Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Take a Breath

Sometimes I write a blog and expect no response. Like the one I wrote yesterday about communication.

But it resonated with a couple of people who shared their experiences with bad communication.

One was a man in treatment in another state who described his exchange with a counselor.

He said he needed a phone to take care of personal business. He said the counselor became angry and was rough on him.

He, in turn, became frustrated and things didn't go well after that. Other staff members became involved. And before long they threatened to kick him out of the program.

Because I got this second hand I'm not sure what happened. But one thing I am sure of is that communication never has to break down like this.

Whenever I'm in a confrontation with clients or staff I take a deep breath. I dial down the rhetoric.

I've learned to tell anyone anything without things becoming emotional. It's the simple idea that we treat everyone with respect.

I can speak to those I disagree with without raising the tone.

Anger never gets a good result. Because when we go there we not only have the original issue - we enter the danger zone of saying something we'll later regret.

Breathe.

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