Humans do not hear well when hurting. And, most humans are hurting most of the time. Humans have a hearing problem and mostly listen to one voice above all others – their own.
The addict listens to his own voice no different than the affluent, the homeless, the young, or the very, very old. So, if you want to help your teen, teammate, parent, or peer, remember, they don’t want to hear your persuasive speech as to why they ought to stop or start something. They listen to their internal reason for recovering something they sense is lost, or something they wish to find, re-discover, or even recover. Ask them some questions. Stir their thinking. Start hypothetically speaking. Start slowly and follow the trail they take you up or down.
And, remember most addictions are born and bred during the transitions of life. Tune in to your teen. Ask a ton of interested questions during Sunday suppers. Tune in to your peer struggling with his work, his wife, or somewhere in life. Addictions are born and bred during times of transition because these times are filled with feelings we’de rather deaden than deal with. Addictions are a feelings disorder more than you and I tend to think. The world wants us to categorize addicts as people with a particular problem – a character disorder.
See your problem child as someone hurting and hiding. Change your mind about what is wrong with ’em. Tune in. Grab hold of your own emotions and get ready for some tough love. Start with curious questions that cause them to think. Remember, the addict, the affluent, and the teammate listen to their own ideas no different than you. Master the art of the curious and challenging question. Kick your own before kicking another. The worlds greatest teachers, remember, are students first and foremost. Become a student of yourself, first. When it comes time to deliver some tough love around your neighborhood, it’ll go down a whole lot better if you’ve been kicking your own, first. Today, another addict heard hard truth from his builder. He felt my curiosity before the ccd (clear, concise, direct) challenge. He owned his learning and came up with the perfect PA to move him closer to coming clean.
Lead anything, friend, and you’re gonna find yourself leading affluent, afflicted, absorbed, and addicted. Learn to hear, tune in, and care enough to challenge too. God, help our leaders learn to lead all types not just those like them or those that like ’em. God, help us all…