problem drinking

Problem Drinking Hypnotherapy

How do you end problem drinking?

Problem drinking is always about something else. Problem drinkers are trying to manage their feelings with alcohol. What they are suffering is actually the side effects of self medication. A psychological problem needs a psychological solution. Hypnosis provides that solution. Dealing with the underlying problem will automatically deal with the problem drinking.

Hypnosis has been used successfully with many problem drinkers.
The exact approach depends on why you are drinking.
Alcohol abuse is the same as any other substance abuse.
There can be many underlying reasons for it.

But you can usually be helped to stop drinking.

Why are you drinking?

Some drinkers have low self esteem and hate their weakness. They just want to shut down the little voice that tells them they are no good, they just want to feel normal, like everybody else, even just for half an hour, and the drink does that, for a while.Stop Drinking

Some binge drink and don't know why. The drink makes them feel good until the next day, when they feel bad for bingeing: and then they save up the bad feelings until their next binge.

Some drinkers have never learned to coping skills for life's problems. They have come to believe that they cannot function without a drink to give them confidence, to face up to other people.

Some people believe that others are judging them, that they will not be accepted, and drinking shuts down those thoughts, that fear of social situations.

A habit of drinking can come about because of a belief that drinking equals relaxing, and the association is so strong they cannot imagine relaxing without a drink.

Others use drink to reward themselves. Then they they cannot stop drinking because the reward gets associated with finishing: the day, the job, everything.

Problem Drinking psychology

There is a strong psychological element to most problem drinking.
Hypnotherapy will help with the root causes, but the results may not be instant and it may take several sessions to
discover why you drink and how to correct it.

The normal procedure is to find the pattern of problem drinking, what triggers it, and when it happens. This will guide the therapy.

Many people do not connect their drinking with feeling bad or uncertain about themselves. You might be quite surprised about what is actually the root cause.

The basic aim of the hypnosis therapy is to find and correct the underlying emotions, what it is that the drink is being used to deal with.

This is done in one or more sessions. You will become aware of how your mind is causing your problem. Knowing that allow you understand the original cause, and how to remove it.

Hypnosis gets round the problem instead of hitting it head-on. Taking a different approach avoids resistance, works more effectively,  and dissolves the thing that is causing the problem drinking.

Results are good

Most forms of alcohol abuse will respond well to hypnosis. The published results suggest that 75% or more of heavy drinkers are still sober twelve months after ending therapy. Drinkers who are not actually alcohol dependent but have other alcohol related problems such as binge drinking or anger problems usually have an even higher rate of recovery. Problem drinking can be fixed.

Tips to help stop drinking problems

Heavy drinking is bad for you in so many ways. you already know that. It increases your risk of liver disease, anemia, certain types of cancer, heart disease, and dementia. You can put on a huge amount of weight. Cutting back your consumption even by just a little, reduces these risks.

To manage problem drinking successfully, you need to make drinking a planned part of your life. Or no part of your life. Here are some ways that you can do that.

Decide how much you think is acceptable

if you going to drink, then you really need to plan when, and where, and how much. It is a bad idea to just do what you feel like. If you want to have a drink, that's fine, but you need to know in advance how much you are going to drink. If you don't decide on a limit, then you won't know when you've reached it.

Give yourself a target. Become familiar with the recommended guidelines. You need to know how much a unit of alcohol is, and how many you can safely consume per day, or per week. That is the basis of managing your drinking. If you limit your drinking, and take time to enjoy it, you will probably enjoy it more.

Set yourself a long-term goal

Once you know how much you are going to drink, you have to monitor it. Get yourself a little bit of cardboard, and keep it with you. You might want to slide it into your cigarette packet for example. You should also get another bit of card. On that you put down the reason why you want to control your drinking.

Then every time you order a drink, or decide to pour one, take out both bits of card. On the first one you write down how many units that drink is, and why you are having it. At the same time look at what you wrote on the other card.

Have something to eat

If you drink on an empty stomach, you feel the effects of the alcohol much faster. That makes it much more likely that you will drink out of control. Before you have a drink, have something to eat. Eating before drinking will slow down the rate of absorption of alcohol.

If you eat something first, it will take between one and six hours for your body to feel the full effects of the alcohol. Very often you will be home and safely in bed before that happens. You are still drunk, but at least you are not making a fool of yourself in public.

Space your drinks

If you want to get control of your drinking then you should vary what you drink. If you are drinking wine, then after each  glass of wine order a glass of orange juice. Or lemonade, sparkling water, or any other non-alcoholic drink.

If you normally drink beer, then alternate with a light or zero beer. It looks the same, lets you fit in, but it greatly slows down your alcohol consumption.

Keep a diary

To really control problem drinking it is a good idea to keep a drinking diary. Every day, write down what you drank the previous day. Write down what it was, the number of units, where you consumed it. Then write down why you drank. One day a week add up all the units and note how many units you have drunk that week.

You can then compare week to week, and month-to-month, and see if your drinking is getting worse or better. Then every month, compare your actual drinking with your planned drinking, and adjust one of them. You need to measure something before you can control it.

Volunteer to stop drinking

If you are going out drinking with friends you can choose to be the designated driver. Even if you're not going to drive, you can volunteer to be the designated safekeeper. Your job is to make sure everyone else has a good time and gets home safely. Your mates will respect you for doing that and you get to join in and still stay sober.

Stop Drinking cases

How you can stop drinking with hypnosis therapy

Alcohol abuse is usually an attempt to self medicate. These Stop Drinking cases show that the problem is not alcohol itself. In every case the drinker has issues from childhood that they just do not know how deal with. It is easier to escape the feelings with drink. After all, what harm can a glass of wine do?

Stop Drinking Case: the apprentice

This young man came in because he was drinking too much. He was drinking to oblivion four nights a week, and getting hangovers that didn't clear until 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

When I asked him why he drank, he said "I really didn't know why I drink". He wasn't violent, he just drank until it was time to go to bed. Then he would swear off it for a month and somehow start back again.

He looked forward to Friday nights to relax with his mates. And then it all got out of hand. He would wake up with a hangover and no memory of the previous night. Lately he had been missing days from work due to feeling too ill in the morning.

I tried to find the source of the problem but he said that there was no sort of trigger, no particular time. His parents broke up when he was five. He shuttled between them. At age fifteen he was taken out of school because of anger issues.

Now he worked in his dad's firm as a plumber. He felt he was stupid, he could not retain information. His drinking was threatening to stop him completing his apprenticeship.

Exploring the issues
This was one of my most difficult stop drinking cases. I couldn't find a way in to him. He didn't seem to have any emotional issues. He felt that he had got over his upbringing. I suspected that he had not.

I though the anger was a feeling of injustice from childhood. I got him to think about his problem, about why he could not stop drinking.

As soon as I started talking about his feelings he went into trance on his own. Twitching, REM movements, all the spontaneous indicators of trance. I have always wondered if highly susceptible people made their problems worse, or whether susceptibility is unrelated to emotional problems.

Removing the source of alcohol abuse
I asked him to get in touch with his feelings but it took a long time for him to feel anything physical. We started with Metaphor Guidance. He experienced his anger as something that was burning with a lot of smoke.

I got him to put the flames and smoke of his anger/disappointment into a chair. And eventually got him to put a wet towel over it and extinguish it. I then woke him up but neither of us was convinced that we had fixed it.

I started teaching him Self Hypnosis but decided to go for Regression instead. To go back in time to the initial  event you need an emotion to start from. He had no open emotion to work with.

So I started without an emotional target. I put him into trance and kept talking about 'that feeling' without specifying exactly what he should be looking for. I then did the normal regression technique and took him back in time.

He got a memory of his dad holding him by the arm and pulling him away from his mother and trying to put him into the car. He felt lost and confused.

I did Inner Child work on that feeling and he started gently crying. Then as he rescued that frightened child he used to be, he started smiling. I worked through the rest of the technique and brought him out.

He said that he felt the most powerful bond when he went back to the child.

"It's all right now."

Stop Drinking Case:  Sabotaging yourself

I had a client today who binge drinks to oblivion. She hates doing it, but every disappointment seems to trigger something deep inside. The result is she reaches for the bottle and drinks until she goes unconscious. She does it about once a week.

Self sabotage

My initial reaction was that she was drinking to try to avoid something. I got her to talk about her childhood and her upbringing. That was a mistake. She wouldn't stop talking. Words poured out of her.

I had real difficulty keeping her focused on what I was asking her. You get a lot of clients who just can't talk about their emotions. With some clients, asking them to talk about themselves at all is like asking them to pull their teeth out. This client just kept talking and talking.

I finally got control of the monologue and asked her for a specific instance of when she felt she had to drink. She told me that she and her husband are trying to buy a new house. They found a house that seemed ideal.

She put an offer in on it, and then learned it had been sold to someone else. Her immediate reaction was to start drinking, and keep drinking. Her husband is distressed by this, she is distressed by this, but she just cannot stop herself.

Hiding inside the bottle

She wasn't able to explain why she felt this way. She just cannot handle disappointment. I asked her about her feelings in general and it seemed to me that she had quite extreme black and white thinking.

Things either went the way she thought they should, or she fell off the wagon. In her case falling off the wagon means self sabotage with alcohol.

She revealed that she hates the idea of others judging her for her drinking. She started crying and said "I just want to stop drinking this way. I don't want to end up like my mother". It turned out that her mother was a nasty drunk.

As a child she got verbal and physical abuse when her mother was under the influence. I asked if her mother also had black and white thinking. This opened up another torrent of feelings, memories, and opinions.

I was able to work out from that that her mother was almost certainly depressive and angry. All of the stories that she was telling were basically about her mother taking out petty spite on her own children when she was drunk.

Reason for the alcohol abuse

Despite an obvious abusive childhood she took a long time to open up to her real emotions about her mother. She finally acknowledged that her current behavior was really all about trying to cope with the stresses of her childhood.

Every time she felt disappointed, that something had happened to put her down, it triggered memories of the same thing happening when she was a child. Her drinking was an attempt to drown out those unhappy feelings.

I went on to do some inner child work with her, and that seemed to help. I think she's going to need a lot of help to deal with the conflict between loving her mother, and accepting that her mother is the cause of her problems.

On the other hand, I learned something that I hadn't realised before. I learned why some people talk all the time. It is to stop them having to listen to their own anxieties.

Stop Drinking Case: Bob Brewer

Bob came to therapy because his wife insisted that he do something about his drinking. He didn't drink all that often, but when he did he couldn't just go home when he should. Instead he would stay out drinking to the last and then arrive home drunk many hours after he had promised. Drinking Problem

This upset his wife. She thought he was unreliable and disrespectful. She was unhappy and the marriage was under strain. Bob was also unhappy. He loved his wife and family and generally was a good husband, worked hard and contributed to the household.

But when he went out for a drink with his friends he just could not bring himself to go home at the time he had agreed to. He felt bad about his behaviour, he realised it was upsetting his wife.

He did not want to upset her, but he did not seem to be able to leave the bar and go home when he was supposed to. He had thought about his behaviour, tried to understand it, could not see any reason for it, tried to change, but just could not go home at the right time.

The origin of his alcohol problem

Questioning Bob uncovered the reason for his behaviour, why couldn't stop drinking. He had been born in Turkey but his parents left him with his grandparents while they went to Germany to look for work.

Up till then, Bob had a wonderful childhood, living on a farm with his grandmother and dozens of aunts and cousins and cats, dogs, pigs and everything else that a young boy could love.

That all ended abruptly when he was five and half. His mother came to the farm one day to take him away. Suddenly he was living in a tiny apartment, alone most of the day, with adults who were complete strangers and where he couldn't understand a word anyone said.

And instead of a warm loving circle of indulgent relatives, he now had these strangers pushing him around. So he rebelled. He decided that no one was going to tell him what to do. That frightened little boy decided that defiance was how to get control back into his life.

And so he grew up with a determination never to let anyone tell him what to do. He learned that he could happily obey some rules, but would not tolerate anything relating to his personal freedom. He did what he wanted. And this rule served him very well, most of the time.

It got him thrown out his family home at seventeen, but he became successful in business, never working for anyone else, because he would not have anyone telling him when to go for lunch or what time to get to work.

A marriage of alcohol abuse

But then he got married. And he could no longer have everything his own way. He had to make allowances for somebody else. Someone who had their own rights and expectations: who wanted him home by a certain time, and to stop drinking. So now Bob had a problem.

His internal rule was to never let anyone tell him what to do, but if he followed that rule he would make his wife unhappy which made him unhappy. So he found himself in a bind.

Problem DrinkingHe could not go home when he said he would because that meant he was being told what to do in his personal life, but he actually wanted to go home, and he dreaded the phone calls from his wife reminding him to get home on time because that made him even more anxious.

The more anxious he got the more he drank and the easier it was to stay on and drink some more. Part of him wanted to leave and go home to a welcoming wife and family, and part of him was determined to show that he wasn't going to be pushed around.

Logically he knew what he should do, but his mind just wouldn't let him.

Stop Drinking Treatment: Cognitive Modelling

The treatment consisted of getting Bob to accept one part of the dilemma, and to reject the other. The way to do that was to get him to realize that he could control his drinking by controlling the way he thought.

Metaphor therapy is based on the idea that every feeling and memory is associated with a picture, an image that is actually a metaphor that represents that feeling or memory. Metaphor Therapy consists of changing the feeling by changing the image.

I taught Bob how to visualize his feelings, and then how to alter the images that represented the feelings. Then I showed him the Swish Technique and he was able to transfer images that represented success to the image that represented his problem. One cancelled out the other.

He was able to stop drinking immediately and get his marriage back.

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