Recovery is beautifully disconcerting; those in recovery are on the path to rejuvenation, but they’re not quite there yet. Recovery has no bounds, for one in recovery may have just suffered a relapse, or has been clean for many months, but still struggles with the thoughts of returning to addictive substances. What is recovery if not the perennial journey to self-acceptance? Isn’t that what recovery is all about?

Some would disagree but subscribing to others’ ideas of what recovery should be may completely regress your particular method of healing. Some people find solace in the divine, others immerse themselves in art. Recovery is an intimate process unique to everyone but there is one unifying aspect of recovery transcending each spectrum of individual recovery, and that’s opening up.

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Many in recovery have difficulty sharing their thoughts and feelings to their families, friends, and loved ones because they’re not content with who they perceive themselves to be. If you’re like many in recovery, you may not think communication should be a key focus of your healing process but you’re wrong! And here’s why:

If you cannot learn to communicate, not only will you be unable to reach out to your support group, but you will be unable to maintain personal relationships, not only of a romantic nature, but those you would call on for comfort in times of despair (easily causing relapse without relief).

But how do you do it? How do you let people inside of yourself if you can’t stand who you are?

There aren’t any easy answers, but like with any skill: practice, practice, practice.

Here are three techniques to overcome anxiety and inability to share yourself and your thoughts with loved ones.

  1. Forgive Yourself

(Source: Harbor Village Detox and Treatment Center)

(Source: Harbor Village Detox and Treatment Center)

One of the most basic concepts we often forget about when we’re dealing with others is the perception of ourselves. Our self-identity governs everything we do and that includes communicating with others! If you are not in full agreement with yourself, or are embarrassed about who you are (even going as far to say, that you hate yourself) opening up to other people will be exceedingly difficult.

You must remember that you are worthy of merit, recognition, and love. Despite the roots of wherever your negative feelings stem from, you must attempt to rectify them in your mind, at least to the point where you feel at ease to allow yourself verbal expression of everything you keep pent up inside. Understanding communicating will help you move past your negative feelings and will help in your recovery, not only in a group treatment setting, but reconnecting with your loved ones.

  1. It’s Okay to Be Imperfect
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(Source: Harbor Village Detox and Treatment Center)

(Source: Harbor Village Detox and Treatment Center)

No one is expecting you to be 100% recovered, not even after rehabilitation. Recovery for some takes a lifetime, others are able to graduate and never look back. Wherever you are on the spectrum, don’t belittle your accomplishments and make yourself feel worthless if you’re not exactly where you would like to be. Emotional relapse is just as concerning as physical relapse so don’t discount your own feelings and deem them “unworthy” or “unimportant.”

You must triumph over the barrier keeping you in the stagnation of the perception of “perfection.” It does not exist. Not anywhere. Even if you believe it lurks or is attainable, you’re wrong! Accept yourself for who you are and acknowledge your trials are important and have shaped you into the person who will carry out your future. YOU define your future. Your future does not have to be defined by where you think you should be.

Celebrate where you are, and who you are. Let people know how you’re feeling, allow them to share in your facet of the human experience. If you’re concerned about opening up because you’re insecure about your position in life, tell them.

  1. Remember People Aren’t Mind Readers

(Source: Harbor Village Detox and Treatment Center)

(Source: Harbor Village Detox and Treatment Center)

If you’re frustrated because no one knows how to reach you, because no one seems to know how to get you to open up or you aren’t comfortable enough to talk to them, you must speak calming words to yourself. Those who have not struggled with the misery will not understand your inability to speak. In fact, many will propose this is of your own volition; and in part this is true, but it’s far more complicated than that.

Our loved ones want to help, but often don’t know how to break down the barriers we erect around ourselves. Cut them a break. But how can we do that, when it’s so terribly hard to communicate what we’re feeling?

Write it down! Sometimes you have to work up towards being able to verbally communicate. If you write all of your feelings down in a letter and send it to the person you’re trying to open up to, this gives you a vehicle to begin the conversation, without actually having to be in front of them which may be helpful at first. If you’re serious about building up your communication skills, let them know!

Simply telling your loved ones you have trouble opening up can help clarify a lot! Other people, who don’t have communication barriers, just don’t understand what you’re going through. Instead of writing letters back and forth, ask your loved one to respond verbally. It’ll make the conversation easier since you got most of the hard part out of the way already. When it comes to learning how to communicate, taking baby steps is the key. Push yourself. Going outside of your comfort zone may terrify you, but think of opening up as growing pains. When your relationships are healthy, you’ll be happy you did.

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Above content is provided by Harbor Village Detox & Treatment Center.