How to recover from alcohol addiction?

Since 2009, Wayne Donnelly has been helping people to create a change in their thinking to create a change in their life and life’s results. In 2005 he had his own battle with depression and was referred to a hypnotherapist. In several sessions, he was turned around – from ending a life to embracing life. When the GFC hit at the end of 2008, Wayne retrained to help people the way he had been helped.

For many men, the stress of life can build up inside of them over time, and this has certainly been amplified during Covid-19. As the stress grows, they develop habits to help them find a way to relax and ease the stress. In essence, they are trying to find a way to change the way they feel. Self-medication is a common coping response. This can take the form of smoking, drugs and/or alcohol, food, exercise, sex or other outlets.

Alcohol is not the Solution 

Inadvertently, they have created a new program of behaviour in the unconscious mind. There is a problem and the unconscious mind finds a solution. It finds solutions perfectly but not every solution is perfect for us.

It is said that ‘awareness precedes a change in behaviour’. When the moment of self-awareness arrives, it is then that we can work on helping the client to help themselves.

To illustrate, let me share the story of one such client. Let’s call him Jack. Jack was 64 when he came to see me. He is self-employed and travels regularly with his business across a broad geographic area. Some business difficulties, owing the tax office a substantial amount and legal battles had taken their toll. His lifetime habit of drinking had escalated to a daily habit of 2 bottles of red wine and a bottle of scotch. At night he didn’t fall asleep. Instead, he passed out and came to each morning.

“I live in a purple haze,” he told me. I was surprised he could function at all.

The consequences of his drinking habit were heart issues (which became evident in surgery 18 months later) and a lesser ability to cope with business and tax problems.

Jack’s moment of self-awareness arrived in a most unusual way. He has a dog that he very much loves. The dog is his companion wherever he goes. One night, after Jack had passed out on the floor in his purple haze, his dog stood over him and cried. Jack’s wife saw this and shared her observation the following morning. She said to him that the dog was so sad watching him slowly die from the alcoholism it stood over him all night as though mourning the impending loss of its master. She added, “And I feel the same way”.

When Jack came to my office and shared this moment with me, I’d have to say that I was looking at a man whose time to change had come. The look of decisiveness on his face and the determined tone in his voice told me he was ready to change.

Hypnotherapy for Alcohol Addiction 

I had seen many people who have told me that they wanted to change when the reality was the opposite. When they arrive under duress or doing the change for someone else their motivation is external and their heart isn’t in it. It is still possible to help them change, just more difficult.

Jack said he hadn’t been hypnotised before. What he knew of hypnosis was what he had seen in stage shows and in movies. In addition, I was his last resort. This is what I hear from most clients.

I explained to him that really, all we were going to do is let his conscious mind have a break. Then we would communicate with his unconscious/deeper/subconscious mind. When this is being done the message is to become aware, at this deeper level, that the current strategy isn’t working and that a new, positive strategy needs to be put in place. Otherwise, it would kill him.

Now the unconscious mind has a lot more wisdom than we give it credit for. It knows you intimately. It also knows what is best for you. Much, much more than I could ever know. So the messages given in hypnosis are a mix of direct suggestions (as the client requested) and also deliberately vague suggestions that the unconscious mind can work with as it interprets.

What fascinated me the most in working with Jack is that in one particular process of change he just froze. I was utilising an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) process. A process of deeper awareness that involved moving in different physical positions. One position represents where he is now. Another represents an impartial observer. The last position is the ideal self. It was at the point of the last position where he stepped into the ideal self that he froze. Everything stopped, like a computer being rebooted. I stopped talking. A few minutes later he “came too”. Jack said, “That’s it. It’s done”.

Six years later, Jack hasn’t had a drop of alcohol. He survived his major heart surgery. His wife loves him and his dog stays by his side.

He calls me regularly to thank me for getting him “to the other side”. Far better than getting to the bottom of a bottle. 

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