This continues the series on drug addictions and how to eliminate them by working through the Addictions grid shown at the bottom of this article.
This week we are going to focus on the Hypnotic Addictive Inner Voice. This is the bullying voice in your head which keeps going on and on about the need to have a drink/fix/smoke/pill, etc.
Often the tone to the voice, is seductive: pleasant, low, smooth and insistent. Some people describe the voice instead as loud, urgent and forceful. A smaller minority tell me they can’t hear a voice as such. Instead they feel the craving getting stronger and stronger as if there were a ‘beast’ on the loose inside their heads. When working with this type of client I typically ask them to ‘translate’ what ‘the beast’ is telling them into words and get them to work with it that way.
Why is the addictive voice so hypnotic?
Because it works in exactly the same way as a hypnotist. It’s aim is to put you in a trance state in which every one of your choices is blotted out, leaving you with only one way to go. As in all good hypnotic suggestions the voice uses repetition, monotony and persistence – confident that, eventually, you will give in just as you have given in many times before. As the trance state builds you will be drawn in to recalling the ‘pleasure’ to be had from indulging; more specifically the dopamine release which could follow on from drinking alcohol, using cocaine, or gambling on the roulette wheels. Conjuring up a state of carefree abandon in which you are relaxed, happy and comfortable in your skin. Or as the stimulated, excited, outgoing, chatty joker in the party. Or having the the ecstasy of winning thousands of dollars.
Typical ‘suggestions’ include:
- ‘You’ve had a tough day. You need to unwind/relax….’
- ‘You deserve this…’
- ‘It’s been six months since you last had a drink. You’ve proved your point now…’
- ‘Just the one…’
- ‘No one will ever know…’ (or) ‘Everyone else will be drinking…’
- ‘You know you really want one…’
- ‘You don’t wanna believe everything John Eaton tells you…’
- ‘The jackpot on that machine is full now….”
- The alternative is so boring…’
- ‘You know you are going to give in eventually so stop hanging around…’
The main reason why the Hypnotic Addictive Inner Voice can seem so overwhelming is because, without your realising it, it feeds on your own power. You give it power every time you ‘relapse’ so that it comes back stronger at you next time. You give it power when you fantasise about how good things will feel after you give in. You give it power by taking it seriously instead of treating it as a delusion. In fact you give it power just by listening to it. Each time you listen you are providing it with the oxygen of attention. Without that oxygen the voice will wither away and die.
So the simplest and most effective way to defeat the Addictive Voice is just ignore it. Note: I said this is the ‘simplest’ and ‘most effective’ way; I didn’t say it was the easiest. Most of my clients find it takes repeated practice before they learn how to switch off, accompanied by a lot of work on the ‘Fulfilment’ quadrant (see grid below). Giving up drink, or drugs, or gambling means breaking a well-established habit. That’s easiest to do when you have some better habits to replace it with.
In a large number of cases there is no need to do any work on the Internal voice simply because it’s power has been eclipsed by tragedy:
- You are told you have a life-threatening illness
- You kill or seriously injure someone else
- Your partner/friends/parents/children abandon you
- You are arrested by the police
- You are found guilty and sentenced to community service or imprisonment
- You lose your job or your reputation
- You are declared bankrupt
- You lose your home
- You lose your driving licence
- You get beaten up, robbed or raped while under the influence
As the person goes into shock the Addictive voice is now seen for what it is: delusional, destructive and degrading. When the state of shock is combined with emotions like disgust and remorse, the power of the voice is broken at least temporarily and sometimes forever. To be replaced by a different voice. One that disempowers the old voice; encourages you along the road to abstinence; reminds you about your need to work with emotions like disgust, sadness, boredom and remorse; focuses you on making amends with your family, friends and other people you may have harmed.
If further work on wiping out the Addictive Voice is required then my client and I will use one or more of the many techniques for overcoming negative Headmind states which I have described elsewhere on this blog:
Switching off the chatterbox
Do you control your mind or does it control you?
How to make that breakthrough