Effective communication of one’s feelings is essential to treatment and recovery. If feelings are suppressed or an individual otherwise doesn’t feel seen, heard or loved, cravings for drugs or alcohol may increase. Effective communication requires active participation from all parties involved in a conversation. During active addiction, however, many addicted individuals rely on passive or aggressive communication to work through their feelings.
Friend: “You should’ve been with us last night. We had a great time! Sorry we didn’t invite you.”
This statement from a friend can make anyone feel down; some may even feel rejected or unloved. The passive response to this statement would look something like this:
Addicted Person: “It’s ok. I didn’t want to go anyway.”
The addicted person, in this case, doesn’t express his or her feelings, which doesn’t allow the friend to address his intentions in the message, ending with both people coming away from the same conversation, but with different messages. The aggressive response to the same statement could be similar to this one:
Addicted Person: “Good! I hope you feel bad. Someone should’ve thought to invite me. If I’m not good enough for you to invite, maybe you’re not going to be invited to join me on my next night out!
While anger may be expressed in the tone of voice being used, it’s not expressed in words, which can be confusing and put the friend in a defensive state of mind.
Clear communication can resolve the adverse feelings of both parties involved in any conversation with education and skills taught in treatment and this workshop.