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, teammate, or dear friend. Ask a ton of interested questions during Sunday suppers, coffee, or lazy walks in the park. 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 friend as someone hurting and hiding. Change your mind about what’s 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. Nearly every week an addict hears hard truth from me. My aim is to always start curious before the ccd (clear, concise, direct) challenge. My aim is to get the addict to own it.
Lead anything, friend, and you’re gonna find yourself leading affluent, afflicted, absorbed, abused, and addicted. Learn to tune in, turn toward, understand their thinking, non-defensively listen, and empathize – feel what they’re feeling. This is gonna take a lot of time, energy, and love.
God, help our leaders learn to lead all types not just those like them, those that like ’em, or those they like. God, help us all. And, btw, many of your highest performers, leader, are addicts. So, you may want to change your preconceptions and prejudices about the addicts in your system, they’re likely looking good in the office just down the hallway from you.
Remember, friend, most addictions are a feeling disorder more than anything else. Your addicted teammate needs someone they can trust. Be one. Trust first. Good…