Monday, November 24, 2014

Rediscovering A Communication Tool

wish this was my shed!
Recently, the hubby and I cleaned out our shed.  It had become a catchall for things we didn’t know what to do with, but didn’t want to get rid of, you know, just in case we needed it again. 

Through the passage of time, some of the things that were placed in there were forgotten.  They became rusted, warped, and no longer usable.  The neglect was evident. We had to choose what was salvageable, what we’d use again, and what should just be donated or tossed into the trash. 

Our recoveries are similar to those long forgotten items in the shed.  We have program tools tucked away for a later date, techniques worn from constant use, and things that didn’t work and were discarded.

One of the tools we rediscovered in our recovery together was FANOS. Some of you may remember me talking about FANOS a couple of years ago. 

It’s a check-in conversation that works like this:

F is for Feelings

Each person shares theirs feelings for the day.  If they felt triggered by anger or disappointment, they can talk it through.  It’s also a chance to share successes and happiness.

A is for Affirmations

This is an opportunity to let your partner know you support them and let them know you love and have faith in them.  Something like, “I promise to have open and honest communication with you.” Or, “I affirm to continue to work on my recovery.”

N is for Needs

If you need your partner to do something, now is the perfect time to ask.  Maybe it’s a request to have patience with you or take time to listen to your concerns.  It’s also an opportunity to let your partner know what you need to do for yourself.  It could be quiet time to write or do step work.

O is for Ownership

This is a chance to apologize for your actions.  “I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier.” Or, “I need to let you know I forgot to do that favor you asked of me.”

S is for Sobriety and Self-Care

If the addict is struggling with their recovery and had a slip, this is a great way to tell their partner.  There’s no yelling in FANOS, only love and support.  It’s also the perfect time to share what you’ve been doing in your recovery to maintain sobriety.  Perhaps you talked to your sponsor, or worked on your steps, now’s your chance to let your partner know.  It will help them feel reassured in your recovery.

***

It’d been quite some time since we used the communication tool.  We’d fallen into a comfortable, albeit stagnant, place in our marriage.  We didn’t think we needed it anymore and it slowly fell away.

But, when you’re married to a recovering addict, and you’re one too, you have to work on your recovery everyday or things can become wonky. You tend to turn inwards instead of turning to your partner.

FANOS is one of several recovery tools we took out of the program shed, cleaned up, and put back into use.  And, things have been smooth ever since. We're back to communicating the way we used to.

Credit for FANOS goes to Faithful and True Ministries


 What’s your favorite way to connect with your partner? Is it time to clean out your communication shed or garage? What about your real storage place, does that need to be organized?



53 comments:

  1. Glad you rediscovered FANOS. (And cleaned your shed out as well.)
    My wife and I have great discussions when we are driving.

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    1. It's funny when and where we have our best conversations. Driving is one of them. We know we aren't supposed to have any major talks before bed but that doesn't stop us. Nighttime is the best for us - no children eavesdropping.

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  2. Elsie I love how this idea of the communication tool. I can see how this promotes closeness with one's partner. I hope you have a beautiful Monday :)

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    1. Thanks, Keith. It really does help us get closer and stay connected emotionally. Happy Monday to you too!

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  3. I love that communication tool. A lack of communication is the reason so many relationships fail.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I should've credited the creators of it: Debbie and Mark Lassiter.

      Communication is vital, especially in a marriage that has issues like ours. Thank you!

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  4. Communication was not common in the dragon cave. Everything was dealt inwardly. It is a new practice now and we're finding out it is very helpful and allows us to work out things that cause us stress. Since we are new at it, sometimes things don't go the way we plan, but we're learning. I'll keep the FANOS in mind. Thanks, Elsie. Dragon Hugs!

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    1. We've been learning how to communicate properly for four years. It took a long time for us to get it right and there are times we still struggle because we were so used to only trusting in ourselves and not wanting to take a risk with another person. I hope FANOS can help you too. Hugs to you and yours, Father Dragon!!

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  5. My wife and I have been communicating quite well. The garage, however, is way past due for a cleansing. Along with all our closets, storage areas, and basically every corner in the house. Living in a trailer leaves no room for storage.

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    1. Yay! I'm glad things are going fantastic at WD's abode. Yeah, I can relate to the clutter. We still have that spare room with way too much crap in it. Slowly but surely hubby's going through it but it feels like forever. Before we moved, my house was tiny tiny. Everything was up in the attic. What a nightmare!

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    2. Things are going fantastic! Through much trial and error, we have finally found a compromise that works for us both. We are more in love with each other than we ever have been, and it gets stronger every day.

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    3. Aw, Dan, I'm so happy for you and your wife. You deserve all the happiness you're experiencing - even though you can be mean to me at times. haha

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  6. No garage for me, but I got a closet stuffed with tons of crap, that count? lol You may have to speak to the cat, he's a rather rude communicator.

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    1. You just reminded me of that episode of Friends where Monica had a secret closet crammed full of stuff. Funny

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  7. I'm glad you guys are still working on your relationship! :) My hubby and I talk but he can be hard to talk to sometimes cause he'll get mad. And I cry easily too if anything he says is perceived by me to be a putdown or criticism. But we do try to talk and stuff.

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    1. Devin used to be the same way. He'd get so frustrated and not know how to express it, it came out horribly. It took us a long time to learn how to talk properly to each other.

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  8. The shed? I can so relate.
    Very soon after we returned from Iceland (good grief, ten years ago), I bought a 4' X 4' piece of drywall from Home Depot. When Mrs. Penwasser asked me why in the world I would do something like that, I replied, "Well, you never know when we'll need it."
    LAST summer, I cut off a 6" X 6" piece of the drywall (which had spent the preceding nine summers in my shed) to patch a piece of the garage I had nicked with the John Deere tractor (another story). Once I had repaired the damage, I strode confidently up to Mrs. Penwasser and declared, "See?? I TOLD you we'd need it eventually!"
    Strangely, she was not impressed.

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    1. Oh my gosh, Al, that sounds just like Devin. It may take ten years but by God, he needed it just this one time. See, I told you so! Hilarious! I'm usually not that impressed either.

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  9. This post is so good Elsie!!
    Always I think in that. Many problems we have is for a bad commuinication.
    Sometimes with hubby we talk when we travel in car to my mom´s home or when we go to some place!
    AT the night is bad:( He always arrived tired and Im too:))

    Thanks by worry by me!! these two weeks are hard and busy, Esperanza have to make a test for University and she is stressed so I go with her to Psicology and try to look how is her. Sigh!
    And always go to my mom and dad the weekends, well you know!
    Hugss and love dear!!!
    I had a post three days ago but Ditto was working in the PC and only today I can posted:)
    xo

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    1. I agree, Gloria, nighttime is the worst time to try and communicate - we're just too tired to do it right. We usually hang out in our bedroom before we actually go to bed and sleep. But, even then, we have to make sure we're both up to it, or it can be a pretty terrible conversation. Best of luck to Esperanza on her test. I'm sure she's going to do great - she's your daughter after all. Hugs!!

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  10. I try not to think of my shed or my attic as both are crammed with so much that needs to be gotten rid of. I'm certain most of it belongs in the bins. There's the "if you haven't used it in a year, you don't need it." A rule I should adhere to.

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    1. That's the exact rule I used when we opened up the shed. If I haven't touched it or missed it in a year, I don't need it. So, we donated most of it - beach stuff - to Goodwill.

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  11. Glad to hear you guys are still working at it as hard as ever. As for us, the wife and I have found that we just can't do normal arguments. So we take a walk around the block and talk. The walking helps keep both of our heads clear, and if we're in public we resist the urge to raise our voices and say things we regret. Really, it's helped us a ton in talking things out.

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    1. We do the same thing, Bryan!! If it's a pretty sensitive topic, we'll take the dogs for a walk around the "big" block - it's over a mile. That gives us time to talk and not have to worry about it turning into a sniping match. Love that we do the same thing!!

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  12. Cleaning is super challenging. I want to get rid of lots of things but deciding on what we need and what to get rid of is so annoying. We end up making our own choices. Although we donate lot of things, I find we can always get rid of more.

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    1. Every season I go through my closet and try to get rid of stuff. It's hard though because clothes are so expensive and I'm always thinking, one day I'll be a size two again - but really, I know it's never gonna happen again. One of these days I'll admit it to myself and donate all those small clothes to Goodwill.

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  13. There is a fine line, isn't there? I think we all want to be better. So, when we feel better, we decide we are better. And we set aside the tools we used to get better.... assuming it was a permanent thing. But it doesn't work that way. Anything we want must be maintained or it gets lost. Sounds like FANOS is one of those tools. We want to put it away when we feel things are better, but if we do, things won't stay better. Circles. Circles. Circles.

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    1. You are exactly spot-on, Robin. We reach that level of "hey, things are going really well" then we're left wondering why they don't stay that way. It's because we've left behind the things that got us in the good place to begin with. Gotta keep the good stuff in place even if we don't feel like we don't need them daily anymore.

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  14. I always speak my mind. Have done so since we started dating in the year dot. That way there are no misunderstandings.

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    1. That's the best way to do it, Blue. Just have to make sure you say it nicely. I have a terrible habit of being a bit too blunt.

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    2. I know what you mean, as do the people around me...

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  15. I want that shed too!

    Glad you found the tool you needed and it did the job. I don't think a lot of people have those skills at their disposal.

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    1. I know right! It's adorable! Our shed is a boring plastic. Blah! I'm glad we found FANOS too. It's been such a great communication tool for us.

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  16. Is that your shed? If it is-how pretty!! Now that is a great tool for any relationship! It can be with your partner or a family member or even a friend. I am happy to say I try to do all those things and have done them. Communication is so key and part of that is listening and accepting-very difficult to do

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    1. No, it's not my shed. I wish it were, it's really pretty. Especially compared to the one I have. A drab grey plastic with a dark grey roof. *yawn* I agree, Birgit. I think this is a great tool for anyone who has problems communicating, not just addicts.

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  17. FANOS is a great tool for all couples, even non-romantic partnerships. I like it, and I learned it from you, Elsie. Thank you. I'm thinking that George could use some work on F. Me, on all the others. Will keep this one readily accessible in the tool shed.

    Hugs!

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    1. I think so too, Robyn. Many couples, not just addicts, have problems being able to say what they want to say for fear of rejection or hurting the other person. FANOS creates a safe place for communication. I have a difficult time with F sometimes. Like I don't want to burden Devin with my feelings but that's the wrong way to think about it. Glad you'll use it!!

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  18. Favorite communication tool? I've always been partial to "I'm hungry", lol! (sorry for lack of seriousness, long day)

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    1. hahaha! I think that's my kids' favorite communication tool but it's more like, "what's for dinner?"

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  19. Glad you found something that works so well for you.

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  20. Just finished clearing out the basement - I like FANO. Thanks.

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    1. Such a great accomplishment and one that makes you feel good too!

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  21. This is a great technique that I would imagine has great outcomes. Kudos to you guys for having enough self control to do it. Communication is something that could save many marriages, granted the other person is willing to listen.

    My fiance and I have a communication technique we call the Sicilian-Cuban bomb. Its an explosion where no one listens and we just scream...then we sit mute angry that no one listened to each other and diffuse. A while later we have a rational discussion....but it is always the bomb first. Hey, we are two leos...odds are against us in the "quiet" field. Lol

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    1. It has a much better outcome than our old way of communicating which was not communicating at all. Just a bunch of walls being thrown up, things not said so we became bitter - just not good. FANOS is waaayy better! I had to chuckle about your Sicilian Cuban bomb. That's like how we used to be. haha

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  22. that is a pretty cool acronym...and i can def see where it would work as it gives structure to the communication...communication is such an essential part of relationships....

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  23. FANOS sounds like great tool, good think you rediscovered it

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  24. Hey Elsie,

    Yep, it's me. Who? Anyway, I like how you use positive resources, a toolbox of therapy, conducive to your well being. Acronyms to be remembered. . My communication with my son has been greatly enhanced since we are now living in our own separate places. Of course, the enhancement was cleverly concocted by Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

    Have a peaceful, positive weekend, Elsie.

    Gary

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  25. Good to know that you found such a great tool that works for you !!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.