Posted by Steps to Recovery on December 7, 2012

A common issue for people who get caught up in addiction is that they have a hard time coping with their emotions. This inability of the individual to deal with their emotions in an appropriate way makes life hard for them so they self medicate with substance(s). A lack of emotional intelligence pushes them towards addiction, and also keeps them stuck there. Even if the addict chooses the path of recovery they will continue to struggle unless they develop emotional intelligence. 

1) Empathize – Empathy can be defined as the ability to identify and understand another person’s situation. It differs from sympathy in that it involves tying to understand things from the other person’s perspective. Sympathizing is more like feeling sorry for the other person instead of trying to understand what they are going through. Being more empathetic is a learned skill. In order to be empathetic it is necessary not to jump to judgment. Empathy is a necessity to good communication because it brings us to greater comprehension of what the other person is going through, and the they really feel that they are being heard.

2) Non Verbal Communication – There is a great deal more to communicating than just words. It is possible to learn an incredible amount of information about other people by observing their body language – also known as non verbal communication. Failing to understand body language may mean that the person is missing out on key information. It could also mean that they are putting out the wrong message through their own body language.

3) Listen – Learning to actively listen is another vital skill for a person who wants to develop emotional intelligence in recovery. Those who are self absorbed will only seem to be actually listening to the other person. Listening means being entirely focused on the other person’s words and providing the other person the space to say what they need to say. It’s important to allow a little time after the other person has stopped talking before you begin speaking, to make sure they have said all that they need to say.

If you can begin to use these 3 suggestions in your interactions with others it will help you start to develop more emotional intelligence in recovery. It will help your relationships greatly, as well as your understanding of yourself. Stay tuned for more ways to work on this important part of yourself.