the recesses of your mind, lies the Con! Your Inner Con is that
scheming, conniving part of your mind that tempts you to go
back to your addiction! Your Inner Con specializes in seduction.
This inflated fragment of the ego is a subpart of your total
personality. It attempts to manipulate you by focusing on fear
and anxiety. It is exacting, greedy and never satisfied, always
wanting more, more, more of whatever got you in trouble in the
Con is absorbed in totally protecting and preserving itself.
It feeds your fixation and agonizes about not being complete
without using. It seduces, swindles and victimizes you to go
against yourself and your better nature. It divides your psyche
and creates mistrust in yourself. Its purpose is to keep hounding
you until you weaken and give in. It will say anything to get
you to use.
Con is a master of lies to persuade you to use your substance
or activity of choice. It is a fear-based part of you, but it
is not who you are. That treacherous Con is an ego part, which
acts out of negativity and fear.
Your Inner Con is a Ruler of Cutoffs
are big Con lies that cut-off your common sense. They are things
you tell yourself, saying it's okay to use. They are those seductive
whoppers that you tell yourself on the rocky road to relapse.
are any words that help you distort reality. They are falsehoods
you tell yourself to readjust what you consider to be right
and wrong. They include those thoughts, words and behaviors
that trick you into becoming dysfunctional again. Cutoff words
are insidious rationalizations that cause you to throw your
common sense out the window.
help you minimize in your own mind the damage you have done.
They are the whoppers you tell yourself in order to ignore the
severe emotional, interpersonal, and physical consequences of
continuing to use. They rationalize your actions of being okay
with continuing your addictive behavior.
of Cutoffs urges you to engage in dysfunctional behavior. Your
Cutoff part says, ‘I can handle it. It won't hurt me.' ‘Oh,
go ahead, you know you want it. One time won't matter.' ‘I'll
just take one!'
are rampant when you are searching for permission to go back
to your former drinking and drugging behavior. Your Inner Con
is a seductive dictator who uses Cutoffs to lead you back to
are Layers of Denial Before You Are Ready to Know the Truth
About Your Addiction
the most challenging things in life start with the letter D.
Disappointment, difficulties, danger, divorce, dismissal, destruction,
disaster, depression, drugs and drinking and defenses, as in
the biggest D word of all is Denial. Cutoffs are always denial.
When you are in denial, you reject the truth about what is really
happening to you. Addicts move back and forth between these
different layers of denial. Pulling the wool over your eyes
just gives you scratchy eyes.
you are caught up in addictions when one or more areas of your
life are disrupted by your habit. You are hooked if there is
dependence on an activity or a substance that affects your relationship
with your family, friends and job or creates financial or legal
problems. When using becomes the constant focus in your life,
permeates your thoughts and behavior, and defines who you are,
you are addicted.
become so absorbed with your addiction that you don't realize
that you've disconnected from loved ones. It's frightening to
know the truth of how much your addiction has run your life.
It's alarming to realize how much your habit hurts the ones
you love. Resistance manifests as not knowing what is best for
Hey, You Are Human. Humans Are Masters of Denial!
shortcomings and character defects just like everyone else.
If you can't see the truth about your addictive ways of thinking,
ask a trusted friend to give you a reality check. If people
who care about you are telling you things about yourself that
you just can't understand, then you are probably in denial.
The Con works hard to keep you in denial.
are ready to stretch and grow, deeper understanding comes in.
Honesty is the best gift you can give yourself. When you are
ready to know the truth about your situation, you can set yourself
free. You can learn to cut off those Cutoffs and move past the
of the Facts: There Is No Problem!
part will not see any problem associated with addictive behavior.
This part refuses to face facts. It says, ‘I do not have a problem.
I am not addicted to... I can't know about this myself. Don't
tell me about . . . It is not so. I don't want to hear about
this. No problemo!'
of the Significance of the Facts: There's a Problem, But It's
of denial minimalizes the addiction. It says, ‘Yes, so I use,
but it's no big deal. This habit doesn't affect me. I don't
use that much. So what? The situation is not bad enough to warrant
my making any changes. I use just a little bit. I don't do it
of the Duration of the Problem: This Is Just a Short Term Problem!
of denial insists that the addiction is temporary. It tries
to buy time to continue the bad habits by insisting, ‘Yes I've
got a problem but it won't last much longer. Next week I'll
stop using . . . This is only a temporary stage. It isn't going
to last. I'll wait it out. I'll stop tomorrow. Next week it
will be different. I'll get better soon on my own. It will go
of Emotions of the Importance of the Facts: I'm Numbed Out and
the part that feels emotionally paralyzed and focuses on helplessness.
This type of denial digs a hole and jumps right in, instead
of going directly to problem solving. This part convinces you
to believe that you don't have the inner resources to promote
change. It whines, ‘Yes, I know it is important, but I'm immobilized.
It's too much. I can't deal with this. It is hopeless. It's
no use trying to be different. I can't change who I am. I am
helpless in changing how I feel.'
Regarding Public Exposure: I Can't Go Back to Self-Help Meetings!
part is so ashamed, embarrassed and fearful of being found out.
It hangs its head and hides, saying, ‘I can't let anyone know.
I can't go back to meetings. My shame is too great. I can't
admit this relapse to anyone else. I'm so embarrassed and just
can't go public with this.'
Due to Omnipotent Beliefs: I am God and am in Control of Everything!
the culprit at work here. This grandiose part says, ‘I can work
it out myself. I'll try harder and the problem will go away.
I can change on my own. I don't need any help with this. I can
stop using whenever I want to. Don't tell me what to do! Let
me do this all by myself.'
That Fosters False Hope for Future Use: My Drug of Choice is
Still an Option!
part hangs on to the secret hope that you can use someday. It
never truly gives up the addictive thinking. It sees sobriety
as a temporary condition. It is caught in the false hope that
you can go back to the addictive behavior. This denial rationalizes,
‘It will work for me in the future. I'm different now. I can
use now that I've been away from it. I can handle it now. I'll
just take one drink or hit. I refuse to give up my fantasies
of using someday.'
of Family Secrets: Keep Bad Things Secret No Matter What!
is loyal to the family where people are hurting each other.
It agrees to hiding things, saying, ‘I must act as if nothing
bad has happened. I must push the bad things under the rug like
we have always done. I can't share these regrets, fears or worries
with my family members. I have to keep a stiff upper lip and
shove the bad feelings down. I must stay in dysfunctional relationships
that would be better off dissolved.'
of Lifestyle Hazards: I can Hang out at Bars and Parties and
places and things that encourage using can set you up for relapse.
Environmental influences can affect how we act. We come under
stimulus control of triggers that set the stage for returning
to bad habits. This is the denial part of you that looks for
happiness in all the wrong places.
set-ups for using are peer pressure and seeing addictive behavior
as normal and desirable. ‘But everybody does . . . ‘ is the
cutoff that justifies using. Cues in the environment associated
with addictive behavior shout at you ‘Go for it.' The danger
zones are bars, parties, celebrations, holidays and vacations
where alcohol and drugs are prevalent.
craving happen when you drive by your favorite bar, smell cigarette
smoke or go to a party where people are using and you want to
use. A common visual cue such as talking on the phone can trigger
the association with reaching for a cigarette. Or watching a
ball game with your buddies throws you back into your craving
for a beer. Cues that are associated with using reactivate those
memory centers in the brain and set up a strong desire to use.
What you see or what you smell can become what you want!
That Your Friends Can Tempt You Into Using!
encourage you to join them in using are not true friends when
you are working for sobriety. Friendships that are organized
around getting high are not real friendships. The focus is on
getting the desired substance or activity not on intimacy and
connection with others. These so-called friends are rarely there
for you when you try to leave the using scene. A true friend
is someone who is there when you are down and wants the best
friends that enable you to use again. And you are not being
a friend to yourself if you enable yourself in habits that are
not in your best interests.
thoughts that tempt you to go to familiar places where you habitually
used. Arrest those thoughts that say ‘Go ahead, Dude, come on
out to the bar. You can handle it.' Avoid addictive triggers
of those people and places that create in you the desire to
use. Stay away from places where addictive use is the norm,
where you start thinking it's okay to use. Avoid that ‘near
occasion of sin' that does you in!
of Responsibility: Oh Sure I Use, But It's Not My Fault!
it hurts so bad that it's hard to see your part of the problem.
Somebody has to be bad, and it sure can't be you. So you look
outside yourself to find someone else to blame. You don't want
to own the bad feelings so throw them on someone else. This
thin-skinned part takes things personally. It can't stand being
criticized. Then it looks around to see if it can throw the
bad feelings onto others. But there are costs. By blaming others,
you lose your opportunity to grow.
others when you feel bad may bring about a flash of feeling
better. But increased self-esteem at the expense of ignoring
how you create your own misery is transient. Believing it is
not your fault is an insidious Con trick to let yourself off
others is lying to oneself to make your dysfunctional behavior
seem acceptable. Anytime you blame anyone outside yourself for
what's wrong with you is denial, big time! Anytime you say,
‘He/she/they are wrong and they have to fix it,' you're not
owning your part of the problem. This is your Master Justifier
trying to Con you. Rationalizing one's behavior maintains the
denial of it's okay to use.
of Shame Based Feelings: I Can't Let Myself Know How Bad I Feel
a fear-based internal state accompanied by feelings of being
unworthy and unlovable. These deep-seated feelings conjure up
brief, intense painful feelings of mortification due to being
seen as inadequate. Feelings of shame keep us caught in fear
of being found out by others. The perceived deficit is so humiliating
that the person goes to any lengths to hide the flawed self.
of shame that have been put upon us by others include betrayal
and broken trust. Harsh, critical parental behavior produces
shame-prone children. Parent's high expectations of behavior
and disapproval for failure create shame. Parental withdrawal,
rejection or favoritism of a sibling cause deep fears of abandonment.
Parental humiliation and punishment for failure, or distress,
or crying, creates the need to hide vulnerability. The child
feels that he must be really bad or his parents would love him.
In addition, physical and sexual abuses imprint major feelings
of being devalued and unworthy in the victim.
induce shame in your self by engaging in morally inappropriate
behavior. Worrying what others think, fears of public failure
and social disapproval lead to fears of rejection and abandonment.
Having a life out of control due to addictions can foster great
shame, which then makes you want more of your addictive substance
A Voice from Your Conscience
a feeling that we did something wrong. Guilt says, ‘I did something
bad. I was wrong. I must pay.' Violations of society's values
around sexual and aggressive behavior, being different, and
looked down upon by others, are common causes of guilt. Guilt
comes from your conscience that says, ‘Clean up your act.'
about actions, shame is about the self. Guilt says, ‘I did a
bad thing.' Shame says, ‘I am bad.' The shame core builds up
with many events of guilt. Guilt added to shame lead to the
global belief of ‘I am unworthy. I am unlovable,' which must
be avoided at all costs.
is the Shaper of Symptoms
always have a deep core of shame. Shame can hide underground
and stay there. Repressed shame leads to substituting more acceptable
emotions such as anger, depression and anxiety to reduce the
internal tension. Other defenses of shame include macho behavior,
intellectualization and shutting down feelings. Common defenses
against shame include controlling, blaming, criticizing or feeling
superior to others.
shame and guilt cause a lack of trust in others and a deep breach
or separation from your true self. Patterns of dysfunctional
behavior in a person's life usually indicate a strong internal
shame core. Lack of intimacy and connection to others indicates
a lack of trust. Engaging in excessive use of alcohol and drugs
may be an indicator of hidden shame. Engaging in unhealthy behaviors
that society frowns upon creates even more shame. Shame feelings
are a threat to the integrity of the self.
Beating Yourself Up Emotionally
you are in charge, do you carry out others' old role of heaping
on the criticism? You can break into that negative self-fulfilling
prophecy. So, what do you say to beat yourself up?
I'm so dumb
I'm a screw up so I'll act like one . . .
I'm stupid. I'm just a rotten person.
I can't stand these bad feeling so I'll just have a few beers.'
to be addressed if you are to have a healthy, happy life. Grownups
can choose who they become, and you are a grownup now. Fire
your Inner Critic who beats you up. Reject that old negative
prophesy of ‘You are dumb, stupid, a slut, a drunk, etc.' Hire
a Kinder Critic that gives you better reviews. Get one that
sees the brighter side of who you are and gives you credit for
your hard work. Goodby Inner Critic, hello Higher Power.
amends for beating yourself up. Be on the lookout for shame
so you can challenge it at every turn. See your glass as half-full
rather than half-empty. Cancel or terminate those destructive
expectations that have been set up in your mind. They are lies
that drag you down.
the Biggest Denial of All is Denial of Your Very Own Self!
you know all about the different forms of denial, but still
don't get it. The cruelest denial of all is thinking, ‘Yeah,
yeah, yeah, I get it, but I can still use!' This is the biggest
Con talk of all. You know everything you need to know but you
still think you can get away with drinking or drugging. This
way of thinking is a form of treacherous pride that refuses
to know the true understanding of you and your addiction. It
agrees to believe this lie of ‘I know, but I can still use....'
to keep you from becoming who you truly are.
truly betrayal. Betrayal of yourself by your Inner Con.
of the Con
the subtlety of this matter here. Alcohol and drug use are merely
metaphors of how you throw yourself away. See how disastrous
errors of thinking will ruin your life. In this mindset, cravings
will come up, and then off you go to worldly things that alter
your mood and your reality.
this cruel Con talk vigorously. Don't participate in its betrayal.
Don't ignore Con talk. Meet it head on. Step up and see everything
associated with your addiction as forms of the lie in your life.
View the boredom, guilt, shame, desperation, desire, relief,
and the highs for what they are. They are merely barriers in
your mind that you have set up to keep you from finding your
the important things. You are not your Inner Con. Valuing yourself
and having pride in the choices you make is better than choosing
addictions. Remember how satisfying a life free from addiction
who you are. You are love. Whatever the fear, whatever the discomfort,
whatever the craving, find the love solution. Remember to remember.
of the book is $11.95 plus postage and can be ordered from iuniverse.com
or from Amazon.com and Banes & Noble.
many books I've reviewed about addiction relapse in the past
30 years, this is the best. Dr. Namka identifies brilliantly
that a recovering addict's self-defeating self-talk is a seductive
internal "Con," who is a skilled little liar, but doesn't represent
the sum of the recovering person. That means that relapse is
a choice, not a need. She shows with empathy, clarity and humor
that we have a range of other options to choose from, she shows,
and helps us to identify and use them."
The Phoenix and Steps For Recovery
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Talk, Trust & Feel Therapeutics