Part of the growth we should strive for in our recovery involves our social lives and interpersonal communication skills. In our active addiction, we learn to hide ourselves from others, masking our true personality and instead adopting one which we feel will be most accepted by those around us. It is important to retrain ourselves to refrain from this deceptive behavior, learning to express our true selves to those around us without fear of judgement or lack of acceptance. What are some ways you can learn to improve your social skills in sobriety?
One important step you can take to improve your interpersonal communication is to avoid speaking instinctively. Our instincts formed in active addiction carry over into our early sobriety, and as a result you should question these instinctive responses to ensure you are speaking your truth. It can be difficult to master this level of awareness and contemplation in your daily communication with others, but it is well worth the effort in order to alter your communication patterns and eventually your instincts themselves.
Another instinct which we must resist in early sobriety is that of isolation. In our active addiction we revel in isolation, avoiding interaction with others so we may remove the possibility of confrontation regarding our substance abuse. This predilection for isolation also serves to save us from the effort required to put on the masks we wear for others. In sobriety, AA and NA meetings provide us an excellent means to avoid isolation and practice interacting with others in a comfortable, relaxed manner. You should avail yourself of this opportunity for improving your social skills, arriving early at meetings and staying late so you can interact with others outside of the structure imposed by the meetings themselves.
Our social skills suffer dearly at the hands of our addiction, as we learn unhealthy behaviors that inhibit our ability to form fully functioning relationships with those around us. It is important to our success in recovery that we confront these unhealthy behavior patterns, putting forth effort to change them so we may restore our ability to interact with those around us in a healthy, honest manner. This ability improves our perception of ourselves as well as our ability to process emotions, allowing us to let these feelings out rather than repressing them as we did in our active addiction. At Evolutions Treatment Center, part of our program of treatment for clients is establishing an environment conducive to interaction with the therapeutic community. This gives clients an opportunity to begin working on their social skills in a safe, controlled setting, often less stressful than attempting the same task in society at large. So long as you remain committed to your recovery no matter what it takes, you will succeed in your efforts to restore healthy social skills in your life!