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ADDICTION:

HELPING PEOPLE TO HEAL THEMSELVES

My Philosophy

In my experience, you don't recover from an addiction by stopping using. Nor is it about using willpower. Willpower alone will never be enough to sustain breaking an addiction.

Addiction is only a symptom of underlying causes. Addictive behaviors are unhealthy coping mechanisms that the subconscious mind uses to cover up unresolved feelings, such as sadness, anger, resentment, and feelings of low self-worth. Difficulties stemming from areas such as your family upbringing, problems in relationships, or unhappiness in your job might also be the cause for your addictions.

If you don’t know why you have engaged in addictive behaviors in the first place, you will likely continue these problematic patterns. As we work together, uncovering the deeper reasons for your unhealthy choices, you will be able to eliminate your need to use them. We will also become aware of the solutions that will work best for who you uniquely are.

The most common addictive behaviors include:

  • Substance abuse (alcohol and other drugs such as cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana, crystal meth, Ecstacy, etc.)

  • Eating Disorders (over-eating, under-eating, anorexia, bulimia)

  • Relationship addiction (a pattern of putting other people’s needs ahead of your own, choosing partners who are emotionally unavailable, staying in relationships that are not meeting your needs)

  • Smoking and Nicotine addiction (cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco)

  • Pornography and Sex addiction

  • Internet addiction (spending endless hours on the internet, becoming glued to the screen, playing all-consuming video games, spending time at inappropriate sites)

  • Compulsive shopping/overspending (a pattern of impulsively buying things you don’t really need, spending too much money, credit card debt, shoplifting)

In my 25 years as a personal development coach and clinical hypnotherapist, patterns become evident in what keeps people stuck and what they need to break free from an addiction.

There are only a few reasons why people use drugs and alcohol or any other addictive habit. They use to relax, to numb, and to reward themselves. In other words, people use use addictions to cope.

What do you need to change? If you understood the previous paragraph, then you need to change the way you relieve tension. Everyone needs to escape, relax, and reward themselves. Those are essential coping skills for a happy life. But addicts don't know how to do those things without using.

If you manage to stop using for a while, but don't learn how to relax, your tension will build until you'll have to relapse just to escape again. Tension and the inability to relax are the most common causes of relapse.

You’re unconscious mind thinks it is helping you in one or more ways with an addictive habit. If you don't work at the unconscious level to address these things, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again.

There are three keys to recovery and living addiction free that are vital to sustained success:

  1. Learn new coping skills for stress management

  2. Learn how to foster emotional health

  3. Clear the hidden triggers that sparked the addiction in the first place.

This is why hypnosis and other right brain problem solving tools like guided imagery are a powerful compliment to talk therapy and Al-Anon based group support programs.

I know hypnosis will help. I have helped thousands of clients. Many of them have told me that the skills I teach have changed their life. Typically, this takes no more than thirty minutes per day over the course of several weeks.

Pro-actively managing stress is not an optional part of recovery. It's essential to recovery. There are many ways to relax. They range from simple techniques like going for a walk to more structured techniques like self-hypnosis or guided meditation. Self-hypnosis and guided meditation are an important part of that mix because the simple techniques don't always work. If you're under a lot of stress, you may need something that helps you to clear stress at the deeper level of the unconscious mind. Use any of these techniques, or any combination. But do something everyday to relax, escape, reward yourself, and turn off the chatter in your mind.

Numerous studies have proven that relaxation reduces the use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.(1, 2)

Coping Skills

Two important coping skills for recovery are the ability to positively manage stress and the ability to change negative thinking.

Guided imagery, meditation and hypnosis are now being used regularly as an adjunct to mainstream medicine. The evidence is overwhelming that they are effective in treating anxiety, depression, and addiction. We are not taught proactive ways to cope.

Identifying and clearing negative thinking and unconscious triggers are important because negative thinking and unconscious triggers are major causes of anxiety and depression which often underlie addiction. If you can change your thinking and identify the hidden triggers to addiction, you will improve your life.

The Chance to Change Your Life

Your addiction has given you the opportunity to change your life and improve it for the better. 

If you use this opportunity for change, you'll look back and think of your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you. People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. Why would someone be grateful to have an addiction? Because their addiction helped them became their biggest teacher and the catalyst they needed to find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery can help you change your life.

After 5 years of abstinence relapse is rare. A study followed 268 Harvard University undergraduates, and 456 non-delinquent inner-city adolescents. About 20 percent of the undergraduates and 30 percent of the inner-city adolescents were alcoholics in recovery. The men were followed until the age of 60, every two years by questionnaire, and every 5 years by physical examination. The study concluded that after 5 years of abstinence relapse is rare.(3)

References

1) Benson, H., & Wallace, R.K., Decreased Drug Abuse with Transcendental Meditation: A Study of 1862 Subjects: Congressional Record, 92nd Congress, 1st session, Serial #92-1, June 1971.
2) Shafil, M., Lavely, R., & Jaffe, R., Meditation and the prevention of alcohol abuse. Am J Psychiatry, 1975. 132(9): p. 942-5.
3) Vaillant, G. E., A long-term follow-up of male alcohol abuse. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1996. 53(3): p. 243-9.