Tough love, I was told, was the only hope I had left. So I tried it and things got worse. I hated it and it didn’t even work. Then I developed a personal strategy that I called Smart Love.
Stigma is a very powerful deterrent to treatment, recovery and hope. Yet how do we move beyond this when even those in the medical profession continue to stigmatize the disease of addiction?
Using positive communication while disengaging with a loved one is a softer, more neutral way of letting them know that things aren’t okay. It’s not going to turn things around right away, but it will keep things calmer.
Special guest Rob Koebel, actor, writer and award-winning journalist joins Annie and Laurie to talk about about his descent into alcoholism starting at an early age, and the decades that went by without anyone noticing there was a serious problem. His journey to recovery has been a long struggle but one which he is putting to good use by helping others understand the reality behind the “Good-time Charlie” drinker.
Positive reinforcement, as basic and childlike as that sounds, is a motivating force for progress. Speaking to someone’s goodness despite their wrong choices unlocks their worth. “You’re not a bad person, you’re just headed in a bad direction.” Or maybe “You shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself, maybe just aware of faulty patterns so you can choose different ones.” That’s a great way to start motivating someone. Versus, “I told you so, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
Shame is a human emotion, meaning we all experience it. It has even been suggested that it is the most primitive of all emotions, dating back to our origins as humans. Shame, however, is toxic in large amounts, and many of us find ourselves stuck in that leaky boat. Understanding how shame works is the first step in preparing to conquer it.