Practice answering the big communication questions. Take five minutes and begin making a list of the questions you believe you will be faced with from your friends, partner, family and children, co-workers or school associates.
Here are some sample questions and responses to stimulate developing your list:
Question: How can I know you will never use or drink again?
- You can’t know that.
- I intend to stay clean. I’m working every day to bring good things into the lives of those around me.
- If I lapse and use I may need your understanding and help to figure out what I can change and do to keep my life on track.
Question: I hear you have a problem with drinking?
- No, that is not true. I did drink too much at one time in my life. Not now.
- I choose not to drink because I have found healthier ways to enjoy myself.
Write down the most likely tough question you will get when you enter a social situation. Work on your response until you’re satisfied and say it aloud.
Once you are done, share your response with a trusted friend. Practice it. Keep it short and to the point. Responsible communication is up to you. Practice your answers to tough questions to keep yourself safe, emotionally and physically.
To keep yourself safe, ask yourself before you share details of your experiences or another person’s experiences: Why do I want to share this? Why are they asking? Do I care if other people hear this information third or fourth hand? Does sharing this help me in building my image of myself or does it hurt me? Am I being honest and balanced? If you are satisfied with your answers go ahead and share. Just remember, when in doubt, less is better. You can always share more at a later date as long as you are honest, don’t distort the facts, and communicate your boundaries clearly.