‘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 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. IT. Trevor. Whatever you want to call it, however you want to look at it, I believe that recognising it for what it – addictive thoughts and not the truth – and facing it head on is key to a happy sobriety. The best way for me to face my addictive voice head on and challenge it’s authority over my brain was to talk about it out loud and write about it in my blog.

My voice would repeat lots of useless, bullshit, manipulative lies. It would say to me; ‘Go on, it’s only wine’ and ‘Everyone drinks so should you’ and ‘You deserve it’ and ‘You don’t really have a problem anyway’ and ‘Life’s short’ and ‘One won’t hurt!’ and so on and so on.

I remember early on when I was getting sober saying out loud to Mr D that I had a voice in my head trying to convince me to drink and I remember how strange that sounded but how truthful it was and how much talking about it helped. 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 at Living Sober 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!!!!

What about you? Tell on your Inner Addict. 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?

  1. Jason 7 months ago

    Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) is from Rational Recovery developed by Jack Trimpey, not SMART Recovery….

  2. Anonymous 1 year ago

    I have too have a IT”S and IT thinks IT can get the better of me. Like you I have opened myself up to the Universe for help with only Positive vibrations.

    The voice in my head is loosing it’s power day by day I am going to celebrate the day IT has been defeated.

  3. Anonymous 1 year ago

    i Wake up and determined not to drink. This is the day! Then a few hours pass and that voice … you can drink. Just a couple, get the small bottle. And by the time I’m off work I’m at the store doing it all over again.
    Morning comes I feel aweful I didn’t stick it out and say no to the voice. Here we go again.
    Hate that voice and why do I listen to it. F$&k!!

  4. Kayla 1 year ago

    Hey what do you do to maintain your sobriety ?

  5. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Wow, I thought my nagging voice was just mine. I thought maybe I needed psych help, or if I mentioned it to any professional, I’d be labeled schizophrenic or something. Phew, I’m normal, what a relief. This gives me determination to say no, well I hope it does. We’ll see around 4pm tomorrow.

  6. Choose wisely 3 years ago

    Inner voice lies. I was really tired other day, and I knew out of HALT I was tired, which can be quite dangerous for me. Evetyhing has been overwhelming me lately, sometimes just practical life stuff. One stolen bottle later, skulled not sipped. Took child’s money to buy another one. Went into blackout, luckily child ran to grandmas, and I went in to smash full length bathroom mirror. So that voice, or I thinking the best way to feel better was wine , was so wrong. I need outer voices of support and thanks for this website. I will not let this slip up trip me up though. LIBERTY from alcohol is a must!!!

  7. Choose wisely 3 years ago

    My inner voice won recently. I knew to used HALT to identify I was tired. Being tired is a real danger for me. I wanted out of my mind, my busy busy mind. I decided wine would shit that voice up. So stole a bottle, bought a bottle. Skilled first bottle so fast, then next and went into blackout. Smashed a mirror in bathroom. So pretty much my rock bottom repeating. Wasn’t going to so many meetings, counselling had stopped…
    It is a very very slippery slippery slope. But this slip up is gonna kick me forward, I will not slip back. I cannot drink to drown anything out. Hangover reminder of days I thought long gone. Huge anxiety, guilt shame, self loathing etc. but today is a new day. And I will remain sober. Or at LIBERTY, my new word. Today I will be liberated from alcohol. Just for today.

    • Anonymous 3 years ago

      I only acknowledged recently the harm coming directly from the inner voice which I have now named the Piss Troll and I have declared war on him! He was what sabotaged all my prior attempts to remain sober. Now, with help from sites like this and other sources, I have the confidence and strength to confront my underlying insecurities instead of listening to the Troll.

    • lisam 3 years ago

      hope you are ok, choose wisely xoxxoox

  8. Elyn 3 years ago

    Hey Stargirl – You must be my soulmate, I’m 55 and have the exact same rationalizing voices – particularly at 5 o’clock or so, like Melissa. I even have the same thoughts at the grocery store. I get over them now by ‘postponing’ them. Not tonight, maybe tomorrow. I also keep the visual in my head of my last Saturday morning hangover – on the couch, head pounding, never getting dressed and never leaving the house. All because I ‘deserved it’ on Friday night, Um, no thanks.

    • lisam 3 years ago

      Elyn: also for me, a hangover means diahrrea, too much information sorry, but my stomach cant handle it anymore, not that that ever stopped me. terrible headache, constantly in the bathroom, eating big bags of cheese doodles instead of real food, getting fat and puffy from all the salt, never getting off my ass on my day off. HOW FUN!!!!

  9. peacelily 3 years ago

    I’m only 20 days sober but my inner voice, who I will call wolfie (and it doesn’t get the dignity of being capitalized, the %$#@! thing) is already speaking up. “You’re making a big deal out of nothing. You’re just a heavy drinker. You’re not an ALCOHOLIC. You’re not one of THOSE. You weren’t really drinking THAT much, and you only got sick drunk two or three times a year. You could have controlled it if you’d really wanted to. You just didn’t want to. But if you wanted to, you could. Now look what you’ve done, you’ve told everyone you’re an alcoholic, don’t you feel silly? I know you don’t want a drink now, but you will. And when you want one, you should have one. It won’t hurt you. You don’t have to stop forever. That’s ridiculous.” And to that I say, “You’re wrong. You know who told me the truth about myself? God, that’s who. And He knows a bit more than YOU do, you mangy lying varmint. I AM an alcoholic. I CAN’T control my drinking. I’ve tried. You know it, and I know it, and we both know I’ve failed every single time. I’m done. Get lost. I am done listening to you.”

    • lisam 3 years ago

      wow, peacelily, this is ME, holy shit. wolfie is telling me i haven’t really tried moderation but I know that I have. One glass equals a whole bottle equals being hungover at work repeat repeat.

  10. JM 3 years ago

    That voice ruled my 20s and 30s. It would order me out of the house to buy more wine after I had already drank a bottle + all sorts of unsavoury behaviour that’s too depressing to write out right now. It would encourage me and tell me I deserved it, I worked hard, I needed to loosen up after a week of teaching. And I came to realize that voice would kill me. It did not matter to it if I looked bruised or battered, or if it killed me. It is ruthlessly selfish and conniving and destructive. And I prize myself much, much more.

    • lisam 3 years ago

      JM: how long has it been since you shut wolfie up? I am on Day 10 and wolfie is screaming about holiday parties and happy hours with my girlfriends and football Sundays at the bar and Friday night after work. SHUT UP WOLFIE!!! I am making it till day 11


  11. StarGirl 4 years ago

    My inner voice also says “C’mon! You’re 55 years old! You can have a couple of glasses of wine, for Pete’s sake! It’s not like you REALLY have a problem, right? I mean, you don’t drink during the DAY… you just have a few glasses at NIGHT, and doesn’t everybody? THEY don’t think THEY have a problem, do they? You are being dramatic. Relax. Look at all those people buying multiple bottles of wine at the grocery store. Do they look like they are concerned? You shouldn’t be. You’re fine. Besides, you can control it if you really want to, right?”

    And now I just answer back, “No, I can’t control it. And yes, I do have a problem. And I will NEVER be hung over again.”

  12. Annie0 4 years ago

    That nasty little voice is very sneaky and persuasive. And persistent! I’m learning to recognise that sneaky little voice and arrest it before it takes an insidious hold.

  13. Davey 4 years ago

    To be honest that’s how my path to getting sober began last November, by shouting at my inner voice. One night in bed, just giving it both barrels and telling it what I was going to do, and that this time I was going to win. I called it “kicking my own ass”, but the way you word it here, I was actually kicking the voice’s ass. And from that day of telling the voice where to go, despite the odd slip, it’s been very quiet and I mange to keep it in the background most of the time.

  14. Flossie 4 years ago

    Thank you all for your comments. Just about every time I pass the wine department in the Supermarket I have the addictive voice that makes me feel a bit wistful about the old drinking days. I imagine the first drink, and the warmth going into my body, but then I say an inner “NO”! to myself and make myself remember how my drinking always ends up…….with me psychologically and physically hooked and feeling sick and guilty and depressed. As long as I can do that I think there is some hope for my sobriety….the minute I can’t remember the horror of it I will be in danger. So I am ending another day grateful to be sober, and that is all that is important.

  15. Rosieoutlook 4 years ago

    The Voice in my head is actually my inner voice now, and not the evil, manipulating one, that I listened to for years. 11 months of soul searching, lots of reading and daily affirmations while doing my walking, is finally paying off.Yeah!!!!!!! How do I know this!? Well, I went to a party the other night, with great people I haven’t seen for a long time, due to living in different towns. I would normally drinking or not be thinking to myself of all my negative trates, e.g I have nothing interesting to say, I’m not the party girl etc. but I had a ball! My inner voice is saying all the positives about me and I had a fab time. I was actually proud of myself that I’m a non drinker now. Loved being able to drop people home and wake up after only a couple of hours sleep with no regrets or headaches!!! I love my new outlook on life and I know if this is how I feel after only 11 months, my life is just going to get better and better:) xxxx

  16. Melissa 4 years ago

    I feel so happy to have come across this site.
    I’m am nearly 22 months sober. My voice is the 5 o’clock voice.
    I can not even explain how much better I feel without alcohol.
    Yet, still, most nights driving home from work, I hear that voice.
    I just try to remember each time, that I am way better off. .

  17. Jessi 4 years ago

    The surprising thing about the inner voice for me is how flippin’ sneaky it is. I mean, out of nowhere, all of a sudden this huge crushing cry for wine, or sometimes a gentle breezy visual of sunshine and relaxation with wine . No idea when it’s coming, but when it does, always a surprise – and no longer a welcome one.

  18. Gilbert 4 years ago

    My inner voice has been sneaking up just quietly now I approach the one years mark.Okay you’ve done it.No one will question you if you just start now and say you took a year off.People will approve.You could begin with having a beer at social functions (I never drank beer) just to get a nice buzz.You wouldn’t have to drink much at all.
    My inner voice has fed me glamorous images of holidays,parties,family events all showing how I can be the life of the party again.
    I think I came quite close and then I thought..hang on..how will this improve my life?
    It won’t and I got a little bit sad but that’s how it is and I have to suck it up and move on.That is exactly what I am going to do without any further dwelling on it.

    • Anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi Gilbert, you are nearly there some 360 days sober , what would it feel like to be back at the big fat zero.
      I completed my first year last Thursday, I got up to watch the sun rise with a mug of very strong coffee, later I walked on the beach and treated myself to a large bar of chocolate, I felt so good.
      Its thanks to Mrs D and this site that I did it, so hang in there , do not give up , the buzz is not worth it , you are improveing your life by staying sober, and you should be very proud of what you have achived.
      Hang in there Gilbert you are not alone.

    • justjane 4 years ago

      @gilbert me too, me too! I am coming up to the year mark later this month, and I have had some niggling thoughts like “OK, you’ve done a year. It wasn’t that hard, so maybe you could just relax a bit ……………………..” They are not thoughts that I take seriously though, I push them to one side and ask myself how will booze make my life better than it is right now. Well, the answer is a no brainer!
      I was at a family gathering last week, and the usual question of “aren’t you drinking?” came up. I told them, no, I haven’t had a drink for nearly a year – the response – “When will you be starting to drink again!!!!!!” They were quite bemused when I said “I won’t be” However, my sister did have a talk with me later, asking how hard it had been, did I miss it a lot, how did I know I had a problem etc: She is thinking hard about her drinking habits now, and this is how it slowly filters through. I don’t mind talking about it to anyone who asks now – in the early days I was just too focused on each day . Life is good.

  19. 20012015 4 years ago

    This post is very timely for me too. Thanks for sharing and it’s great to read others tips on how to talk back or ignore IT – will be using them to help me on this repeat journey

  20. authentic 4 years ago

    Interesting … I imagine my inner addict as this sly well dressed charming arsehole who will happily convince me that my real inner voice, the one that truly believes in me is actually the one lying to me. Go on you weren’t as bad as some people, you didn’t use to have problems stopping so just go back to being like that, you are being dramatic just relax you don’t really have a problem. All of these thoughts can obscure the quieter voice that comes from my soul not my head. That quieter voice says ” be honest, treat yourself like you are precious, all your emotions count”…. I like that voice a whole lot more!

  21. hummingbird 4 years ago

    Thanks for this, just what I needed today. My inner voice has been taking over lately and I got to the point where I wasn’t even feeling guilty about drinking – normally I have a generous side serving of guilt just to beat myself up even more. This is the opposite of loving myself, time to take care of myself, the direction I’m going right now is not good. I am worth it even tho that is really hard for me to believe

  22. elhall 4 years ago

    My inner voice has been saying, “okay, I know you don’t drink anymore but maybe just a few times a year you could tie one on and then go back to sobriety as a routine way of life. How are you going to get through forever without cutting loose once in awhile?” Then I say, what’s once in awhile? Every three months? Are you seriously going to mark your calendar for those occasions? Once you flip that switch again you know what will happen. Best to just keep on learning to live this way and the voice will lose interest.

  23. k1W1 4 years ago

    Mine has been popping up recently but she speaks nicely to me, always has but I have decided that she was trying to protect me from what she thought would harm me (rejection, unkind thoughts, uncomfortable feelings etc) so I am going to turn it around and ask her what she want, and send her lots of love

    • delgirl68 4 years ago

      That sounds like a plan! Wow I love it

  24. Tryingagain2505 4 years ago

    Mine is the “wine demon” and is much quieter these days, but still occasionally rears his ugly head, whispering how I am soooooo boring these days, no fun, look at everyone else with their fancy-cocktails & jewelled coloured glasses of wine: go-on, you haven’t drunk alcohol for 6.5 months now, whatever happened to that fun loving girl, you are so serious these days (boring!!!!). You will be ok, maybe not drink at home but when you are out with the girls, a couple will be lovely!!

    Sorry that is long but he is visiting this weekend, and I just tell him “not today thanks, maybe I will have some next time I am out, as this is MY CHOICE but just not today”

    Thanks for putting up this post, very timely 🙂

    • lisam 3 years ago

      WOW. This is EXACTLY what wolfie is saying to me right now (day 10). “You will be ok, maybe not drink at home but when you are out with the girls, a couple will be lovely!” . WOW

  25. purplegirl 4 years ago

    uugh, I needed to read this tonight. I too from about 3pm onwards have wanted a wine – just felt `meh’. have drunk tea, coffee, herbal tea, juice, milkshake – I am so bloated, have got thru it a tad – and reading this help – that b%$#y voice!!! I have just got back in line enough to recommit until the end of the evening. thankyou.

  26. ChrisL 4 years ago

    My inner voice has been raving on since 3pm today. “Are you crazy you cant give up alcohol forever, its normal to have a drink in the weekend, your not planning to drink the bottle just a glass”. Well it can go to hell .. its not winning today.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Living Sober by NZ Drug Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Built with love by Bamboo Creative and powered by Flywheel. 2019.

Forgot your details?

Create Account