A Framework for Facing Confrontation

A Framework for Facing Confrontation

For those in active addiction, dealing with conflict is likely an impossible task and possibly one of the underlying causes of their substance use disorder (SUD). For those in recovery, confronting issues or people who have hurt you may seem very hard to do without using substances.

No matter where you are in your recovery journey, or if your loved one or someone you know is struggling with SUD, dealing with conflicts and confronting the hard issues are necessary on the road to one’s overall sense of well-being. This is a key part of the framework to being sober or helping someone along in their sobriety. 

How to Confront Someone

Most people are never taught a framework for dealing with confrontation. It can be a difficult task that may seem hard to face. However, having an approach will help guide you through the best way to confront someone over conflicts you may be experiencing. Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do when dealing with confrontations: 


  • Identify the source of conflict: Why do you feel the need to confront someone? What is the source of the conflict? Make sure you can clearly identify and articulate the main issues of conflict.


  • Remember your points: After you’ve identified the source of the conflict, be prepared to discuss specific examples of why you were hurt or feel that you were treated unfairly. Do not be afraid to write these down so that you can clearly communicate the points of conflict and how they made you feel.


  • Actively listen: Make sure you are taking the time to listen to what the other person is saying to find compromises and solutions. You are not actively listening if you are thinking of a response while the other person is talking or disregarding what they are stating.


  • Look for solutions: A big part of confronting someone over areas of conflict is to leave with a compromise or solution that will move both parties forward. Whether you agree to disagree, feel the need to remove yourself from the person or environment, or seek to find common ground, finding a solution that positively moves you forward is the desired outcome.


Do Not:

  • Confront someone with extreme emotion: If you confront someone when you’re highly emotional, those emotions may make the conflict worse instead of better. Even if you want to confront someone in the moment, be sure to take a few deep breaths and calm down. Being more emotionally stable will help you better communicate your points to resolve the issue.


  • Place blame: When confronting someone, try to avoid using phrases such as “Your actions made me feel” or “You did this on purpose.” Instead, use “I” phrases such as “I felt bad when” or “My feelings were hurt after.” These types of statements allow you to take ownership of your feelings and help the other person not become defensive in their responses.


  • Make a threat: It is never good to threaten someone while seeking resolution. Using threatening language or words will only intensify the conflict and break down communication between the parties.


Finding the Proper Setting to Address a Conflict

In addition to knowing what you should and shouldn’t do, you need to find the right place, time, and setting to address a conflict. 

First, make sure you are in a safe location. This is especially important if you are confronting someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You can select a semi-public location, such as a local coffee shop or a mutual friend’s house. If you feel that the confrontation may be too much for you to handle alone, take a trusted friend along with you that will provide support. 

Next, try to address a conflict during the early part of the day. Earlier in the day is when you may have the most energy and are more prone to be in a better mental and emotional space.