Why Communication Is The Way Change Happens
It’s how we inform people that addiction is genetic. How we help mothers and fathers deal with addiction in their children. How do we go about embracing this necessary communication that doesn't come naturally? Some of you may be familiar with the recovery jargon and slogans, but most people are not. It has a language all to itself, really. It's important to know.
Engineering companies hire communication scholars to translate their groundbreaking findings into a language the public can understand and use. Maybe we need new tools to help people to talk about addiction, too.Talking about addiction is particularly hard in college because alcohol and drug misuse is referred to as a common entertainment rather than serious red flags for further dependence. How am I supposed to approach someone in my sorority and have that awkward conversation that their father is an alcoholic and they are being severely affected by it? I can't have that conversation right now because addiction and the damage it does it does is a secret. We can't tell.
When People Start Talking They Use New Words To Explain What's Gone Wrong
Below I have compiled a list of common words and phrases that people in the addiction community use all the time. The words and phrases give names for what ails us and help us move the mountain of our old habits. The demons go away when we have tools to talk about them. Learning this new vocabulary is just a starting point for understanding that recovery is the only way to battle addiction.
Frequently Used Recovery And Addiction Phrases:
“Codependency” – The main piece in codependency is your personal emotions and needs and how you choose to get them fulfilled. A codependent will fulfill their needs by enmeshing themselves with another’s emotional state. Manipulation is a big part of codependency as well. It is not to be condemned, rather it is a cry for help that that person is filling a void in the wrong way.
“Enabling” – When you support someone else’s bad habits because you have guilt or shame. There is also a “feel good” piece to enabling that can feel like a drug itself. You help someone to continue in their cycle of bad habits, yet you made them temporarily happy.
“Addiction”- This is when a person’s relationships and health are at risk due to the misuse of something. It can be drugs, alcohol, food or another person.
“12 steps”- A lifestyle program that people voluntarily participate in in order to regain control of their life. They somehow lost their way due to the misuse of a substance or watching a loved one misuse a substance. It is a guided program with a strong focus on community and relational support. And it’s free!
“AA/ Al Anon”- Basically a social club that meets once a week and proctors the 12 step program mentioned above. Al Anon is for the people who have been affected by addiction.
“Boundaries”- Being able to say yes or no to something with confidence that that is what you truly want. They are rules, mostly unwritten, that you live your life by and expect others to respect. When the rule is broken or ignored, it is your job to defend it and yourself instead of being walked over.
“A meeting”- This term refers to one of the many meetings offered from either Al- Anon or AA that people attend in order to implement the 12 Step program with a supportive community.
“Character Defects”- Flaws within our character that lead to unhealthy decisions and relationships. These cannot be completely healed forever and disappear, rather we are encouraged to control them and learn to make decisions in spite of our natural instincts where our character flaws are housed.
“Co-Occurring”- When you are participating in two bad habits at the same time. For example, excessive drinking and sex addiction.
“Sponsor”- This is a person of your choosing who has successfully completed their 12 Step program and whom you give permission to hold you accountable to your own program. This is someone who provides advice when you ask and helps to give you strength when you are weak. They are free and you generally meet once a week or as needed.
“Higher Power”- The idea of a Higher Power is someone or something that has a plan for your life and has your best interest at heart. You are able to give up control of your life to this Higher Power because it has become too much for you. This is considered an essential part of successful recovery.
“The Rooms”- A generalized term to describe the physical places aka rooms in which your meetings are held. It holds great significance with the people who have come to love their recovery and refer to the rooms with a sense of gratitude and spirituality.
I hope this can help at least one person understand what we here in the addiction community are trying to communicate.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: The Intern