What are Five Obstacles to Effective Communication and How Can I Get Past Them?

Early recovery is like getting a second chance at life. Getting clean and sober is a start, but one also needs to learn a whole new way of life, including new ways of communication. This can almost feel like learning a new language, and you can face obstacles along the way. Rest assured that there are ways to get past these obstacles.
Obstacle 1 – Low Self Esteem
If you have low self esteem, you will find it hard to maintain a healthy relationship. You might be so focused on wondering what others think of you or feeling unworthy of anyone’s love and respect that you push people away without meaning to.
Obstacle 2 – Perfectionism
In recovery you might often find yourself putting pressure on yourself to be perfect. It’s impossible to say the right thing every time or to create a perfect image in others minds. It is important to understand that the most authentic relationships are not showy, but honest and accepting of others.
Obstacle 3 – Shame
People who have struggled with addiction feel a great deal of shame, especially in early recovery when they have just begun to face the consequences of their actions. If this shame is left unchecked, it can be paralyzing. Feeling shame will direct your focus inwards, preventing you from being attentive, listening and being engaged in the conversation.
Obstacle 4 – Dishonesty
When a person is actively struggling with addiction, they can be dishonest as a matter of course. Lying and manipulating others allowed them to continue their drug use and seemed essential for their survival at the time. In recovery, dishonesty is a pretty big obstacle to effective communication.
Obstacle 5 – Lack of Boundaries
Someone who is struggling with addiction usually has difficulty establishing healthy boundaries. They may say yes when they mean to say no, or stomp on other people’s rights. In early recovery it is common for people to trust others too soon.

Essential Skills For Effective Communication

Communication skills are something you can learn, and many addiction treatment programs emphasize them. Some ways to get over the obstacles to effective communication are:
Being Assertive
Rather than using familiar tactics like lying and manipulation, you are encouraged to be assertive. This doesn’t mean being pushy, but taking the approach of honesty and straightforwardness to prevent misunderstandings. Being assertive is having the confidence to say no when required, making specific requests, establishing eye contact and not blaming others.
Communicate with yourself in a positive way. Our inner voices are often our worst critics. Challenge negative self talk with repeating positive affirmations and praise for each step you take towards recovery. Support yourself.


Empathy involves stepping into someone else’s shoes and attempting to understand their thoughts and feelings. It is a fundamental human capacity, and one of the first to be lost during addiction. Attending self help groups during recovery can help restore empathy.

Effective communication skills are important. Don’t let the lack of them derail your recovery. Oceanfront will help you become a better communicator and give you tools and positive strategies for dealing with life’s challenges. Call us at 877-279-1777 to get started.