reputable resources will be encouraged.
Many family members will listen and attempt to understand the diagnosis of an addiction. They will attempt to motivate the idea of addiction support and rehabilitation. Through this helping hand, many users will begin to warm to the idea of rehabilitation. However, a common communication barrier, is that any sign of acceptance will boost the hopes of family members.
Family members will hold onto every word which is communicated around addiction recovery and personal intentions. Once obstacles show themselves, which they will, those hopes are diminished, where the blame will be placed on the user. This is exactly why many users fear the consequences of opening up, as family members lack awareness of how challenging deciding to recover and taking action can be.
It’s easy to see how damaging silence and miscommunication can be. There are mixed perceptions between both users and their loved ones. However, to tackle addiction, a mutual understanding must form, all-around learning to talk about addiction. By doing so, the above barriers can be dropped, helping all parties benefit from addiction support.
How to talk about addiction
Knowing how to talk about addiction with loved ones can be daunting, commonly linked to judgment. Knowing how to talk about addiction to a loved one who is using can be nerve-wracking, linked to uncontrolled responses.
Ultimately, there’s no right way of approaching the topic of addiction. However, there are some mutual steps to take to form a united front.
Establish trust: Both parties must trust one another. This is a sensitive talking subject, which must be kept private in order to benefit a relationship. Establishing trust within your inner circle is very important.
Respect privacy: Not all parties will want to continuously open up about their worries or experiences. Privacy will be needed to digest the situation. Respecting this will boost comfort to open up in the long-term.
Practice patience: It’s easy to see how difficult it can be to take baby steps with this type of conversation. Users will likely want to spill their entire experiences, while family members will want to speed up the recovery process. However, patience is very important to ensure that rehab is the right decision for this time.
Diminish all expectations: All discussions around addiction will differ. Diminishing all expectations will help you cope with your experience and end result.
Understand one another: Many barriers develop, down to a lack of understanding. Understanding each other’s needs and feelings is very important, offering a sympathetic outlook.
Approaching the topic of addiction can be difficult for any party. However, it is wise to open up and talk about addiction, its effects and the idea of overcoming those effects. Without a mutual understanding and communication, many more individuals will struggle with chronic addictions, tearing families apart.
If you are struggling, here at Action Rehab, we can help. We can provide you with professional support, helping to heal the damages of addiction.
Reach out to experience a compassionate, understanding and a non-judgmental approach to talking about addiction.