Improving Your Ability to Communicate Your Needs in Recovery

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Improving Your Ability to Communicate Your Needs in Recovery

As humans, we all have needs, some of which we can meet ourselves and some of which we cannot meet without the help and assistance of others. At times, we may try our very hardest to convince ourselves that we do not need others’ help, believing that it would make us weak or inferior. Yet, learning how to accept your need for help and effectively communicate your needs are actually strengths that deserve to be championed. 

Pursuing treatment and recovery for substance use disorder (SUD) or other mental health concerns requires you to not only accept your need for help but also communicate your needs to loved ones and professionals. Yet, as more challenges and emotional difficulties arise throughout recovery, you may struggle to communicate your needs healthily and effectively. At Avalon Malibu, we will encourage, support, and guide you in improving your ability to communicate your needs during treatment and throughout long-term recovery. 

Why Is It Important to Communicate Your Needs?

At different stages in our lives, we will struggle to communicate our needs for many reasons. For example, we may be afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings or worry about how they may perceive what we are trying to convey to them. Further, symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety may interfere with our ability not only to communicate our needs but also to identify them. 

However, learning how to communicate your needs in daily life and recovery is both important and necessary. Being able to communicate our physical or emotional needs, for instance, can help us maintain physical and psychological well-being. In addition, voicing our relational needs to loved ones can help us recognize and honor our own interpersonal boundaries, including what we are willing to tolerate in our relationships.

Meanwhile, in recovery, communicating your needs allows you to connect with those who understand what you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Communication informs and sustains social support with peers, and peer connection is necessary for preventing relapse and maintaining sobriety. In a similar way, communicating your needs with professionals can ensure that your treatment plan addresses your needs effectively and also aligns with your healing and recovery goals. 

Tips for Improving Your Ability to Communicate Your Needs In Recovery

If you feel that your communication skills are inadequate or that you otherwise struggle to identify and communicate your needs in recovery, there are many things that you can do to improve your communication. Some tips for improving your ability to communicate your needs include:

  • Tend to survival needs first: Take time to tune into your body and recognize feelings of hunger, thirst, and tiredness. Once you can identify the presence of physical and mental deficiencies, you will feel more confident in voicing them or working to meet those needs. 
  • Reflect on what makes you feel happy, secure, and whole: Identify what situations and circumstances aid your well-being, and consider sharing these ideas with loved ones and peers.
  • Use “I” statements: “I” statements, such as “I need” or “I feel,” can help you learn how to honor and accept responsibility for your own needs and feelings.  

Additionally, you can consider the following:

  • Draw connections between how you feel and why you feel that way: For example, perhaps you feel angry because you are being misunderstood. While you do not always need a cause for feeling a certain emotion or exhibiting a specific need, being curious about the underlying motive can foster self-compassion.
  • Engage in confidence-building exercises: Participating in exercises to help build confidence – such as celebrating your wins, reflecting on past achievements, or replacing negative thoughts with positive ones – can all improve your ability to communicate your needs in recovery. 

How Treatment Can Improve Your Communication

At Avalon Malibu, we offer a variety of treatment options for mental health disorders, SUD, and co-occurring disorders. We utilize a holistic approach to treatment, addressing not only problematic symptoms and current distress but also any underlying causes and factors that may be interfering with your ability to establish and sustain lasting healing and recovery. 

No matter where you stand in your healing journey, we understand that learning how to effectively communicate your needs is a process. At our facility, we can create an individualized treatment plan for you that will implement various efforts to improve your communication so that you feel confident as you move forward in your recovery. Using a combination of experiential methodologies, expressive arts, and evidence-based psychotherapies, we will ensure that your treatment journey is as worthwhile and well-rounded as possible. 

Meanwhile, our philosophy is that the healing process is one of self-realization. Effectively improving your communication means addressing the fears, doubts, and negativity that block you from becoming your best self. We are here to walk alongside you and encourage you as you work to become the person you have always wanted to be, independent of any diagnosis or symptoms that may challenge you from doing so. 

The ability to effectively communicate your needs is a critical aspect not only of healthy living but especially for long-term recovery from mental health distress and substance abuse. When we are unable to voice our needs, we can bottle up stress, fear, and doubt, all of which can increase our risk of relapse and ongoing distress. Thus, learning to improve communication by increasing self-confidence, leaning into peer support and relationships, and honoring our own needs are all valuable strategies for lasting recovery. At Avalon Malibu, we can create a treatment plan that focuses on improving your ability to communicate your needs while addressing your other needs and goals. Learn more by calling (844) 857-5992 today. 

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