My natural inclination is to feel so embarrassed and full of shame whenever I have to say I cannot do something that everyone else (non-addicts) can do as a “normal” part of their day.
It is really hard to turn down an invitation to see a movie, for example, that I know will include scenes that might ultimately be triggering for me.
In these moments, I am reminded that I am not “like everyone else” and my inner-voice usually starts that age-old internal lecture about how “nobody would really ever like me if they knew the truth.”
Make your monolog into a dialog (If you can’t call your sponsor)
Obviously, the first (and often most effective) technique is to turn your struggle over to your sponsor or to someone else in whatever program of recovery that you participate in.
But, if for some reason you cannot call someone and let them talk some sense into you, you might consider making your monolog into a dialog.
I believe that responding to your inner “addict” voice directly can be a very effective technique (especially since most of the things your inner-voice suggests may seem persuasive but almost always have paper-thin logic behind them.
Some arguments that always seem to work for me:
- Nobody but you knows why you can’t participate, so there is no embarrassment
- Everybody in the world has things they can’t do
- Many people know everything about me and also still care about me
Everybody Has Problems
My Sister had problems digesting sugar and high-fructose corn syrup when we were kids, so none of us ate desserts when she was around.
I have known many diabetics throughout my life who need insulin and often cannot do everything I can do.
Everybody I know has things that they “can’t do” and have to change their lifestyles to avoid and that isn’t even including all of the millions of people who struggle with the hundreds of substance and behavioral addictions.
Heck, I even met someone once who was allergic to trees (not kidding).
Nobody is perfect and everybody has problems.
Many times we try to compare ourselves to the “outsides of others.”
But that doesn’t fully capture the full irrationality of what we see. I know I often attribute to the “outsides of others” an impossible level of perfection and an impossible level of “cool.”
I know I often attribute to the “outsides of others” a clearly impossible level of perfection and an impossible level of “cool.”
I set up in others a level of perfection that I myself could never attain. A level of perfection to which I could never measure up.
Each of us has our own struggles regardless for us addicts it might be avoiding using a computer without a blocker or avoiding a party with drugs or alcohol present but, most likely, the person we think has it so easy has their own unique struggles too.
So, when I start my dialog with myself, I remind myself that everybody has problems and that nobody is perfect.
I remind myself that there is no shame in doing the right thing.
I tell myself that it is okay to be me.