Welcome to the second of four chances to win your very own copy of the Center for Motivation and Change's fabulous new book, Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change.
I truly love this book and encourage you to read it, whether you win a copy through my blog or not. Beyond Addiction is based on CRAFT--Community Reinforcement and Family Training--the research-supported, evidence-based, clinically proven approach to helping families of substance abusers. Is there a good chance that you'll find the CRAFT approach radically different than everything you've heard before? Yes. But when you read about it and give it a chance to sink it, it starts to make a lot of sense.
To get in on this week's drawing, send me an email via the "Contact Form" that appears in the column on the right-hand side of my blog (between the "Most Popular Posts" and "Blogs I Follow" sections). Simply tell me you want to be in the drawing. At the end of the week (Sunday evening), I will put the names of all the entrants into a hat--actually, it's a mixing bowl from IKEA--and choose a winner at random.
Oh, one more thing. Here's a new little twist I decided to add to the rules: If you entered a previous drawing and didn't win, I will leave your name in the IKEA mixing bowl for upcoming drawings. But you can also email me again and get an extra entry in the next drawing. It's a little "loyalty bonus."
(Note: I understand that some of you may be reluctant to share your name and email address with me, but it's the only way I can get in touch with you to let you know if you've won. I assure you that I will not share your information with any individuals or organizations.)
Now, on to this week's excerpt from Beyond Addiction.
This excerpt comes from the "Start Where They Are" chapter in the "How to Help" section of the book. It talks about why staying calm is better than yelling when communicating with your loved one.
Setting the Stage
(An Invitation to) Stop Yelling
"The tone you take with your loved one has an impact, often more than the words you use. Our number-one recommendation: Stop yelling. It is our version of the Hippocratic Oath--'First, do no harm'--a deceptively simple instruction but one that our clients often say is the hardest thing to change even when they understand why they should.
"You may find yourself yelling with the hope of discouraging your partner from coming home late and intoxicated, or any number of other reasons. What may not be so obvious is that yelling may undercut his motivation to come home sober, if to him it means 'This is what I come home to.' Similarly, yelling may be your desperate effort to communicate your despair and pain ('You always do this; you never change') but what you may be inadvertently communicating is that you don’t believe your partner is capable of change, which he may take as a reason not to bother. While yelling may sometimes achieve your goals, it almost always makes you the bad guy, the one with the yelling problem. The takeaway of an interaction in which you yelled will most likely be how mean and out of control you are rather than what your loved one could do differently.
"In a fascinating study, researchers discovered that a single act of confrontation by a therapist resulted in increased alcohol consumption by patients twelve months later. You are not a therapist, but the reasons harsh words don’t work are the same at home."
And some more:
"It is a lot to ask of you to be nice, flexible, and collaborative at times like this. It may seem like too much, until you see how it works. We’re not asking you to stuff your real feelings about your loved one’s substance use. We want you to express your feelings--your true feelings, and your whole feelings. But we want to teach you to express your feelings in ways and places that will be constructive for you. Ask yourself if yelling (or cold-shouldering, belittling, hectoring, and any other expression of hostility) has worked in the past--to change anything or to make you feel better beyond that moment. If you’ve run that experiment and seen the results, it might be time to try something different.
"We don’t expect that you’ll never yell again. We present this as an absolute because we hope that having a clear, simple intention will help anchor you when the water gets choppy. The chapter on positive communication to come will show you in detail what you can do instead of yell. The point here is that positive communication depends on your trying not to yell, and on being able to stop once you’ve started. Yelling less is better than yelling more. We invite you to approach each interaction as a fresh opportunity to not yell, regardless of what came before it."
Amen. While dealing with my son's addiction over the years, I finally came to realize that yelling is definitely not the right approach. If you're a "yeller"--and believe me, it's an easy trap to fall into--you might want to consider a fresh approach.
Words of wisdom, for sure. Having a loved one who is suffering from addiction is not easy. Beyond Addiction, I believe, can make it easier.
Thanks again to the Center for Motivation and Change for sending me books to give away. If you're interested in winning your own copy, shoot me an email. Good luck!