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  • Writer's pictureChoice Recovery


Where does purposeful listening rank on your list of priorities? If low, it might be worth reevaluating your priorities. Purposeful listening is one of those skills that can advance your life and recovery exponentially. For a good listener, life becomes easier, relationships are healthier, and the voice of addiction gets quieter.

Most studies about listening reveal two things. We gain the majority of our knowledge through listening and we retain 25% to 35% of what we hear. These same studies blame our ego or selfishness for why we retain so little of what we hear. In most conversations, we are more focused on our desires rather than those of the person communicating. These selfish desires create so much internal noise that it prevents us from listening with purpose. While we might be quiet and appear to have some interest in what is being said, in actuality, all we are doing is formulating how we will respond, which limits our ability to retain what is being said. The second step to purposeful listening is learning how to interpret what is being said. In most cases, we are basing what we hear on our beliefs, judgments, and biases. This interpretation is limited to our experiences which can keep us closed to new information or the true feelings/intent of the one saying it. If we fail to dig deeper into what the person communicating is truly saying, we have most likely missed the meaning of what was said. Failure to listen with purpose is why there is so much miscommunication in the world today. Think of the time wasted at work when you complete tasks contrary to how your boss wanted them done. How often do conversations with a spouse, friend, or partner go sideways simply because you respond in a way that misinterpreted what they are feeling? To eliminate these miscommunications, the experts suggest using a few listening tricks:

  • Listen without judgment.

  • Ask questions about what is said before responding.

  • Repeat what you heard.

  • Learn from the information being shared.

  • Be aware of what you do not know.

Using these listening tricks will improve your communication with others, but they will transform your life when use with yourself. Being able to accurately interpret what our mind and body is telling us carries enormous value in life and recovery. As we enter recovery, we want to stop listening to the voice of rationalization and find the voice of honesty. Through feelings, emotions, and moods, our mind, body, and spirit tell us precisely what we need. Unfortunately, we tend to interpret what is said through rationalization rather than an honesty and this is what makes recovery so hard. However, there is a simple solution to this problem; it is to apply the tricks from above to those internal conversations we are having. Listen without Judgment: Is it possible to listen to ourselves without judgment. Is it possible to listen from a place of who we are trying to be rather than who we were? As thoughts and feelings become present in your soul, work on accepting them rather than judging them. It is not the thoughts that create our problems; it is our reaction to those thoughts. With acceptance, we honor how we feel, yet act based on who we want to be. Ask questions about what is said before responding: What if we asked the simple question “why” when a thought or feeling takes control of our being? What if we investigate where an emotion is coming from rather than make reactionary decisions based on it? There is a reason our mind and body is speaking, so let’s find out the why and where behind what it is saying. Doing so will identify the root cause of your feelings which allows you to address them in a healthy manner. Repeat what you heard: This is genius. When a thought or feeling enters your being repeat it aloud or write it down. Repeat it two or three times. There is no easier way to identify if the thought or feeling is coming from your addiction or is rooted in honesty. By repeating it or writing it down, the idea becomes real, making it easier to determine if acting on it propels your recovery or addiction. Learn from the information being shared: Recognize why you fight certain statements and accept others. Become aware of why you ignore or follow certain advice. Understand why you fail to finish certain commitments yet are wildly successful with others. Through continuous learning, you stop the merry-go-round of addiction and build a foundation for life and recovery. Be aware of what you don’t know: Many of the decisions we make are based on the unknown or limited information. Making decisions when we do not have all the facts or are only acting on our own experiences can make life more complicated than it needs to be. There is an easy fix to this problem; ask questions and ask for support. You have plenty of people who want to assist you on this journey; use them. There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed if you don't know the answer to a questions. The fact is, nobody has all the answers in life. Choose to make life easier; listen purposefully!


Recovery is about so much more than simply stopping the use of drugs and alcohol. It is about building a life that you love. Choice Recovery, located in Mesa, Arizona, is about helping individuals find their purpose in life, so they can become who they want to be. Through group and individual counseling sessions, as well as, personal coaching, Choice Recovery looks to help individuals transform their lives.

Choice Recovery is MAT friendly outpatient addiction treatment program that accepts AHCCCS insurance including Mercy Care, Banner University, and others. Whether suffering from opioid dependency or the desire to drink every day, the Choice Recovery substance abuse program can be of assistance. Please contact us with questions or for enrollment at or 480-527-0337.


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