Alcohol & drug addiction

The term addiction means not having control over using, doing, or taking something to the point where it could be detrimental to yourself.

What causes it?

There are lots of reasons why addiction begins. Alcohol for example affects the way you feel, both physically and mentally. These feelings can be enjoyable and create a powerful urge to drink again. 

Being addicted to something means that not having it causes withdrawal symptoms, or a “come down”. Because this can be unpleasant, it’s easier to carry on having or doing what you crave, and so the cycle continues. Often, an addiction gets out of control because you need more and more to satisfy a craving and achieve that “high or good feeling”

How alcohol or drug addiction can affect you

The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. This type of addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects. There are some studies that suggest addiction is genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk. 

Drinking can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger it, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.

Getting help for alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction is most definitely a treatable condition. There are lots of ways you can seek help. You could see your GP for advice or contact an organisation that specialises in helping with alcohol dependency.

Further information on where to find alcohol support is here

Alternatively to speak to someone anonymously about any type of addiction, you can call the Samaritans free on 116123.

How can hypnotherapy help with alcohol or drug addiction?

From my perspective as a solution focused hypnotherapist, and over time, I’ve found that successful habit change boils down to three basic principles.

Motivation.

When you begin to amplify the negative consequences of the habit in your mind, such as what kind of person you will end up being if you continue down that path, measured against the benefits of creating a new, healthier habit for yourself, then you start to raise the priority of making this change.

Even if it’s a relatively small change, like doing the dishes more regularly, our daily actions tell us what kind of person we are. If your daily actions are telling you that you’re being a bit disorganised and sloppy, then how many benefits would you get from building a new habit that tells you that you’re becoming more efficient and productive?

Even the smallest of changes can have profound benefits in how we think of ourselves, and linking small changes to the direction you want to be going in life can make them much more motivating for you.

Basic emotional needs.

What emotional need does the habit meet in your life? When people procrastinate, this can give them a sense of safety and comfort – a feeling that they don’t have to deal with something difficult right now. Arguing with their partner can be a way of letting off steam for some people. Being aware of what need your habit meets, lets you plan for how to meet that need better in a new way.

For example, being sure to reward yourself after doing some work with something you know comforts you, and being able to do it with a clear conscience, because you’ve fulfilled your obligations, can meet a need for comfort even better than procrastination could. Doing vigorous exercise can be a great way to let off steam, and the improvements in your relationship from changing this pattern often means there is less background stress to let off in the first place. So you can find ways to create positive cycles that meet your emotional needs better than the old habit ever could.

Break the habit – literally.

Find a way of doing the habit where it just doesn’t work anymore. This is like taking the components out of a machine or switching them around, until it just doesn’t function. Some clients with alcohol issues I’ve worked with found it tremendously helpful to promise themselves that, if they do drink, they’ll only hold the glass with their non-dominant hand. This has been unfamiliar enough for them to snap out of the old behaviour when they’ve wanted a drink.

A famous psychotherapist, Milton Erickson, once got an arguing couple to promise that the moment they started to argue, they would go into the bathroom, the man would remove his clothes and sit in the empty bathtub, and they would continue their argument, but in song. Of course this transformed the argument into something ridiculous. Soon the couple were able to moderate themselves without ever getting as far as the bathroom. So have fun experimenting with what kind of unusual change in the way you do the bad habit would break it, so that it just doesn’t work anymore, and then promise yourself that if you do relapse at all, which is natural in the early stages, you’ll do it in the new, unfamiliar way.

So if you’re looking to stop binge drinking, stop the self sabotage or just stay off the recreational drugs let me know, and we’ll schedule a free consultation. You can indeed diminish alcohol abuse, and moderate your drinking or drug taking using cost effective and more enjoyable ways using solution focused hypnotherapy.