Lies from my internal dialogue.

July 23, 2010

Most of us have one.  An internal dialogue that is.  Seems most of us prone to alcoholism, addiction, depression, or anxiety have a fairly outspoken and unrelenting internal dialogue.  For many of us, it becomes our closest and most trusted companion. So close, many of us don’t even recognize as it speaks to us.  So trusted that we follow its advice, even over a cliff if it told us to.

A breakthrough in my recovery from addiction, anxiety, and depression came when I learned I no longer had to follow the guidance of my internal dialogue.  I could take a break from listening to it until it got wiser and more trustworthy.

I found that the advice that those who had more sobriety and whose recovery I admired gave me different advice than my internal dialogue.  So one day, I decided to take a chance and listen to them instead of my old friend inside my head.  I figured following their advice couldn’t be any worse than the advice I was getting.  They were at peace, I was not.  They had prolonged sobriety, I had not.  I wanted to die, they did not.  They could laugh and enjoy life, I could not.  So what did I have to lose?  My misery perhaps?  It was worth the risk.

Lo and behold, the very first day was a success.  Someone suggested attending an AA meeting a day for 90 days straight.  My internal dialogue balked,  “Only real losers do that.  You don’t need to.  You’re too busy”.  

I eventually got to the point where I would actually speak back to the dialogue in my head.  I would say, “fine, you sit here and debate about the viability of a meeting, the rest of us (body parts) are going”.  And off we went.  Not once did I regret going to a meeting in those 90 days.  My internal dialogue was wrong 100% of the time with respect to meetings.  Instead, the thinking I borrowed from others who suggested I do 90 in 90 turned out to be 100% right.  Every meeting was a new adventure and new lights came on.

My burden of depression and anxiety began to lift measurably.  I remained sober and began to help others do the same.  Yet this was just the beginning.  Now, years later, I am finally learning to be able to trust my internal dialogue much more because it has grown up and recovered a lot.  Not completely, so I am cautious to discern each bit of advice that my head tells me.  But it is reliable far more often than it used to be.

Now, instead of casting a dark shadow on so many things, my internal dialogue helps me see positive and light, even in painful situations.  My internal dialogue is learning to tell me the truth.  This is one of the powers of recovery.  An AA reading states it, “Intuitively, we will know how to handle situations that used to baffle us”.  And, “We will know a new freedom and a new happiness”. 

There is such freedom and serenity being able to trust that your own thinking isn’t constantly setting you up for failure with its lies and negativity.





  1. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I believe that my head is a dangerous neighborhood and it isn’t safe for me to spend too much time there, alone.

    You know how I occasionally bother you for you opinion on some thing or other? Well I was wondering if I could get your two-cents about some of this:


    Thanks and have a great day!

    • So and So…

      A wierd paradox, isnt it. Our own head a dangerous place. And the funny thing is that the more time we spend isolated there, the more dangerous it becomes. We become more rehearsed and habitual at listening to our internal dialogue and our internal dialogue gets crazier and crazier as we go.

      We can benefit greatly from the light of day being shone in by a fresh perspective. It often exposes the untruths of our internal dialogue and can change our world in an very short time.

      Thanks for popping by. Have replied to yours already.



  2. Great post Chaz, reminds me how lazy I am when it comes to reading a blog besides my own, and how valuable it can be. Man, I think it was my first meeting when one of the “bleeding deacons” was pushing the annual float trip on me…my internal dialogue was deafening….these were some pathetically dorky losers….yay, a float trip with these boring toads……and now I’m on their bowling league, golfing with them every week..once I let go of the ego and started to shut that dialogue down, a crazy thing happened…. that voice started serving as a conscience of sorts, a voice of reason. When I’m prone to hate or fly off the handle, it’s the thing that pops up now and says “easy there tiger…”.

    • Amazing how it turns from our worst enemy to a trusted advisor. A ‘consiliere’ of sorts… as th mafia would day.

      • PS Jerry…. whats a float trip?

      • Oh, the float trip….it’s a big deal here in the midwest to go down to the Ozarks and sit in an inner tube and float down a river….a lazy man’s canoe trip. I’m no camper…I love these folks and everything, but floating down a river and sleeping in a tent just isn’t appealing, lol.

  3. […] Lies from my inner dialogue. « Chaz' tour back. […]

  4. Jerry… I guess I was thinking something more complicated. I would imagine one should not advance a relationship too quickly by engaging in communal floating until you really know them. Just healthy boundaries I suppose. LOL.

  5. So glad to hear your progress. Yes, the ‘program’ works.
    But I think it’s important for everyone to know WHO is taking in our head – instead of just making it all bad.
    My head was only a dangerous neighborhood as long as the kid only had the bad parent voice to listen to. Once I started building a Healthy Adult & Loving Parent in recovery I found that my head was much safer than anywhere else!
    This is basically what you’re saying in this post. NOW we can say with more confidence: I KNOW WHAT I KNOW! Yeah. Love & peace.

    • Hi Donna…. thanks for your perspectives. I agree that we can seek out the healthy voices in our heads. I found it was a process of training myself to hear them while at the same time, tuning out and ignoring the unhealty (bad parent) voices.

      The great thing is that over time, the unhealthy voices are seeming to tire and quiet down considerably.

      Today for instance, I came home after 11 hour work day to hear of a significant challenge my wife is facing in her business. I barely heard the bad parent voices who told me to react in fear, rage, and direct me to try to control the situation immediately.

      Instead, I heard the healthy good-parent voice say, “Ok, here we are again at a challenge. Remember all God has brought you through? How is this any different? Why don’t you do the few things you know to do right now without striving, scurrying, or panicking, then surrender the rest. Like every time before, God will show you what to do next. When he does, just get busy and do it. No need to panic. Just do, surrender, listen, trust, and obey.”

      I tell ya, no wait a minute, I can’t tell ya how many times surrender and obedience to this internal dialogue has led to absolute miracles in my life over the past several years.

      I have enjoyed accomplishments in my life that I never came even close to by obeying my old internal dialogue that told me to be fearful, angry, and to strive to control things.

      So yes, our internal dialogue can make our head a great place again.



  6. Hi Chaz.
    Hope your summer was memorable! & that the plumbing is working. 🙂

    On 8/20 you wrote: “Maybe you can comment on this…. why does the bad parent want to throw gas on the fire so often?” The section I added to answer that is in the post ‘INTROJECT, part 2’. Let me know if it’s useful.

    • Summer great! Thanks Donna. Plumbing under control.

      Will be sure to read and comment on your Introject post.

      Much appreciated.



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