Someone who chooses not to recover isn’t foolish or SICK! They’re just unable to process new ideas logically, nor are they “in denial” or manipulated by the disease. No, it’s simpler than that:
Given what they know and what they believe, the afflicted individual is making the right decision at the moment they are making it based upon the information they have at the time.
We always make our decisions based on what we know and believe. A prudent decision is the path you take based on what you know and believe!
The challenge, then, is to realize that perhaps the afflicted knows something you don’t, or, just as likely, doesn’t believe what you believe. Your job as a helper is to figure out what your friend’s biases, worldview, fears and beliefs are, and as a helper, your job is to help them know what you know.
If you keep questioning their beliefs and judgment, they’re going to keep thinking the way they think. If you keep pushing and cornering them they are going to push back. If the purpose of your interaction with the afflicted individual is to assist them in making the decisions that are in their best interest doesn’t it make sense to present all of the relevant information to the individual so that they can make the decision based upon ALL of the information and not simply pushed into making a decision that they may or may not agree with?
This is the fundamental challenge with the traditional approach. This is the key that Bill Wilson recognized when he and his cohorts began to transcribe the process they found successful to recover. The approach was to educate on the process, suggest action steps, and highlight the results if the process is followed. Yet, today often meeting rooms are filled with individuals that do not comprehend this tactic and attempt to tell people what they “must” do. Likewise, addiction professionals have developed an approach that confronts the “disease”. This too is met with resistance and can be counter productive.
If you truly want to assist someone to recover then remember people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Show you care by sharing your experience, strength, and hope and not telling people what to do!
Go, Go, Go…