Lost in Translation – Learning to Communicate in Addiction Recovery

Lost in Translation

Our ability to communicate with one another is our greatest gift. We have the ability to express our thoughts, feelings, needs and emotions through our words and behavior. It is what holds and allows us to work together. It is what allows the many to become one.

But just as good communication can bring us together, bad communication tears us apart. As such, I thought it would be a good idea for us to review some simple but important communication tools:

1. Listen! The good Lord gave you two ears and only one mouth in hopes that you would listen twice as much as you would speak. Keep your big mouth shut and just listen. Give people a safe place to download without interruption.

2. Look! The downside of telephonic and text communication is we don’t see the person that we are communicating with. As a result, we lose the emotion that body language and facial expressions convey. When possible, look at people while they are talking. Let your face express your understanding. Show you are listening.

3. Smile! I have to be really careful because I have one of those faces that looks grouchy when all I am doing is thinking. My face sends out the wrong message. I have to tell myself all the time to smile, especially when I don’t feel like smiling. I may not be able to do much for most people, but I can surely give them a smile free of charge.

4. Don’t judge! There is no bigger deal breaker of peace like discord and disagreement born of disapproval. Even when we are driven by the best of intentions, we have no business judging other people. We should be a safe haven where people can turn to when others will only judge them. Be the someone who will simply love them.

5. Love! We do nothing if we do not do it with love. Everything that we say, everything that we do; let love flow through it. People are most comfortable when they feel loved. And if you say you love them, it wouldn’t hurt you one damn bit to put a little action into that declaration every now and again!

Whatever you do, be direct. Don’t use euphemisms or long-winded explanations. If there is a problem, quit dancing around it. Spit it out and get it on the table. We can’t move on together until we do. Communication is as much attitude as action. If we work on our basic attitude towards other people, our communication will invariably improve. That’s how we make sure that the things we hope to truly tell other people will not get lost in translation.

Thank you

James A. Francetich is a freelance writer and author. The opinions expressed are solely of the author and do not represent any community based recovery programs, private or public entities or any governmental agencies.

We've Been There. We Can Help.
Call Now (406) 453-5080