The Voice That Won’t Shut Up
It’s 3am on a Monday morning in 2016. I am lying in my bed wide awake with heart palpitations, a racing mind and mouth as dry as the Sahara Desert. I countdown the hours in my mind until I will be standing in front of a large room of work colleagues, presenting the Marketing Strategy for the following year; perhaps the most important 60 minutes of my working year is happening in six and a half hours, and I cannot get back to sleep.
I toss and turn as I listen to a meditation app, then a podcast created for insomniacs. No luck. I check the time again and it’s 3.25am. Every minute that passes, is a minute closer to my meeting, and a minute of much needed sleep that I can no longer get. My anxiety builds, beads of sweat form on my forehead, I feel nauseous, exhausted but wide awake. By 4.30am I lose the battle, and wrench my bloated body out of bed and scull my concoction of aspirin, hydralyte and berocca.
And then I hear the voice: “You have to stop drinking Lucy.”
The night before I’d only had just over a bottle of wine. It was not a blackout night. It was not a bad night. It was a standard drinking night (well what I believed to be standard at that time), yet today I feel horrendous, anxious, exhausted, bloated, insecure and completely overwhelmed. My drinking was affecting my life in so many ways, even when I wasnt blacking out or partying until the sunrise.
That voice had been speaking to me for a long time now. Years and years of trying to tell me that drinking alcohol was no longer serving me. That I was never going to be able to successfully moderate, that alcohol would hold me back for as long as I drank. That voice was my intuition, my highest self, my guiding light, my biggest protector. And I continuously shut her out.
What I didn't know back then was that whilst I had such a powerful intuition trying desperately to guide me in the right direction, I also had an even more powerful addictive voice telling me a different story. My evil addictive voice was so intertwined in my subconscious, persuading me that everyone else also drank like me, my drinking wasn't that bad and that I deserved to let my hair down and unwind by getting drunk because my life was so full and stressful. How else would I celebrate, relax and enjoy ‘me’ time?
Our addictive voices are so clever that they make us believe we are consciously rationalizing with ourselves, when actually, we are being persuaded by the primitive reptilian part of our brain (Lizard brain) which believes that alcohol is essential to our survival. It’s as if a pro-drinking voice takes up residency in our head sounding like your own voice, but it’s not. It’s your addictive voice.
Our addictive voice makes us fearful about quitting drinking. You can read all about the most common fears about getting sober and how to overcome them here. It also makes us feel as though we don’t need to stop to begin with, when in actual fact we know that we should stop. (If you’re not 100% sure whether you should quit drinking here you can read about Jen’s 10 red flags that made her stop drinking and also about how you can work out whether you have a drinking problem here.)
When I had finally reached my own version of rock bottom, my inner voice was so loud I could no longer shut her out. “Enough is enough Lucy. Alcohol is and always will hold you back from being the best version of yourself.”
And then began the glorious process of always following my intuition. Making accessing and listening to my inner voice a daily practice. Never shutting that voice out again.
Our intuition or inner voice is a powerful tool for guiding us through life. It can take some time to build up an automatic way of accessing our intuition, especially if we have drowned it out for so long with alcohol. A wonderful practice is to sit in a quiet space, perhaps in mediation or just with your eyes closed. Taking some deep breaths, wait until you start to feel connected in with your body and then ask your highest self a question. Try not to think about the answer, instead allow the question to float around in your mind and body as you wait for a feeling of calm, settledness to take over. When it feels right in your body, you will most likely get your answer. Don’t force this process, it can take time, and if we are not ready to hear the answer it can be a challenging process.
When you think about your own drinking, what does your inner voice or intuition tell you?