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Playing the tape through

What story are you telling yourself about your drinking and drugging?

‘Everyone does it.’

‘I work hard – I deserve it.’

‘It’s my reward for the stress in my life.’

‘It’s what me and friends do.’

‘It’s how I have fun and let my hair down.’

And the truth is, alcohol and drugs can meet the needs we all have: to have fun, relax, socialise and reward ourselves.

But as we say in recovery – play the tape through until the end of the story. If you’re an addict, it might go something like this:

Everyone does it… but why can everyone else get up the next day and cope and function, when I can’t?

I work hard – I deserve it… so why does my partying feel like a punishment the next day? Do I deserve to feel sick, ashamed and exhausted? How hard can I work then?

It’s my reward for the stress in my life… my drink/drugs feel great when I am using but my stress levels skyrocket the next day, creating a vicious circle of increasing stress that I find hard to deal with, unless I have my fix.

It’s what me and friends do… I feel like I belong with people with drink and use like me – or am I just in a comfort zone that enables me to keep my addiction going? Could I be isolating myself from other people and things I am interested in?

It’s how I have fun and let my hair down… it’s a total blast when I use, unless I have too much and do something stupid, or can’t remember what I have done, or spend all my money, or let people down and have to pick up the pieces yet again, or get sick for days. Yeah, so much fun.

Next time you start telling yourself a story about your drinking and drugging, play the tape through to the end before you pick up. In doing so, you may just change the entire story.

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