Recovery Includes Learning Good Listening Skills

What a Drug Rehab Should Have: Learning How to Listen

man not listening to spouse

When a person has become trapped in the confusion of drug abuse, he has probably lost many of his skills. It is clear that drugs impede anyone’s ability to function well or maintain relationships with others. Driven by cravings, his life has become narrowed down to a search for drugs and a web of lies and deceit. Among many of his previous abilities, he may have lost the ability to listen well to others.

He may be lying to his family, trying to hide the truth from them and he may stop communicating with them at all. He might even steal from them to support his drug habit. A common characteristic of someone with a drug problem is withdrawing from his old friends, choosing instead to associate with others who facilitate his drug use. His family may not even recognize the person he has become as he drifts away from those who love him.

man listening intently

Learning to Listen Should be an Ability Gained in Rehab

When the person decides to get clean, one challenge is finding an effective rehab program where he can go and have confidence that he will learn skills which teach him how to remain sober for life. One of the skills he should learn, according to World Health Organization guidelines, is active listening. Being able to listen to others and really understand what they are saying is an important part of human relationships.

A person recovering from drug abuse has to learn how to navigate all kinds of interpersonal relationships and effectively communicating is a vital part of those relationships. This skill is needed to rebuild relationships that may have been damaged during the time he was abusing drugs. It is also essential for his future to know how to communicate effectively with other people, both listening and communicating honestly his feelings and needs.

Active Listening Can Be Learned at Narconon

The Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program includes several courses in life skills or tools a person will need to stay sober long after graduating from the program. These tools include courses which help him learn essential active listening and other vital communication skills.

Using a gradual approach, each person learns the fundamentals of good communication, both speaking and listening. Effective listening is practiced with another person so that each one can hone the skill until he is competent and confident using these skills. Through these exercises, a recovering person learns to face and communicate his ideas honestly and to another person.

The person recovering from abusing drugs has a much better chance of long-lasting sobriety if he achieves competence communicating to others and listening effectively. Without this ability, he could easily fall back into the old patterns that led him to abuse drugs.

Rick Found Learning to Communicate Effectively Helped His Recovery

Rick recovered his sobriety at Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma. He described himself before the Narconon program as a “functioning drug addict.” He said he was doing pretty well in his life except for the drug abuse which eventually spiraled out of control. He lost communication with his wife and children and said he “stopped being a good dad and husband.

Rick eventually told his family about his problem and his parents helped him find the Narconon program. Rick said the part of the Narconon program that had the biggest impact on him was the training in basic communication. He learned how to “listen and really acknowledge what someone said,” as well as to “confront and really communicate with others.”

Rick commented on the overall Narconon experience, “I have the most communication with my parents, my wife, and my kids now. I no longer crave drugs. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

Next > Negotiation

Back to Guidelines on Effective Recovery


Conclusions from a United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1999.