Spending time with family around the holidays has reminded me of how much my idea of healthy communication has changed over the years. Dishonesty and manipulation were such a substantial part of my addiction, as I imagine it is with most, and that certainly made most of my relationships toxic. Getting sober didn’t all of a sudden make it simple to communicate in a healthy manner though. Telling people how I felt and what I was thinking did not come naturally. However, I did realize that holding back from telling people what I was experiencing was a detriment.
Living in sober living in early recovery placed me close to a number of guys that were trying to live into the same principles as myself. It was a growth opportunity for communication because none of us were perfect. We would make mistakes, step on each other’s toes, and through that process I was able to see that it was crucial to be honest and tell each other what was going on. The amazing part was that people actually cared what I thought, and even if it was uncomfortable in the moment, it felt great to be transparent with people.
Being authentic about my emotions and motives is still not always my default, but I’ve found that it is much easier to do so now than in the past. My current relationships could not have survived my old ways of operating, and when I am unable be upfront with my thoughts, I am grateful that I have people in my life that start the dialogue.