Though, I think I understand the purpose for the quote, “Saying something more than once is nagging”. I struggle with this and not trying to undermine anything, only looking for more understanding to it.
I feel if a spouse or friend who is trying to help someone reach out for help it is considered nagging, but it’s ok for a sponsor, counselor, and doctor to use repeating comments as tools.
The main reason I am asking this question is, after trying to help some friends and family members they have come back and said once I stepped back or stopped, they felt I turned my back on them. It has ruined some relationships, as they felt they couldn’t trust me as a friend any longer because they feel I chose to give up on them and don’t think I would be there for them in the future. The truth was I never gave up, they pushed me away…by reminding me, “Saying something more than once is nagging”. I feel this quote gives them a negative tool to use against the ones who are trying to help, don’t just stand on the side lines or turn our heads away when they see someone in crisis’s mode.
When dealing with someone who has a drug or alcohol addiction, it can be very challenging to strike the right balance in terms of your involvement. It’s easy to be at 0 or 10 on a scale of 1-10, but it’s really hard to live at 5. In other words, being all in or all out is easier than walking a fine line in the middle. You need to be able to speak truth to this person while realizing that they may not respond well to it.
It’s common for an alcoholic to turn the blame on someone else when confronted with their addiction. When someone tells you that you are nagging, it means that they don’t want to hear what you’re saying. They may not want to hear it because they don’t agree or they may not want to hear it because they know it’s true. You may not be doing anything wrong, but the person wants you to stop. I think many people have trouble hearing it from counselors, doctors, and sponsors also; however, it’s even harder to hear from a close family member or friend.
The best thing you can do is speak the truth in love and keep in mind that the other person has to make their own choices and you cannot decide for them. You need boundaries to protect yourself. You can be a part of their life without feeling the responsibility to “fix” them. They need to understand that you will not compromise on truth or on what you believe is best for them. If they choose not to be around you because of your opinion then they have made the choice to shut you out. This does not mean that you have turned your back on them.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.