Addiction can take on many forms and the voice of addiction that plays a role inside your head is an essential part of recovery. By recognizing and understanding the voice of addiction, you are more likely to be able to confront the destructive thoughts that can intrude during your healing journey.
What is the Voice of Addiction?
The voice of addiction, or the addictive voice, is the thought pattern that supports or suggests the use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances that are harmful to our mind and body. Individuals who struggle with addiction and problematic alcohol and drug use are often “of two minds.” Part of them is aware of the problem and wants to make a conscious effort to reduce or stop using substances, while the other part of them wants to continue the behavior.
Common rationalizations the addictive voice may say include:
- I’ve had a hard week. I deserve to reward myself.
- I can have just one; it will be okay.
- I want a relaxing evening, like the good old days.
- I don’t have to quit totally. I can just cut down a little bit.
- I’ll only drink or use on weekends.
- It’s just for tonight and then I’ll quit.
- I don’t have a problem. I can quit whenever I want.
- This time it will be different.
An individual’s internal dialogue, or voice of addiction, may conflict with their choices over what repetitive thoughts and behaviors will benefit or harm them. Two questions the addictive voice will avoid answering include: “How long will I feel good?” and “What price will I pay for my decision?”
Overcoming the Voice of Addiction
Confronting and overcoming the voice of addiction is one of the most challenging and powerful weapons an individual can use against addictive behaviors and substance use disorders. Deactivating unhealthy thought patterns of addiction requires conscious work on the cognitive and physical behaviors that trigger an individual to want to use substances. Regardless of the recovery approach a person chooses to engage in, they can become better skilled at recognizing and confronting the addictive voice, which can lead to more success in achieving long-term or permanent abstinence. It is important for individuals to learn how to manage the voice of addiction in order to maintain a safe, healthy, and productive lifestyle.
“My experience in this profession continues to amaze and humble me,” says Jose Matthew, Clinician at Diversus Health. “I get to witness the resilience, dedication, determination, and commitment to living the healthiest life that one can live despite the trials and tribulations associated with not only addiction, but mental health as well. People allow me to walk that journey with them and this encourages investment in human collateral and the spirit of true-life transformation.”
Activities an individual can do to help avoid the addictive voice include:
- Joining a support group or relapse prevention program to build a strong support network
- Sponsoring others who want to quit using substances
- Giving back to charities or nonprofits in the community
- Making time to get regular exercise, like walking, running, yoga, weight training
- Meditating or spending time focused on spirituality
- Discovering new hobbies that inspire creativity, like drawing or painting
- Connecting with people who support your sobriety
- Learning how to play an instrument
- Joining a sports team
- Exploring a new skill, like gardening, cooking, photography, or dancing
Exercise and nutrition are equally as important for an individual’s recovery from addiction. Practicing healthy eating and exercise habits can help to heal damage caused by drugs or alcohol use, as well as promote physical, emotional, and mental health improvements.
Seek Healthy Support Systems
In addition to regular exercise and healthy lifestyle habits, it is vital to develop positive relationships with caregivers and other social support systems that can lead to successful outcomes when overcoming addiction. Participation in mutual support groups can significantly increase the likelihood of defeating the voice of addiction and maintaining sobriety. Support groups can be an excellent way to enhance an individual’s recovery process during or after receiving professional treatment for addiction.
“People have asked me, ‘Do you think people can really change?’ My answer is always, ‘Yes!” I see it every day and it inspires my practice,” says Matthew.
*If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or a substance use disorder, request an appointment with one of our professional mental health providers at Diversus Health today. If you need immediate assistance, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.