Let's talk about 'the voice'. No, not the TV show - the one in your head trying to convince you to drink. The one that whispers sweet nothings when you're vulnerable and promises alcohol will make things better. The one that tells you you're boring for not drinking, that everyone is judging you, that everyone else is having a Great! Fun! Time! while you are a sad sober loser.
That nasty, lying, conniving voice. Otherwise known as your inner addict. The part of your brain that wants you to keep imbibing alcohol to feed the addiction. Wolfie. The Wine Witch. The Beast. IT. Trevor. Whatever you want to call it, however you want to look at it, it's your inner addict.
Recognising that voice for what it (addictive thoughts and not the truth), facing it head on and challenging it's authority, is key to a happy sobriety. And one way to do that is to tell on it. Talk about it, write about it, reveal out loud what it is saying. Don't let it whisper sweet nothing in your ear that go unheard - shout it from the rooftops! And in doing so you will remove some of its power.
My voice would repeat lots of useless, bullshit, manipulative lies. It would say to me, "Go on, it's only wine", "Everyone drinks, so should you", "It's normal to have a drink at 5pm", "You deserve it", "You don't really have a problem anyway", "Life's short", "One won't hurt!" and so on and so on and so bloody on.
I remember early on when I was getting sober saying out loud to Mr D for the first time that I had an internal dialogue about drinking. I stood in the kitchen and said to him, "there's a voice in my head telling me to drink right now." I remember at the time how strange the words sounded coming out of my mouth, but also how truthful it was and how much talking about it helped take some of the power of the thoughts away.
Then I wrote about it in my original blog (here) and a reader commented and said "Yay for you! In Rational Recovery what you did is called addictive voice recognition technique." I went straight away and researched all about this and felt even more prepared to fight that little fucker when it started piping up in my brain. (The Rational Recovery book is here.)
Addiction Nurse Steph also spoke about the Addictive Voice in her interview and included a really helpful website link all about it in which you can see near the bottom of her post.
Members here often talk about their inner addictive voices. This is from @womackm in the Members Feed recently: "This Gin and Tonic Muse is clever as shit. She whispers, “not only were you having MORE fun with the alcohol but you actually looked better! You are missing out, my friend— Don’t you remember….?” And if she’s not using the “you are missing out” technique, she chimes in with the “one day is not a big deal— look how easy the past 28 days have been for you! you don’t have a REAL problem with alcohol. You can take it or leave it… Let’s take it- just this one time….” sneaky witch….."
After posting about her inner dialogue @womackm was able to get some distance from that voice and remove some of its power. See it as her inner addict trying to get it's fix and not the wise part of her that is trying to quit. All of this made it easier to move forward without taking a drink.
So now it's your turn. Tell on your inner addict. What does your inner addict say? What are the sweet nothings that it whispers in your ear when it's trying to get you to drink. Type it out below in a comment. You won't regret it.
Because telling on your inner addict will take some of it's power away. Telling on your inner addict will will make clear that those whispered sweet nothings are not true. And telling on your inner addict will expose the truth - your inner addict is not your friend.
MaoriGirlSober is so right about the voice being a shapeshifter. You don’t recognize it coming at you from a sneaky angle. Mine romanticizes that drink in the garden in a pretty glass. Won’t that be lovely! No! It’s 4 or 5 before you know it and not lovely a bit. Lying shapeshifter can back off! Thank you LS.
I had a 8 months sober that inner voice told me on my 30th birthday dinner maybe you can have one you’ve proved yourself, you don’t have a problem, one won’t hurt. I also had someone drinking in front of me that really set the voice off. I caved I believed the lie. Now I’m 28 days sober and that voice is saying it’s summer your missing out, there is fun to be had blah blah blah . I’m not listening to that bitch again. I want to be fully present this Christmas as I was last Christmas and she ain’t taking that away from me.
I’m 8 months AF and my inner voice, Champers (obnoxious I know) tells me I have proven I am in control of my drinking and now I’m allowed to have a drink when I want to. It’ll just be one and I I’ll enjoy every mouthful and not quaff it like I used to.
She also gets angry with people around me who drink in front of me as don’t they know that’s so insensitive and disrespectful or maybe it’s a sign they think I’m better and I can join in. B@st@rds how dare they do that in front of me!
One day soon your family will say you have done enough and we’re ok with you having a drink now and then……. yeah right
Oh my so true my inner voice said uh oh what are you gonna do when you go to concerts or restaurants you cant drink!!! BORING that’s one another one is well maybe i could just have 1 someday and it will be ok. Another is how am i gonna relax and enjoy shit its not fair its all the bullshit lies the head tells you its so true you have to not feed it it will eventually go away
I’m not sure whether I should be grateful for mine’s tact or angry at it’s cunning because it never says “just the one”. It knows I know myself too well for that. But it did pop up last night. “Oh look, they are re-running one of your favourite shows – Brideshead Revisited” Still time to pop down the dairy and get a bottle before settling in, relaxing (It’s Friday night after all) and watching all those toffs in lovely clothes sipping lovely drinks in lovely rooms at Oxford and lovely Stately Homes. ” Luckily I reminded it what happens to poor old Sebastian in the end, but oh boy was it tempting anyway.
I really struggle with this as there is no voice, it is an over whelming feeling inside my being that is just leading me (screaming) towards the bottle. Since I read this post I have been trying to catch the words that the voice may be telling me. It is so strong, this feeling, and forceful it is very frightening. It can be broken, instantly with certain situations and in recents times I can talk myself around over time with going down the thoughts of how I will feel for the first 5 days after picking up. Thanks for this post, I will keep working on what the voice is actually saying…..if it is saying anything at all.
I know what u mean. The first few weeks its hard. U have to realise this is part of the addictive voice. Imagine a spoilt child whose got its own way for a long time. It’s gonna make u sweat for disobeying it. What I find interesting (and I’m in same boat as u) is the memories u start to experience. Itll remember the one it knows makes u cave…..and if u resist itll go deeper and deeper and farther and farther back. Ull get memories of drinking/using u havent thought of for years…..at the time u probably were having a crap time but the AV somehow tries to convince u they were amazing. Atm u have to accept that anything that tells u to drink/use is not your friend. Also interesting is if you lie down and let the cravings/urge take over u. Dont pick up…just feel it fully and sweat it out let it do its thing. In 30 mins its gone…..and uve won 1 of the battles
I brought the voice of my addiction up two nights ago to my Husband in a flood of tears and explained to him how it makes me feel and the lies it says . I told him the nature of it is sometimes so overwhelming I have to leave certain spaces or I can just be at home doing nothing in particular and it will be doing it’s best to convince me that drinking has made all my situations better (it absolutely hasn’t ) .
I said the voice is quiet and insidious, sneaky and a shapeshifter . Now that I have brought it to light. Y husband has more understanding of my addiction
Esmeralda wraps her anxiety inducing fingers around my rib cage, tightening up my chest so it feels hard to breathe, and whispers: “you need some wine to make you feel better. Just one glass, c’mon you can pour out the rest!”
My friend named the inner addiction voice , Wolfie. Wolfie likes to tell me drinking will be better this time because I’m more emotionally stable. Drinking after my 3 year hiatus will be different. I should try it, if it gets bad again I can just stop again. ( I had to go to a detox to stop ). I wasn’t really that bad before, just overdid it some. Everyone over indulges once in awhile. You will be a better drinker now, look you can go 3 years between drinks. You can just have a few over the weekend.
Sorry Wolfie, I am more emotionally stable because I do not drink.
Mine says….you deserve to relax….one glass. (never one glass….)
Mine inner voice says “it’s ok you’ve got to die of something and if it’s an illness because of how much alcohol you’ve drunk all your life then who really cares”. It tells me I need it to wind down at the end of each day and life is boring without it. I have given up counting how many times I have tried to stop. Yesterday was the first day of spring. No wine. I am determined to use these last weeks of lockdown to help me change this soul destroying habit. If Sophie Pascoe can overcome the adversity she has had in her life to become a great athlete then I can meet this challenge in front of me.
Mine say’s, “You’re still sick even when you’re sober. What’s the point in being sober, when nothing else improves? I will make you feel better instantly. I will be the only thing that will make you feel better. I am the only thing you can rely on.”
I feel sad writing this out. I’ve never said it out loud.
Same. If your going to feel awful all the time, you might as well feel good for a bit, (never mind it’s the wine making all the problems and causing me to feel awful to begin with). Second most popular is you’ve screwed up your body and destroyed yourself …there is nothing you can do to fix it so you might as well drink. I heard a good snap out of it comment the other day- if you have a flat tire you wouldn’t go and pop all the other tires! You would go get a spare!
This is EXACTLY what the Wine Witch says to me! (Hope I don’t offend anyone by stealing the Wine Witch name. I just discovered it reading this blog.) Sadly, this is one of the many, many things she says to me, but your post really resonates with me, Charlotte. Good luck! Starting day 4 today.
Mine voice tells me that I should have at least 1 gin and tonic at 5.00 pm. Then of course she tells me I need wine with dinner. I am learning to laugh at her and have a diet tonic..no gin!! I was doing really well but the latest lockdown just keeps going on and my voice says that I deserve alcohol…..RUBBISH!
damn…the 5pm thing…..I get it too, Suddenly urges out of nowhere
Two weeks without alcohol today. My voice has had me going online and researching the best zero alcohol beers and wines. Previously when trying to reduce my alcohol consumption I tried ‘low’ alchohol beers and wines and found this was a slippery slope and didn’t work too well for me. Hopefully the zero alcohol drinks will be an option going forward. Am not sure if my inner voice is just playing games with me or if this might be an option that will work for me going forward. I did try a single bottle of zero alcohol beer last night. I enjoyed it without feeling like I needed another one. Still taking it day by day but feeling confident about being alcohol free throughout level 4 lockdown and hopefully creating a new habit that doesnt include drinkng every day.
My Wine Whisperer tells me, “ You are so disciplined in every facet of your life. You can learn to be disciplined with wine also. Just make up your mind and do it!” And yes, there’s a part of me that’s dying to believe her………..only, I don’t.
My voice tells me that I don’t really have a problem and one drink out of that lovely bottle of rose won’t hurt. I am in control and after one drink I can put the screw top back on the bottle and put it back in the cupboard. Ha bloody ha and another bottle bites the dust. I reckon the alcohol barons invented screw tops on purpose just to tempt us all.
But now I am aware of it and I tell it to go jump in the lake. (Actually I use ruder words than that) I will not give up my dry July and August and will work on dry September!
Mine has been getting stronger, hence the reason I am here. She’s gone from “it’s a special occasion, one won’t hurt” to “its the weekend, your a grown adult and your allowed a drink. You work hard, you deserve this”. She’s been nagging weekly now. I need to shut her up before I end up falling back into bad habits. It’s nice having somewhere to talk about it without being told one every now and then is fine. Thank you all for respecting each other’s choice to not drink anymore, I think it’s beautiful.
Oh that sneaky bitch. Just when I least expect her she shows up. “You worked hard all week. You deserve a cocktail.”
“Oh wouldn’t a nice glass of red be delicious with this steak?”
“Everyone else is drinking. Are you going to be the only one not?”
NO, NO, and No. STFU!
So grateful that she’s been quiet lately. Hoping she stays that way 🙏🏼
To be honest I didn”t realize how powerful the inner addict was until just YESTERDAY– (she is THAT sneaky) AND… I didn’t realize how important it is to “OUT her “as @MrsD mentions. Because first of all, once i wrote about her here, I got bonanza of support and tips – and frankly the muse just looked weak and pathetic then. But I will not be off my guard because like I said, she is clever, and will show up in all kinds of disguises. Thanks Mrs. D – great post.
The bourbon bitch flashes images of bourbon through my mind while whispering “its okay to have one, you can start over tomorrow” “how long do you think this is going to last—you can’t just NOT drink bourbon ever again” “remember the sweet burn and caramely taste—just take one—no one will know”. Grrr she can be so fucking loud!
Thanks MrsD for the exercise! I will try to call the bourbon bitch out more often!
MIne says, “You know you can’t handle life. You need me to help you. Life is tough, and I am the one that can ease the pain.”
Really starting to lean into turning everything over to my Higher Power.
haha- Mine says-
‘Youre doing it, you are really doing it! You are going to drink! You are going into the wine aisle/ bottle store/ supermarket and buying wine and then you are going to drink it! No one will know- it will be like a little holiday.. think of the taste, that creamy merlot/ summery rose etc.’
Lol- that was fun and I now feel like a total weirdo and wonder what look I have on my face when this happens!