After rehab, most of us are advised to join support groups and attend meetings. From psychologists and physicians to former addicts who have been sober for years, everyone tells us that talking about your experience can help you recover from the alcohol addiction. Without denying that talking about it can help, I feel that sometimes it can be far more helpful to listen to what other people have to say.
Active Listening is a Mandatory Skill to Learn in Recovery
I must say that some people in the various support groups Iíve been frequenting during my first year of sobriety spoke just to hear themselves talking. Every support group seems to have that one person who manages to stir the discussion towards himself and his problems, regardless of the topic.
Unfortunately for them, because theyíre so concentrated to keep the conversation about themselves, they fail to soak up valuable information. Needless to say that theyíre of no comfort to anyone. It might be because Iím an introvert, but I believe listening is a mandatory skill to cultivate during recovery.
Sure, we all have fears, doubts and numerous questions about the life that awaits us. However, if we keep on talking about them without actually listening to other peopleís opinions Ė people who are undergoing the same issues as we are †Ė then this is nothing more than attention-seeking behavior. Without listening to different opinions and experiences, weíre shunning a chance to build a successful life away from addiction.
Listening Helps You Discover More About the World Around You
One of the biggest logical fallacies Iíve been struggling to eliminate from my thinking in early sobriety is that thereís no point in listening to people who have achieved long-term sobriety. Frankly, I enjoyed listening to newly sober people because I identified more with their current issues. Back then, I used to think that people who manage to stay sober for years are just bragging and are here to shove their success in our face.
Later on, I realized that I fell into the trap of biased listening. I heard only what I wanted to hear and I ignored the information that didnít confirm what I already knew about alcohol addiction. In other words, I was fighting the idea of change and I was in denial. If youíre in early recovery and canít figure out what you want from life or where to start, I urge you to analyze your train of thought and develop the ability to listen. Even the most unlikely person can say something profound that can turn your life around.
Everyone Can Become a Better Listener
In a society obsessed with multitasking, listening to what others have to say has becomes a challenging task. Iím sure you had at least one conversation where you or the other person were not looking at each other, but rather you were both playing on your phones. I believe itís clear why this behavior has to go.
If you truly want to listen to the speaker, then dedicate your full attention to your interlocutor. Instead of planning what youíre going to say while they are speaking, take a few seconds to consider what he/she said after theyíre done talking. While itís not easy, with practice you will become a better listener in time and strengthen the foundation of your newfound sobriety.