‘The Voice’

cartoon whispering lips

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 voice.

That nasty, lying, conniving voice. 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.

I believe that 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", "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 on.

I remember early on when I was getting sober saying out loud to Mr D for the first time that I had a voice in my head trying to convince me to drink. 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 website 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 the Members Feed recently: "I loath my inner booze voice as it has had the upper hand for far too long. So I am dishing some medicine back at IT breaking IT down to manageable back round noise. I have had long discussions with IT and cannot trust IT as far as I can kick IT. It's a war between IT and me and this time I am gonna take the high ground." Yes!!!!

Now it's your turn. What about your addictive voice? What is your Inner Addict whispering to you? Tell us! I promise - doing so will take some of it's power away. That voice in your head that is trying to convince you to drink, what does it say?

10 Comments
  1. Lupita 2 weeks ago

    The VOICE comes out when I feel overwhelmed, hungry, tired, or dehydrated. Some of these factors I have control over (Hungry? Have a quick snack. Thirsty? Make a cup of tea or have a glass of water.) Some of these factors are less in my control (Overwhelmed? Emotional?) I do my best to mitigate them before they happen but if I don’t manage that, that is when the VOICE is the loudest. This is when the self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, etc. creep in and the VOICE puts an arm around me and says, “Oh man, tough day, huh? Let’s have a drink!” Or, “You know you don’t have to feel this. There’s a simple solution. Let’s drink!”

    On a side note, it’s not always just the VOICE but my actual family and friends who do this too! After I quit drinking, my mom said, “Well, honey, I just bought all of this Chardonnay! Who’s going to drink it now?” (Super not helpful, by the way, Mom.) I responded, “I’m sure you’ll find someone to drink it.” And left it at that.

    So, yes, voices, VOICES everywhere! But perhaps the most insidious line my VOICE uses is, “Why are you singling yourself out? You’re not an alcoholic. You haven’t done anything that would necessitate stopping COMPLETELY! That’s just ridiculous! You can be in control, you just like to party sometimes.”

    Well, let me dispel that myth right there, VOICE. Remember that time I wound up in the hospital from alcohol poisoning because I thought I was going to die? Remember that time I slurred my speech and fell over in front of my kids? Remember those times I drove when I was clearly above the limit (because it was *just* a couple of miles down the road)? Remember the times I passed out during dinner because I was so drunk? Remember the time I fell asleep at a concert because I was so drunk? Remember the dangerous situations I put myself in as a woman (walking alone at night, taking rides from strangers, etc….thankfully nothing ever happened!)? Remember the time I blacked out driving and wound up in a city 45 minutes away? Remember the countless hangovers? Remember the unexplained bruises from nights of hard partying? Remember the feeling of overwhelming shame when the kids said Mommy smells like Bourbon or wine when she tucks us in?

    Yeah, didn’t think you remembered. Otherwise, you’d shut the hell up about convincing me to ever drink again.

    F*** you, VOICE!

    You’re right! It does feel good to get this all out! I am a very determined person by nature. I’m surely as hell not going to let my VOICE win ever again.

  2. Kim W 1 month ago

    My addict voice tells me I’m ‘not as bad’ as so many people around me. That even my friends in recovery went way further down the path than me-maybe I have a few more years left in me to try and drink moderately…it is all bullshit! Drinking moderately NEVER worked for me. Drinking is an all or nothing proposition for me. I know that with 100% certainty and each time I hear that whispering voice telling me I’m ok to drink I remind myself of where I was and why I am doing this.

  3. kcgoessober 2 months ago

    Having to deal with anxiety and depression, the alcoholic voice in me always justifies it with, “It has been a hard day. Why don’t you just numb it away with a glass or two of wine.” As the evening progresses, and two glasses have been drunk, the voice will continue to say, “You’re eating a big dinner tonight. Go ahead, have the next glass. Just make sure you drink some water, but, go ahead.” As the evening wears on, and the third and fourth glasses have been drunk, the voice continues, “Meh, well, you are almost done with the bottle. Go ahead, just finish it. You’ve been hung over before, but you recover. And what do you possibly have to do tomorrow? You’re a stay-at-home Mom, nothing.” My alcoholic voice speaks loudly to me, making me believe that being a stay at home parent isn’t very important. That being hung over during the day isn’t a big deal, it just means the dishes and the laundry won’t get done. In actuality, my kids also don’t have a present mother. My husband doesn’t have a present wife. Appointments get put off, meet up with friends get pushed aside. The TV goes on, and it doesn’t turn off. And another day is spent on the couch while the kids trash the house because their mother is hung over. My voice never mentions that. It never mentions the role it plays in making me an absent mother.

  4. memejacobs 2 months ago

    My voice says…”See how you feel right now? You’re shaky, you’re whiny, you’re angry. One good shot and you’ll be just fine. You won’t overdo. It’s ok, go ahead.” I says…”get thee behind me Satan. I’m not caving in. I’m gonna get through these few minutes and move on!”

  5. Noodle71 2 months ago

    The Rational Recovery site is awesome, I loved their tips for battling the inner voice, thanks Mrs D for highlighting this for others to use also x

  6. Elsa1202 2 months ago

    Love it. Thanks for the reminder- vigilance is key. The Booze Bitch is so persistent and even with 32 months AF she still comes a’whispering when I least expect it! She’s not winning tho; I’m not trading this freedom for anything! 😊

  7. Firefly13 2 months ago

    My addictive voice tells me I really don’t have a problem, I’m doing everything expected of me in my life. It also tells me I’ll never be able to quit so why don’t I quit trying to quit. Great article, thank you.

  8. AprilsFool 2 months ago

    Very good information Mrs. D. Much of it I’ve learned from you and so many others as I’ve been journeying along on this train but so helpful to be reminded of again. The wine witch may rest, or even sleep for a little while, but she still wakes up screaming from time to time and, when she does, it sets me back a bit and knock her back down. She’s starting to lose her power – or I’m gaining mine – but it’s important for me to remember that she’s always there lurking in the background.

    And thanks too @truthangel for that tidbit of information from your doctor about how long it takes for the brain to truly recalibrate after ridding alcohol from the body. That’s exactly the question I’ve had for some time but haven’t been able to nail down an answer to. I’m stating my 8th month and am truly recognizing a big change in my emotions. How I feel and think in general and how I react to certain circumstances. It really blows my mind. (No pun intended there) No doubt whatsoever that alcohol is a poison that screws with the brain. I’m gradually relearning to be the person I actually am – instead of who alcohol induced me to be. Thanks.

  9. truthangel 2 months ago

    A good article Mrs D. Thank you. Mine tells me straight out that “You were never alcohol dependent. You never drank that much. 1 bottle of wine, so what. Your aunts drink 3-4 in one day. Bla bla bla bla bla.’ I believe my doctor,who told me that it takes 2 years of no alcohol for the brain to finish recalibrating itself and it can be a rocky ride during that time. I am nearly 9 months A/F. That leaves me with 15 more months of recalibration. I don’t want to start the whole process over again and be unwell for longer. Each day I don’t drink is an amend made to the people I’ve hurt when I was drinking. Also I might be unlucky enough not to have another recovery. I will almost definitely hurt more people including the ones I hurt in the past all over again. I’ll remain on this rocky ride thank you. And the hangover free mornings make it all worth it.

    • memejacobs 2 months ago

      Hangover free mornings? What a blessing and a great way to start the day! Not gonna trade it for anything!

      Not whining…I’m winning!

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