How to shift communication style from finger pointing/catching him in his lies to more positive methods that result in more beneficial outcomes?


I’d love some suggestions and feedback about this specific situation I’m experiencing with my boyfriend. Usually these hard convos start because he winds up getting caught or cornered into them by way of lying and hiding his using heroin and my finding out and approaching him about this. However, when I notice these behaviors starting their cycle, notice the same patterns starting up, etc… instead of coming from a “I know you’re doing this and you need to admit it and then we get lost in a hamster wheel of bad convo habits and lose sight of the bigger picture and goal” I’d love to be more knowledgeable on some good methods to approach this situation when it happens in a “hey I see this happening and I want to talk about what caused you to make these choices and how we can possibly deter them next time or catch the cause beforehand and shift to a healthier option to release the emotion/stressor behind what’s keeping you stuck in this same pattern of staying clean a few weeks, then using again and reverting back to the old behaviors, rinse and repeat”. Any feedback would be much appreciated.


It sounds like you’re on the right track as far as shifting the conversation from “You need to admit this” to “What caused this?” It was very difficult for me to have any productive conversations with my husband when he was deep into active addiction. His brain just wasn’t in the right place yet to go beyond just thinking about his next fix. And anything he did say, I just didn’t know if I could believe. It took some recovery on both of our parts before we were able to have conversations that were not just reactionary to his behaviors. I realize that may not be helpful if your partner is in active addiction. But i would still try to understand his triggers, and maybe talk about other things that may bring him joy that you can do together or if it’s something for him to do on his own, how you can support. And try to have these conversations when things are going good - not waiting for the next slip or suspicious behavior. What I’ve learned through recovery is that these conversations don’t end once they’re clean. It’s a part of our everyday now - keeping up with our emotions, triggers, mental wellness, physical health, and communicating all of it. Recovery becomes a way of life.


@ltd31015 I think we’ve all wondered this at some point :slight_smile: and even still it’s hard for me to break the pattern of wanting to know when I catch wind that something is up.

Here are a couple thoughts, and this all takes practice and it’s worth experimenting to see what works!

  • Think about timing - when do conversations work out best - eg. likely not when they are using or hungover but can be different for everyone

  • Think about topic - focusing on the negative behavioral outcomes can be more effective than attacking the substance use they are protective over

  • Transitioning the discovery of substance use from a disappointment to a collaborative conversation about the need to step up support - may not get here over night but this is #goals

  • Taking extra care of yourself during these times so that you can be patient and cool-headed. Do whatever you need to avoid fighting and arguing. Even if it’s taking a night off and out of the situation.

What do you think of the above? Have you tried any of these?

Also, when have conversations gone well in the past? Any common characteristics of those conversations.

Also also :slight_smile: we have a whole meetup to go over the CRAFT positive communication principles and the topics we cover in the next 3 weeks all focus on communication around treatment, slip ups and general positive communication skills - linked below:

What to know about treatment and recovery:

Influencing behavior change:

  • Positive communication Nov 20
  • Roadmap to behavior change
  • The antidote to enabling: reinforcers and consequences


Yes :slight_smile: thanks for pointing this out:

And this:

What I’ve learned through recovery is that these conversations don’t end once they’re sober.