When a person is in their active addiction, they often find blunt and tactless ways of sustaining their use. Defensiveness can be a significant problem in early recovery as a person is still accustomed to protecting and maintaining their habit.
Many residents at the AToN Center describe experiences of friends or family members trying to confront them on their intoxicated behaviors to which the response is to shut down any feedback at all. Often, this is done by focusing on a less relevant detail that detracts from the main issue at hand. This can take the form of arguing about how much you really had to drink or the exact number of days where the person was using.
The idea of agreeing with the critic is not that you agree with everything that another person says but that you learn to accept the parts of the feedback that are true. If someone brings up your use, find a way to agree with the feedback, and look for the truth in what they are trying to share with you about your behaviors so that you will be better able to change them and work towards a healthy recovery. Imagine saying, “I didn’t drink on that particular day but it is true that there have been many more than I have.”
Chad K. Cox PsyD
AToN Center 888-535-1516