5 Steps to Assertive Communication with Your Alcoholic


Do you remember any of those one way conversations? When you talk and it seems like it’s to the wall.

It may be a common experience for you. That’s just not the way to have effective communication.

Many who visit this site long for communication with their alcoholic only to have it stay pretty much the same.

Here are a five easy to follow steps to more assertive communication. It works with anyone, even your alcoholic.

Let’s start with a premise. Assertive communication requires TWO parts, You and Your Alcoholic.

Even if you seem to be the only on to talk it’s important to include his point of view or position on the issue.

When you do this you are able to take these steps.

Avoid Passive

Passive communication is when you allow the other person’s point of view be the only one in the conversation.
When you don’t say anything at all or you only agree because you don’t want to argue.

It’s not an argument when you have an opinion. It’s OKAY!

An example of a passive statement would be “I know you like to have a few beers when you come home from work”.

This statement doesn’t say anything about how it effects you when he starts to drink again and again.

Let’s turn that into an assertive statement. “I understand you may like to have a few beers when you get home from work. I find it quite obnoxious. I’ll not be in the same room when you’re drinking”.

Avoid Aggressive

When communication is one sided in the other direction it becomes aggressive.

This is when your opinion is the only one taken into account.

You may find this an easy position to take when your alcoholic is drinking or there’s no communication from him.

There are several problems with aggressive conversation.

  • You will not know what the other person thinks
  • Intimidation comes across
  • You’ll not have civic conversation

Start with “I understand”

When you start with “I understand” let it be more than words.

Have you taken the time to understand what your alcohlic thinks? (I know sometimes you don’t really care what he thinks).

When you get inside his head a little you can say I understand what your saying or what your position is on the issue.

Let’s look at an example of an aggressive statement. “I’m sick and tired of finding your bottles all over the house and you drunk on the couch”.

Let’s add the other part to make it more assertive. I understand drinking is you choose to do, I get tired of finding your bottles all over the place and you drunk on the couch. I’m not going to pick up your bottles anymore.”

Clearly state your position

Assertive communication must include both your position and your alcoholics position.

You may find it difficult to say what his position is right now.

One of the most important parts to effective assertive communication is to be clear in what your choice is in the conversation.

If you’re uncertain, think about it before you assert it.

Possibly the worst thing in your effort to speak assertively is to be uncertain and inconsistent.

That is why you need to…

Make a decision
and declare it

One of the benefits you get when you say both positions you have the opportunity to state what you choose.

Your alcoholic may take some time to understand what has happened to you as you assertively communicate.

When you do this more frequently it’ll become easier

Like any other skill, it takes practice.

What is your experience with assertive communication, tell us in the comments below.


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