No sooner have you decided to turn over a new leaf by abstaining from an addictive substance or habit, only to have the conniving and delusional self-talk start in its ceaseless drive to derail your efforts.
You manage to make it through the first few days, but deep in your heart, you know that a relapse is waiting to leap out at you at your weakest moment. That’s the power of thought, and why it is the driving force behind every one of our actions.
Can you take control of the inner con artist trying to entice you down dark paths? Are you able to guide your thoughts down more positive thoroughfares, which lead to better choices?
People often use addictions as a detour around painful and unpleasant emotions. There are many different types of addictions. Some turn to drugs and alcohol, while others abuse caffeine, food, and sugar. There are lots of addictive substances, and there are also no shortage of addictive activities that are destructive to your life as well, including gambling, sex addiction, shopping, work, social media, and theft.
All addictions have a common element, which is their continued practice despite their negative influence and their ability to send a life careening out of control. Addictions derive their power from short-term relief but usually end up delivering a life of long-term chaos.
It’s the short-term benefits that the voices in your head will always refer to, but they never fail to keep the long-term nightmare out of the equation.
In the book, Avoiding Relapse: Catching Your Inner Con, author Lynne Namka labels this destructive self-talk as the “Inner Con.” Addiction is a dark temptress, always fabricating lies in its attempt to get you to have just one more, or that you deserve that expensive jacket even though you can’t afford it.
Your Inner Con is completely self-obsessed and has but one goal, to preserve itself. It feeds your desires by telling you that you won’t be complete if you don’t feed your addiction. It constantly regales you with a convincing sales pitch about how great it will be to use and abuse.
It never lets up, and it will say anything to get you to cave. And when you do slip up, you only receive the briefest of respites before the endless barrage starts up again.
It’s the fear of change which fuels the Inner Con. This is the part of you that is deathly afraid of the painful and unpleasant emotions that will no longer be able to hide behind the addiction. In truth, it’s your addiction given voice.
“Your addiction is not who you are and is but a mere fragment of everything that is you.”
Once you grasp this concept, your addiction transforms into just a single choice of many you can make. Here’s how you can shut the door on your Inner Con and silence the self- destructive sales pitch.
Schedule in time for personal reflection. Change your destructive self-talk habits into a more positive pursuit by taking some time out to meditate, write in a journal, read, pray, or study. If you can make this time a part of your everyday life, then even better.
Write a Journal. Create a list of everything your Inner Con is telling you. Catalog all the emotions you feel when you aren’t participating in your addictive behavior. You can then confide in a trusted friend, sponsor, or therapist.
Change your inner dialogue into positive affirmations. Be mindful of your thoughts, and every time you notice the negative self-talk, tell yourself you are the master and not the slave. You can say no and choose to hang out with friends who don’t pressure you into drinking or pick up a book instead of your phone.
Let your other inner characters have their say. Your Inner Con has been hogging the stage for far too long. It’s time for your other, more positive internal characters to have their moment in the spotlight.
Seek out support. Trusted family members and friends are a great source of support, but so too are 12-step meetings and professional treatment. Consider talking to a therapist to develop the best plan of action. Read more about getting counseling here: Habits & Addictions