How to Trust Your Authentic Voice After Addiction
We all have a voice inside our head that guides us, but for the addict, that voice can be deadly. The voice tells us to use, to ignore the warning signs, to take the easy way out. It tells us who to hang out with to use. It tells us who to avoid because they will hassle us about using. Ultimately, the voice tells us to run from our feelings at all times. But what happens after we go through initial recovery, working our way back into a healthy routine? How do we trust the voice inside our heads again?
First, we need to understand that our authentic self, our authentic voice, does not want to hurt us. Our authentic voice wants us to live, love and thrive, but after consistently using, that voice becomes stifled and beaten down. That voice becomes replaced with another, but it sounds an awful lot like authenticity. Addiction has its own tone. This is one of the hardest truths to recognize after initial recovery. The key to trusting ourselves again is to realize that our authentic voice and the voice of the addict are not the same.
The second step in regaining self-trust is to figure out what healthy is, so we can choose the voice that wants to help not harm. It’s like the old cartoons where a character had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. We always know right from wrong, even if we may not want to make the “right choice.” In the same way, we can always hear the authentic voice, even when it’s almost inaudible. But the only way to make that voice louder is to lean into the good and release the addictive chatter.
Playing the Tape to the End
A quick way to assess your inner voice is a mental exercise called playing the tape to the end. Listen to your inner voice. If the voice tells you that it’s okay to use, it’s probably addiction speaking. Play out the entire scenario in your mind like a movie. Maybe it starts off by going to an old friend’s house, and you both drink or use together. It shows you surviving the experience but playing the tape to the end forces you to look beyond. It shows you becoming depressed for giving in, which could possibly lead to another fix. It shows your parents, friends, or support systems possibly losing the trust you’ve fought so hard to regain. It shows you back on Day 1 of a treatment program after you fought your way through 30+ days of health and wellness.
Now, do the same for that quieter voice, that voice that is crying out for you to listen but isn’t strong enough to get your attention in the same way as addiction. This voice tells you to do almost anything except use. It reminds you that using just once can lead to an overdose. It can lead you back down the path you’ve worked so hard to walk away from. It shows you those negative scenarios and reminds you that there are myriad options for you in this moment other than a substance. But here’s the best part–this voice shows you what it feels like to wake up the next day clean, sober, and proud. It shows you that you are stronger than your addiction. It shows you a new road to health and happiness.
Exercising Your Authentic Voice
We know where the road of use and abuse takes us. It’s time to try a new path, one that will guide us away from danger, toward a new future. Listen, lean in, and learn to decipher the voices that are guiding your way. Because at the end of the day, only you can decide which voice to listen to and which path to follow. You’ve chosen to listen to the addict, now, try listening to your heart.
This can feel overwhelming and impossible on day one, but we don’t walk into a gym on day one and deadlift 250. It takes time to work towards that goal. Every time we choose not to use, every time we pick a healthy coping mechanism, every time we attend group or individual therapy, we are giving that voice a platform and giving it the confidence to guide the way. Every positive step we take brings us one step closer to deadlifting 250. When in doubt, play that tape out!
Recovering from substance abuse isn’t easy. It’s a life-long process of turning away from dangerous behaviors and turning to yourself to find peace. Call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center now if you or an adolescent you know is in need of support. Our residential treatment program can help you get clean and put you on the path to trusting your angel, rerouting your internal GPS to health, happiness, and self-love. Listen to that quiet voice and get help today: (662) 478-9463