Playing The Tape Forward

Date: 19th March 2024 Category: Latest News
Playing The Tape Forward

There is an endless list of tools and techniques for us to use for a whole range of challenges and self-development. From my personal experience, I found them to have too many steps or stages and found myself focusing more on the technical aspects than what I was using them for.

Don't get me wrong in some ways they helped and in others, they didn't.  The act of doing them provided some distraction, on the other hand, I felt disheartened when the outcome wasn't as per the book or how it was explained to me.  "Why isn't it working", "What am I doing wrong" or my personal favourite "and I that bad that these aren't even scrapping the surface".

It wasn't really until I came into recovery that I learned very simple, easy-to-use tools.  A main part of them was that it was using my own resources, things that I already had, in a productive way. We all have positive and negative experiences, both are resources, and sometimes it is the negative ones that can yield the most power. We have a whole bank of memories that we can call upon to help us, so can use them to your advantage.

Look let’s cut the BS, we all know if we do X then the fallout is pretty much going to be Y just as if I don’t do X then the fallout will be Y. So then don’t sit on your pity pot feeling all sorry for yourself when Y happens, you knew the fallout and still did it.  Some context may help.  Friday night the husband is in the pub, he has told his wife he’d be home at 8pm. Arrives home at midnight drunk. He gets banished to the spare room, Wife; “I’m not listening to your snoring and getting woken up every time you go to the loo.”  The husband wakes up the next day with the mother of all hangovers.

They had things planned for Saturday, he is hungover, and she isn’t speaking to him. This is a regular occurrence and has been causing problems in the home, he had said he wouldn’t do it anymore for when they had things planned and would at least text to say he would be late. He knew exactly what was going to happen, and that she would probably be even more annoyed this time.  But he still did it.

If he had just taken a minute to Play That Tape Forward, if I do X (stay out) then Y (she’ll be annoyed) would happen. Remembering the hangover, the arguments, the wasted weekend. “As much as I am laughing with the lads, I better go home, it's not worth the hassle and I said I wouldn’t as we are going away tomorrow night”.

A gambler thinks of having a spin “I’ll just do £250”, plays the tape forward, “Yeah the last time I did that I lost £1000” add an extra layer on that “I felt proud of myself when I didn’t give into the idea”.

The more feelings you can attach to layers the better.  The feelings of guilt and lying when you lost £1000, plus that good feeling of getting home and saying that you had a craving and didn’t act on it.

I often talk about Brain Muscle, the more we use our minds to create tools or positive habits the easier it gets and the more powerful it becomes. It takes some effort to play the tape forward to start, but it gets easier, and you can use it in other areas of your life.

What is my message here, like I mentioned in my previous blog, looking backward to move forward, don’t be afraid to use the negative experiences to help and support you, they have amazing power.  I also find that when people make tools etc own, when we personalise them, it takes them to a whole new level as well as giving more control.


If you feel that addiction or issues around alcohol, or drugs, are impacting areas of your life and you want to explore what options are available to you, please get in touch. One thing you’ll never get from me is judgment. I simply want to support you through your journey and find solutions that work for you so book an appointment today.