Language Part 3

Most often, when people state that something is mandatory, it is in an attempt to ensure that the person understands how serious the matter is.  We want others to take the issue seriously and pay attention to what we have to say.  However, overuse of these terms may not have the intended effect. As you may have noticed looking at your journal entries, when we are told that something is mandatory, we may not get that message.  Instead, people may feel helpless, disempowered, confused or even rebellious.

There are other strategies you can use to ensure that the Code of Conduct is taken seriously, while also encouraging resident engagement and understanding.

When we are asked if we will agree to do something, that acknowledges that we are an active participant in the agreement.  We are taking responsibility for our actions.  When asked this, people tend to feel empowered, like they have a role and choice.  This encourages people to take ownership of their responsibilities, allows them to think critically, ask good questions and gain understanding.

Under the social model of recovery, we promote resident involvement.  Phrasing your questions in terms of agreements helps your residents to understand their critical role in recovery housing environments and implements the social model of recovery.

This promotes an environment where residents themselves agree to uphold the Code of Conduct, and they are empowered and understand their critical role.