Thursday, April 25, 2013

Signal to Noise Ratio

Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 

In engineering, there an idea known as the 'signal to noise ratio'.  In layman's terms, this means a comparison between a desired signal level (i.e. meaningful information) compared to the level of background noise (i.e. unwanted signal)  This may sounds a little confusing to the unintiated but it's really simple to understand.  

For example, a friend of mine's father has a hearing disorder: he refuses to wear hearing aids!  He is a deaf as a door nail!  His signal to noise ratio is awful.  The noise ratio, that is the surrounding sounds (as well as poor hearing), keep him from hearing the person who is speaking to him.  That's why his common refrain is, "What?  What did you say?  Can you repeat that?"  We all dutifully repeat ourselves umpteen times while thinking to ourselves, "For the love of all things holy, please buy a hearing aid for goodness sakes!!!"  

What is your signal to noise ratio in recovery?  Perhaps you have not thought of this concept.  What I mean is are you able to hear the 'voices of recovery' over the noise of the other voices out there (i.e. partying friends, drug dealers, T.V. commercials, etc.)?  Maybe you have not realized how loud the background noise in our culture can be.  It's a good thing to pay attention to so that your sobriety stays strong and consistent.

If you're ignoring the background noise, it begs the question what are you actually listening to?  This would be the 'signal level' I spoke of earlier.  The 'signal' is heard in places like the greater recovery community such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.  You hear it in the 'voice' of writers like Tian Dayton whose classic book Emotional Sobriety is helpful to so many in recovery.  

This week I challenge you to pay attention to your 'signal to noise ratio' as it relates to your recovery.  Pay attention to the sounds around you.  Choose whether or not you are going to listen to them or change the station, so to speak.  Keep your signal high and drown out the noise of anything that opposes your addiction.  You'll be glad you listened!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs. If you or someone you love has an addiction, we would love to help you heal.  If you are in need of detox from opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869)

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