An intrinsic part of addiction is conflict, and the need for conflict management. Conflict comes up quite a bit over the course of an addiction struggle, and substance abuse itself breeds conflict like nothing else. Conflict is defined as:
A struggle for power, property, etc. A strong disagreement between people, groups, etc., that results in often angry argument. A difference that prevents agreement. A disagreement between ideas, feelings, etc.
Substance abuse, because it is such an unhealthy, unsafe, illegal, unacceptable, life-threatening, and immoral thing to do, often creates conflict between the addict and his or her family. It also extends to anyone who is trying to get the person to stop abusing drugs and alcohol altogether. This is the truth behind why conflict occurs in the addiction sphere. The individual is abusing drugs and alcohol, and that is affecting his or her life. The result? Conflict.
This is why conflict management and conflict resolution is so vital in an inpatient rehab program. This approach to resolving one of the key results of drug and alcohol abuse is necessary to be included in any rehab model, as the conflict is still going to come up in a recovering addict’s life after he or she graduates from rehab.
Conflict management and resolution is a counseling method that usually involves the addict and his or family, but it doesn’t have to. The goal is to get the individual to spend more time thinking about the needs of other people and less about his or her needs. That is usually what got the person into so much trouble, to begin with, as abusing drugs and alcohol is a very selfish and self-centered thing to do. Thinking selflessly of others can prevent a large amount of conflict from arising in the first place.
Loved ones in an addict’s life may become resentful when they feel as though their needs are being ignored and palmed off into something apparently insignificant. Eventually, if this is allowed to simmer, it boils over into open conflict and a lashing out by both parties. Taking other people for granted leads to trouble down the road for any struggling or recovering addict. Conflict is about how to treat others better; not necessarily about how to better oneself personally.
Conflict Management in History
Since people first started abusing drugs and alcohol in the United States, there’s been conflict management. Whether it took place with the help of the local pastor or minister, or whether it was helped along by a town mediator or official, for centuries conflict management has been a part of addressing addiction.
Conflict management has been around for even longer than that too, even if the situations had nothing to do with addiction. True enough, conflict management and resolution appeared a lot in colonial Britain and even in ancient Asia and Rome. Where there has been some form of group organization of human beings, there has been some kind of conflict management. The truth of this has been shown by how successful conflict management and resolution is, given that it has been in use for so many centuries.
Conflict Management at Serenity
Serenity fully employs conflict management as part of its program. We feel that we would be doing our clients a disservice if we did not include this highly beneficial and powerful technique. We’ve seen simple conflict management sessions create outstanding breakthroughs in recovering addicts where they can truly see the damaging effects that their actions have had on those around them.
We offer conflict resolution for both the person and their entire family, as well. Regardless of each client’s particular situation, we can find a way to apply effective conflict resolution. We particularly enjoy working with clients and their families at the same time, as everyone can heal and grow and improve as a result.
The Benefits of Conflict Management
Conflict management has rewarding aspects that offer quite a bit to those who engage in it. People learn how to be assertive, which means they can deliver clear and honest communication, so there is less risk of misunderstandings. They are also taught to be kind and understanding and compassionate while also being assertive.
There is no passive-aggressive behavior in conflict management, and if anyone comes into a conflict management session with that kind of attitude, it is strongly discouraged. Conflict management, after a few sessions, can reduce passive aggressive attitudes, which allows family members to come to resolutions much more quickly. All in all, conflict management has countless applications and benefits, in and out of a rehab center. Serenity is happy to offer it to their clients because we know just how beneficial and powerful its effects can be.