My addict talks to me. Don’t go! I am not crazy. Bear with me, dear reader. Your addict talks to you too. If you don’t believe me, listen in when you are at the checkout in Asda and there is Jack Daniels Honey (your favourite!) on offer. Within reach. ‘Go on….it’s a bargain…‘or even – my favourite…’Buy it for someone else then ‘share’ it...’
The best book I have read – and reread and reread – about the addict is ‘Recovery’ by Russell Brand. And he should know. He has been addicted to everything and he describes the addict voice so honestly….so bloody honestly….that it takes your breath away. You recognise it. Whether you are addicted to sex, food, shopping, work, ebay, drink, drugs or biscuits (and Brand has the full addict collection) the addict voice is more or less the same. I call it my squirmy addict voice. The trick is to recognise it.
Another great book that helped me when I was first sober was Catherine Gray’s ‘The Unexpected Joy of being sober.‘ This book is so good it is prescribed by doctors. Again it’s just astonishingly honest about how selfish the addict voice is. And it introduced me to a sciency thing that actually exists – addict voice recognition. This is the method of recognising your addict voice and writing it down. For the purposes of this blog (and in a vain attempt to shut it up) here is a little taste of mine – maybe more than you can handle?
Everyone is out enjoying themselves. Why are you sat inside? You were more fun when you were out drinking. You looked better. Prettier. Slimmer. You make no effort now. Who would want to go out with you anyway? You miss red wine. And Jack Daniels. It really would be better for you and everyone else if you just went out and had one. Otherwise you are never going to make any friends. And you’ll die alone. Remember how great you looked when you used to drink? Everyone wanted to be with you. You were catnip. You should go out and just have one. Otherwise you are missing out because right now – all over the world – everyone is having fun and laughing and dancing and making friends and really, really laughing and you are lying here with no friends and no make up on like you already died. Just have one!
Welcome to my world.
Take this down
Why not try spotting your addict voice and writing down what it says? At the checkout by the special offers. Late at night as you slyly connect to watsapp. Opening up your emails in bed late at night. Hiding cigarettes. Buying alco offers ‘for Christmas.’ Treating yourself. Over and over again. Hiding clothes in the wardrobe. There is no shame in this behaviour. But the strange thing is that the addict will try and shame you.
The addict is not your friend. The addict is a self destructive part of you that you can learn how to deal with. Like a difficult child. Firmly and fairly. Think Mary Poppins. (Weirdly enough, this was my nickname when I was a secondary school teacher.) The 361 recovery programme helps you to recognise your addict voice. When you write down what it is saying you can challenge it. Sometimes you can see that it is talking complete bullshit. It’s very repetitive. Sometimes, just recognising its favourite catchphrase helps you to laugh at it. (Mine is ‘Just have one!’ This is laughable advice.)
Who is driving?
When you see just how poor the addict’s advice really is, you can then begin to make decisions as to who is driving your life. Would you really get into your car and let your stroppy 14 year daughter drive? No. Well why let the addict drive your life? The 361 can help you to put yourself firmly back in the driving seat. Your addict can shout all it likes from the backseat. That’s fine. Just keep driving.
Find the one thing you can say to your addict that will shut it up. Mine is, ‘If I just have one I will turn into Hyde.’
This is enough to stop me.
The 361 can help you to find that one thing that will make your drive through life a little quieter. Find the one. The 361.
‘Just have one! That should be your catchphrase!‘ Shut up.
Alice Smith 2019
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