Compassion vs Confrontation

The shouting, demanding, ultimatums only wore me down and alienated my son. I would pounce as soon as he called or visited. My tone of voice was edgy, defensive, or attacking. Hypervigilant, I was ready to jump in with advice, threats, or passive aggressive comments.

Running on empty without tools or experience I meant well but at best it was unhelpful! Confrontation did not work. How would you respond if you were spoken to in that way? (would you say, ok you are right or some other response? denial? anger? do the opposite? or something else). It was all in the name of love. I believed that I loved him unconditionally.

Latest insights view addiction as a symptom of underlying trauma – childhood or transgenerational – rather than a disease. 

We may not recognise or connect with the wounding. It is not our job. There is a cause/trigger. Not everyone who uses alcohol and/or drugs experience the torment of addiction. Initially the pain is soothed by the substance or habit of choice. Addicts have a remarkable skill in selecting what will soothe them best. It feels good and initially works. Just as pruning a shrub the roots remain. More or stronger self-medication is needed for the same feeling, and we all know what happens then…

The body wants to heal. As soon as it has the resources, i.e. in recovery, the issues come knocking again more loudly this time. Without tools or knowledge, the addict copes in the only way they know, relapse happens. Some replace an unhealthy addiction for a healthier one. Exercise, spirituality, support groups and they may be helpful for some and are less damaging. The underlying issues remain. Addiction cannot be cured with a strong character, discipline, or confrontation. When the pain is addressed, healing can occur.

What about a new strategy?

Instead of confrontation and negativity what if I was compassionate and positive? There was a learning curve, avoiding old habits… but over time my thinking, tone of voice, and posture changed. Ignoring the blips, I focused on the little successes – knowing it was not his intention when wobbles happened. No-one ever decided they want to be an addict!

On some level my son sensed the change and seemed more comfortable around me. We had turned a corner.

If we haven’t connected yet, sign up for a complimentary well-being call. I will listen to your story, and see how I can best support you.

With love and acknowledgement for all you have experienced, your challenges and potential.
Suzan

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