Confronting Conflict in Recovery

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While one’s time in a recovery facility is tightly focused on creating a safe and secure environment, graduating, becoming an alumnus, and moving out of these facilities introduces new stresses and changes. Conflict, while unfortunate, is an inevitability throughout one’s journey to sobriety from the first step one takes into a detox program to their time reintroducing themselves to the “real world.” Knowing how to confront conflict and process the emotions involved is an important skill to navigate conflict effectively while managing one’s emotions and maintaining a sober focus.

Confronting Conflict

Conflict can take many forms, with some being more direct than others. For some, conflict can be a verbal argument or misunderstanding, either resulting from varying viewpoints or dissonant beliefs. Talking with others who do not understand addiction as a disease or who harbor stigmas surrounding words like “addiction” or “recovery” can often be the source of this kind of conflict. 

Others may experience conflict internally as a result of their own stresses and experiences. Self-doubt or blame are common ways for an individual to begin to see their own minds and bodies as antagonistic in their lives, compromising one’s belief in their ability to recover. 

Conflicts that result from environmental or social components can also manifest on a regular basis, especially when it comes to establishing boundaries. Feeling like one’s personal space, time, or privacy is being unjustly violated can sow the seeds of conflict. This is especially prevalent when a person moves out of a recovery facility and begins establishing these boundaries with family members or roommates.  

Due to the varied forms of conflict, preparing for conflict as a whole can be incredibly difficult. Having a plan to address conflict in whatever form it may take is essential to maintaining control of one’s physical and emotional responses to these inherently stressful situations. 

Coping With Conflict

While preparing for every potential source of conflict can be overwhelming, having a core set of skills that can be employed across various forms of conflict can be incredibly beneficial. Having strategies that can allow an individual with time and agency to use their higher judgment. It can also help to maintain focus on their sober and recovery goals can be invaluable to avoid inherent, instinctual responses or rash behaviors in the face of stress. This feeling of control is paramount for preventing urges and relapse from becoming overwhelming, as well as maintaining one’s sober priorities.

Identifying the Conflict

This step is essential, but not always apparent. Sometimes, conflict can be a result of clear antagonistic words or behavior. However, conflict can also manifest as passive-aggressive tones, body language, or behaviors that seem to ostracise or personally go against an individual. Conflict is not something that necessarily has to be a good guy/bad guy relationship either, but can simply be a result of miscommunication without any bad blood in the mix. Simply identifying a conflict and gathering evidence on why there may be conflict can open the door to a fruitful and honest conversation about the issue. 

Take a Step Back

Conflict can breed a lot of emotions, including stressful responses, frustration, and sadness. Addressing a conflict in these emotional states can alter the way one perceives the situation, as well as make the corrections or consequences more drastic in either direction. It can be helpful to take a moment to step back and practice one’s breathing techniques and grounding strategies. Doing so can help determine what needs to change to resolve the conflict. This is essential in approaching a dialogue with intent and direction while avoiding language that may otherwise further exacerbate the problem. 

Compromise and Forgiveness

Compromise is essential to conflict resolution. However, it also requires participation from both sides, making the ability to approach the conversation rationally and calmly essential. Discussions around the conflict, what it was that affected an individual, as well as offering solutions, can help to reach an effective compromise. Listening to the perspective of others, feeling heard oneself, and reaching a middle ground of transparency is paramount. 

However, these practices need to be reciprocal, and while one can ensure that they are listening and offering forgiveness to work on a compromise, it can be impossible to force another to do so if they are not willing. However unfortunate this may be, it is also important to know when to prioritize one’s own mental health and exit the situation. 

 Taking Care of Yourself

Sometimes conflict can seem unresolvable for a number of reasons. Others may not be approaching the conversation rationally and may need a moment to calm down themselves. Perhaps clashing viewpoints seem immovable due to widely differing worldviews on certain topics. Knowing when to step away and revisit the conflict later is paramount for managing one’s own levels of stress. 

Engaging in self-care and relaxation techniques can help avoid further conflict, as well as ensure that an individual is not compromising their own values as a result. This approach can keep one’s sober goals at the forefront of their mind, all while reinforcing one’s agency and ability to care for themselves first. 

Conflict is a perpetual obstacle throughout recovery, even as an individual reestablishes themselves within the professional and personal spheres. At Everlast Recovery, we understand the need to practice and refine core life skills and conflict resolution in order to maintain a healthy mindset and sober focus. Your time with us can be personalized to fit your needs and goals, and our comfortable, home-like atmosphere filled with understanding professionals and peers can help you begin to employ essential communication strategies to address conflict in your own life. Backed by a plethora of therapeutic opportunities, such as art and music therapy, yoga, mediation, mindfulness, and much more, we are prepared to help you personalize and develop your identity in recovery in a safe, supportive, and intimate environment. For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call (866) 338-6925.

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