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 her work, partner, or something in her 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. 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 get them to hear answers, not more harmful thoughts from within their own head. This is gonna take a lot of time, energy, and love. You, friend, cannot muster this kinda love when you too are all a lone.
Remember, leader, most addictions are a feeling disorder more than anything else. Your functioning addict needs someone they can trust. Be one. Trust first. You just may be the friend that helps them heal their hurting heart before the addiction spirals into further dysfunction and eventually out of control. Addictions form when we feel a lone and dissipate as we feel a turn toward another we can trust. The addict, not unlike you and me, desperately wants to transform from a lone to all one – one L (love) of a difference. The addict needs a hand to hold on to, maybe, just maybe, the hand they need is yours.
Slow down and sit with this for awhile. No easy answers. No one size fits all here. Nobody has the time to do what makes perfect sense but makes no cents. Nobody normal, that is. Be one of the few who listens and loves as she leads. Be one of the few who is learning the art of being tough and tender.
Nobody has the time. Do you? Good…