What might it feel like when you actually begin having a real dialogue with your addict self? One of our favorite examples is from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. In that movie, a computer named HAL, begins trying to take over control of the ship. Dave, the astronaut aboard the ship has tried everything he can to stop HAL, but in the end, he finally resorts to just manually removing the computer’s memory units, in a last-ditch attempt to shut HAL down. All the while, as the computer is being dismantled, it is talking to Dave, trying to dissuade him. “I can tell you’re upset,” HAL says, “Will you stop?” HAL keeps repeating the word “Stop” as Dave removes key components, one by one.
This scene is a great example of what might happen between you and your addict when you first try to confront him. Like the computer HAL in the movie, your addict might bargain with you, plead with you, or try to convince you to let him stay in control — but in the end, remember that you have the ultimate power to pull the plug.
Dialoging can be challenging to learn, and can even seem intimidating when you first begin. For that reason, we have come up with a system we want you to follow, just to get the conversation started with your addict.
Begin by typing or writing out your own name, as though you are a character in a script. Then, say what you want to say to your addict. This can be a simple question like “Are you there?” It’s important to write this out.
For example, when George first started dialoguing with his addict, Porgie, he wrote:
George: Porgie, are you there?
- Now, type or write out the name you have given your addict. This will be his line in the script.
- Wait for your addict’s response.
- Be patient. You may not hear him say anything at first, even if you wait for a long time. This is normal for the first time you begin a conversation with your addict. Like HAL in movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, your addict is likely to suspect you’re trying to regain control away from him, and therefore he might go into a sort of hiding.
- Type or write your question again, and continue to do this, until he responds.
In the Neulia course, we show you an example of James dialoging with his addict self “Jamie.” In that dramatization, “Jamie” at first seems conversational and ready to talk, but almost immediately begins dodging direct questions. This is typical behavior you may see from your own addict.
Instead of saying something outright like “I want to watch porn,” your addict might say something a little more circumspect like “You know what I want to do….” This is a great opportunity for you to really dig into the conversation. Don’t be surprised if you addict acts and sounds a little childish. What you need to do here is assert yourself as the adult.
You can be firm with your addict, because he needs you to be. You would be direct and clear with a child who was constantly acting out, right? You can be the same way with your addict.
Continue the conversation with your addict for as long as you can. Get him to explain to you why he needs what he needs, and show him that you are in control now. Be fair with him, but also remember to be fair with yourself. You are talking to him in the first place because you know he’s been causing problems.
This is your opportunity to be like Dave in our movie example, and start disconnecting HAL – because you can’t let HAL run the ship. You have to be in charge.
If you haven’t already read our blogs on Naming Your Addict and Talking To Yourself, check them out for more helpful tips on getting started in the dialogue process.