May 2nd, 2007


Weekly Thought Stirring: Language (public)

One of the subtler life-changes in survivors is a change in how we use language and communication. Whether it stems from a sensitivity to particular words, or because we are learning how to communicate openly, we often change the way we use words and language in general.

A great example of this is that we can no longer tolerate the word rape being used in any other context outside of a completely devastating occurrence. No longer is it accepted as a good description of how a test or financial woe made us feel. This can sometimes cause conflict with people in our world who do not understand the gravity of words like rape - but it also provides one of the most common opportunities to raise awareness about abuse. So this change in how we use our own language, and how we view the language of others can actually have a big impact on our world.

But even beyond that, in the recovery period for most survivors, we need to learn a more open and direct form of communication. As we learn to communicate how we feel, we also learn to use language more clearly - especially in the setting of boundaries with friends, family, and co-workers. As the years go by in recovery, many of us adopt a clearer way of speaking, and can even become a bit self-conscious if we feel we aren't describing a feeling or situation clearly enough.

Though it's not something that's often discussed, this change in how we use our language is an important one, as it's also one of the big indicators of our own progress. Where at the beginning of our recovery, we often struggle to find the right words to express how we feel, or ask for help, or even to offer someone else support - we, over time, learn how to do these things.

And looking to our own use of language can actually be a way for you to see when you have made a great step forward in recovery. Every time you encounter a tough situation in which you are able to communicate - it's a huge signal that you accomplished something big. Something we hear often in this community is "It took a lot of strength to share that with us" - and it's true.

Every time we are able to communicate something so personal, it's a huge victory. Every time you make a post here, you're showing that you've made a great amount of progress - simply because you're now able to communicate something you might not have been able to before.

This week's questions are:
- Have you noticed a change in how you use your words or communicate?
- If so, what changes have you noticed?
- What things have you been able to communicate that you haven't been able to in the past?
- How have you been able to use communication to further your recovery?