The Voices in My Head

Group size: 5-25

Purpose: Increase awareness, discern internal self-talk,

Props Needed:  None

Activity Preparation

  1. Be familiar with the different aspects of the role play.

Time needed

  • Directions: 5 min
  • Activity: 40 min
  • Debrief: 15 min

Set Up:  Group can sit in the round or theatre style.

Activity Directions:

  • Designate roles: Newcomer; Voice of Addiction; Voice of Recovery, Player
  • Part 1: The Newcomer
    • This person is playing the role of a typical person in early recovery or simply of themselves.
  • Part 2: Voice of Addiction.
    • This Person is playing that part of us that wants to get high again
  • Part 3: The Voice of Recovery.
    • This person is playing that part of us that wants us to engage recovery
  • Part 4: The Player.
    • This person is playing The role of a drug using peer
  • Introduce a role play scenario
  • 1st role play – Newcomer has 15 days clean, Part 2 very loud, Part 3 whisper.
  • 2nd role play – Newcomer has 3 months clean, Part 2 and Part 3 speak in regular speaking voice
  • 3rd role play – Newcomer has 18 months clean, Part 2 whisper, Part 3 speaks very loud.

 

 

Facilitator script: “Have a seat everyone. Ok today we are going to do some work with the voices in our head. Some of you may have heard people in 12-step meetings talk about the committee referring to the chatter going on in here (point to head). Well we are going to look at what it often sounds like. In order to do this well I need some help.

So I need a volunteer to come up here. (Pick a participant to be the Newcomer. You can ask for volunteers for the remaining roles or you can ask the participant to select the players). Ok we are going to get a good look at what goes on inside your head. You will be called the Newcomer.

Now we need someone to be the voice of addiction. This is that voice in us that wants to tear us down and fool us into believing it is a good idea to get high again. (Pick someone) I need for you to say anything you can to convince him to use. As if your very life depends on it.

Great, now we need someone to be the voice of recovery. This is that voice in us that wants to see us succeed and is basically our inner cheerleader. (Pick someone) So you are going to say anything you can to keep him from getting high. As if your very life depends on it.

(talk to the Newcomer) Great now we need someone for you to interact with. We will call this person the player. This person is going to be offering you your drug of choice. Who would be good for that? (Pick a participant to be the player). So I need for you to be really convincing as to why he should get high with you. Like the stuff you got is really good. I mean the best he has ever had.

Ok great, now we have all of our people. (Put people in their places and review their roles)

 

1 = The Newcomer

2 = Voice of Addiction

3 = Voice of Recovery

4 = The Player

(point to The Participant) Ok you are The Newcomer. You have 15 days clean. You are in outpatient treatment. With 15 days clean you are not exactly sure if this is going to work for you.

(Addressing the voice of addiction) You are hungry and haven’t been fed in 15 days. You are used to getting your way and this is the perfect opportunity to get (point to the Newcomer) the Newcomer high. I want you to be very loud and strong as if there is no questions as to whether or not the Newcomer is getting high today.

(Addressing the voice of recovery) You are very new on this scene, still trying to figure things out and get your footing. You are going to whisper and make simple suggestions.

(Addressing the Newcomer) OK so here is the deal since these two (pointing to the voice of addiction and recovery) are inside your head only you can hear and interact with them. (talking to the player) You can only hear and interact with the Newcomer since they are the voices in his head.

(addressing all roles) Does anyone have any questions about your role or what you are doing?

Great now here is the scenario. You (Addressing the Newcomer) walk into a gas station and run into your old drug dealer. (point to The Player. Now Talking to the Player.) You are very happy to see The Newcomer because you just got some of the best stuff you have had in a long time and are very excited to share it with your old buddy. Convince the Newcomer to get high. And Go!

(let it play on for about 5-7 minutes)

Now we are going to do the same role play but this time You (Addressing the Newcomer) have 3 months clean. (point to The Player. Now Talking to the Player.) You are very happy to see The Newcomer because you just got some of the best stuff you have had in a long time and are very excited to share it with your old buddy. (Addressing the voice of addiction and recovery) You two are going to speak at your regular talking tone and volume. And Go!

(let it play on for about 5-7 minutes)

Now we are going to do the same role play but this time You (Addressing the Newcomer) have 18 months clean. (point to The Player. Now Talking to the Player.) You are still very happy to see The Newcomer. (Addressing the voice of addiction) This time you are only allowed to whisper as The Newcomer now has 18 months sober and is much stronger in his recovery. (Addressing the voice of recovery) This time you are able to speak very loud and strongly rooted in recovery. And Go!

(let it play on for about 5-7 minutes)

Ok and scene… Great job guys have a seat. So what did you all notice?

Debrief

  • What was the experience like for each volunteer?
  • How is the two parts similar to the journey of recovery?
  • Do the two voices sound different for persons in early recovery versus persons in long term recovery?
  • What happened when the client listened to the Voice of Addiction rather than the Voice of Recovery? Did the body language change?
  • What happened when the client listened to the Voice of Recovery rather than the Voice of Addiction? Did body language change?
  • What skills are necessary to strengthen one voice over the other?
  • What happens when we put our energy into the voice that gets us off balance?
  • Which voice to we respond to? Why?

 

Recovery/Wellness Metaphor: This can be a very powerful activity to showcase how the mind of a person in early recovery can be very chaotic and confusing. Many times participants exclaim that this is really what it sounds like inside their head. Process what actions make each voice louder and what quiets them down. For example, going to a meeting and calling a sponsor might make the voice of addiction quieter and make the voice of recovery louder. Listening to music you used to listen to while partying might strengthen the voice of addiction.

Role of Facilitator: Ensure participants are clear on their roles. Guide the role play when stuck. Help process to drive home the imagine of the vices in my head activity.

Variations: Additional Voices may include, the Voice of

  • Higher Power
  • Sponsor
  • Family member
  • Roommate
  • Employer
  • Trauma
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Drug of Choice