One of the most important things we learn in recovery is to listen to others. When we stop listening to others and only listen to ourselves, we in essence have taken back our self will.
When we get clean and sober, we try to surrender our will and we begin to take advice from others, whether it is a counselor in a treatment program, an old-timer at a twelve step group, our sponsor, or anyone else who may have the knowledge we need. Surrendering can feel very wrong, like a negative, but to maintain our sobriety, it is what we must do. Our own thinking is likely part of what got us into our addiction to begin with or at least kept us there, so we need to give up and surrender our self-will.
By listening to others in recovery, it is possible to benefit from their experience. Other people can be “fountains of knowledge” and can inspire us to work at our recovery, perhaps change our future plans, or open us up to opportunities that we might have missed.
Sometimes, listening to another person can help them with a problem they may be experiencing – while we may not be able to help him or her physically, listening attentively to them may be what they need.
We have to keep in mind that what we sometimes need to hear is not necessarily what we want to hear and we must learn to focus on the “need” and not the “want”. This is one lesson I personally have had to learn and work on constantly, because I know to do otherwise is fatal to my recovery.
Paying attention to others and focusing on what they have to say can be rewarding, for both yourself and for them.