If you think a loved one has a substance use disorder that is heavily impacting their life and the lives of others, proper communication is necessary. Let’s talk about emotional intensity and why it’s important to remain calm.
Remember a time that was intense: think of the environment, the atmosphere, and the people. Now, think on a scale of 1-10. 1 being absolutely calm and mellow, with 10 akin to someone screaming at the top of their lungs. We like to call the range of 6-10 as “drunk on emotion”. This level of emotional reactivity generally results in spoken statements that are regrettable, unhealthy, reactionary, hurtful, and/or irrational. If you’ve ever written a novella of an email to someone that you particularly disagreed with, you probably know what we are talking about.
Here’s the truth: almost all of the decisions that you make at the 6-10 range will be things you’ll have to end up apologizing for. Revolutions are fought in the 6-10 range. This is not the range of emotional intensity that anyone should be at when trying to convince an addict to go to rehabilitation. Having the self-awareness to realize that you’re not responding well to a situation is the first step in learning how to communicate effectively. Have you ever started to shake, “see red”, or clenched your fist? Does a hard-beating heart sound familiar? Everyone’s body responds in a different way somatically, so knowing the warning signs is crucial.