Most people think they are one of the lucky few who won't get hooked, and unfortunately, don't realize the truth until it is too late.
Many times when need for change is recognized, many people may not even want to. Years of being faced with the negative consequences of an addiction can occur before realizing that addiction is causing problems.
Our goal today is to show the process of change. There are numerous steps in breaking the cycle of addictive behaviors. Our attempt during this series is to show how hypnosis is a powerful vehicle to changing the life of someone experiencing "too much" behavior of addiction. I do not advocate that anyone currently seeking therapy, to use hypnosis solely, as a means to break the addiction cycle. But rather, I do suggest that a trained hypnotist can be used as another tool in the arsenal to combat the behavior by pinpointing and addressing a possible underlying reason for the addiction; whether it be a previous event(s) or even a previous lifetime. Never replace any current therapy without first discussing it with your professional medical person(s).
As I wrote in another article, most people that have engaged in addictive behaviors and develop actual addictions find that overcoming addiction is unexpectedly overwhelming. When people start using, they often feel that addiction is a myth and they can quit at any time; or they are not the rule but rather the exception to it.
Lo and behold, this is more prevalent with non-substance, or behavioral addictions of excessive eating, gambling, sex, exercise, shopping and so on. What is more complicating with the situation is this: FOR EVERY ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE ABLE TO ENGAGE IN THE BEHAVIOR WITHOUT DEVELOPING AN ADDICTION. Overcoming addiction requires a long term strategy.
Over the next couple of posts I will attempt to list the different stages of overcoming an addiction. This series is an attempt to shed light on those stages.
Making the decision to actual change or the "contemplation" stage
Most people suffering from addiction sooner or later decide change needs to become a reality. Once they decide, people usually have a goal in mind. The goals range from quitting entirely, quitting some addictive behaviors or substances, reducing the amount of time and money spent on addictive behaviors, or reducing the harm of an addictive behavior.
An example is drug users deciding to quit heroin but continuing to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or marijuana. Heavy drinkers may set a goal of just one drink a day, or only drink socially. Being clear on the change in the beginning, is helpful toward eliminating the addictive behavior. Let's be candid, quitting entirely is the best path to wellness, but reducing or eliminating the most harmful substance use is a huge improvement and can reduce the harm caused.
Behavioral addictions are basically the same. Anyone deciding to quit eating entirely is heading down the path to an eating disorder. But welcoming a healthy diet is a healthy decision to change.
Abstaining from sex completely can lead to another form of sex addiction, sexual anorexia; yet developing healthy intimacy after sex addiction is usually fulfilling. And reducing obsessive exercise to levels that are healthy will improve health and wellness more so than quitting exercise entirely.
This stage of the change process often takes a while and involves thinking about whether to change and what the change should involve. Sometimes ambitious goals like quitting cold turkey are not always the best approach (and dangerous) because of relapse. Consulting an addiction counselor, medical professional or psychologist is extremely helpful at this stage. They assist the person in understanding the risks and what will help to alleviate them.
Preparation for change
You may need to continue preparing for change even after the goal is clear. This includes removing addictive substances from the home, eliminating "triggers" in your life that make you more likely to use substances again. For example, sex addicts might need to dispose of porn and clear porn websites from online history and favorites; or over-eaters might need to remove stockpiles of junk food from their cabinets; and shopaholics and gambling addicts might have to cut their credit cards and make strict financial arrangements with their banks.
"One of the hardest preparations relate to social relationships. Especially the ones revolving around addictive behaviors for people with addictions". Drinkers often join groups like AA, which is helpful having a group of buddies that understand their situation. Also, suddenly quitting an addictive behavior quite possibly can make you feel lonely, particularly if you've lost touch with people because of the addiction (family, old friends, etc...). Taking time to contact friends and family who, without judgement, are supportive of your goals, you may even need to take a break from those relationships for a while. Whether they understand or not, make them aware of your goal.
When it comes to alcohol or chemical addiction, it is prudent to discuss with your doctor and/or local drug clinic whether you need medical help quitting. There are medications to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Hypnosis can play a major role in eliminating withdrawal symptoms. Or, in the case of opiate addiction, you can basically replace one addiction with another. Typically, doctors and drug clinics are supportive and mindful. Just know that hypnosis (rather than a drug) is a safe and reliable alternative, especially if anxiety or depression is a root problem.
Quitting an addicting behavior
All quitting experiences are different for everyone. Some find the process liberating, while others experience difficulty, pain, and frustration. Some discover new sides to themselves during the process; while others find it frustrating painful or difficult and may need multiple attempts to reach their goal. We are all individual beings and there is no cookie cutter experience to quitting. There's no right or wrong way to feel while quitting.
There are so many multiple treatments that can be used during the process of overcoming an addiction that include hypnosis, medical and psychological treatments. All methods can be powerful on their own and will always be an individual choice. Yet, hypnosis remains the quickest way to identify and remove sensitizing events that may have led to the "too much" behavior(s).
Coping with withdrawal
The most difficult aspect of overcoming any addiction, behavioral or substance, is the withdrawal symptoms. Physiological aspects of withdrawal, as related to substance addiction, can be very uncomfortable, be life-threatening, or feel like a bad flu. This is a major reason to consult with your healthcare professional about the way and place to quit a substance. The upside for most individuals is that symptoms are usually short term lasting a week or two. Yet some folks will encounter post-acute withdrawal syndrome where symptoms seem to drone on and on for weeks, months or years.
Also, addictions can sometimes mask underlying mental health problems like sleep disorder, psychosis, anxiety or depression. So if you are feeling down or agitated, or other people and/or the world seem strange or upsetting since quitting then immediately talk with your doctor. All these scenarios can be eased and/or eliminated via hypnosis. Unless of course you want to risk potential dependency with another medication(s).
No one who puts forth the effort to quit an addictive behavior wants to fail. But understand, relapse is more common than overcoming addiction on the first attempt. This does not mean failure, it may take a few more tries to get it right. Cravings are the most common culprit for relapse. These strong urges to engage in the behavior are common during recovery. They can also creep up suddenly weeks to years after quitting (I still have tobacco cravings 30 years later). You can learn to cope with these intense feelings without succumbing to them.
Another false reason for relapse is thinking you are in control now and one usage will not matter. A relapse can take multiple forms. One way might be a single usage and you realize you do not enjoy the activity anymore. Another way is the slippery slope to full blown addictive behavior again. It could even mean overdose or death.
The risk of dying from an overdose is extremely high if you've been through withdrawal because your tolerance of said drug will be much lower than before you quit. Make sure you have someone with you if you decide to use again.
Coping with relapse
First and foremost, it is important to not view relapse as failure. And the first thing you will want to do if relapse occurs is to simply understand what happened. Understanding why is often one of the most important parts to overcome an addiction.
In fact once you discover the triggers and the weaknesses, you can construct things in place to reduce the chance of another relapse. You see, as a human, you tend to learn from your own mistakes. If you apply what you learned in your first attempt then you will be more successful the next time. Remember, do not to be so hard on yourself if you hit a bump in the road. Fact is you were successful to that point and you will be more successful next time around.
Control behavior afterwards
Sometimes, even though completely quitting was the goal, you may decide in the future you want to occasionally indulge without doing so in excess. Although it may be possible, it is CRITICAL to be clear (and honest) with yourself as to what you want to do. For example to have an occasional drink with friends, you need to be able to have one drink and then stop. However, most drinkers find it easier to completely abstain than to drink every now and then.
If you intend on having one drink and end up having several, you need to reassess your goals and what is attainable for you at this time of your life. Just understand that this is a new experience for you and it can be either boring and difficult or liberating. Whatever you decide you are the single entity that must control the behavior.
Avoid replacement addictions
This phenomenon is quite prevalent in recovering persons. One addictive behavior is replaced by another. Heavy drinkers or smokers often find themselves overeating and become overweight. People who struggle with sex addiction many times are obsessed with exercise.
We learned in previous posts that all addictive behavior has similar neurological and psychological processes and create feelings and sensations of reward. So this and any replacement addictions are common among people trying to overcome an addiction.
The trick to avoid these replacement behaviors is to find satisfaction in the experiences of "normal" life. Now, these experiences can lack the intensity of addictive behaviors, but getting to enjoy them can bring forward a whole level of calmness never experienced in the past. When you become more in touch with reality, relationships are more authentic than they were while seeking pleasures through addictive behavior.
By avoiding replacement addictions you and your team are able to address any underlying mental health problems. Addictive behavior can mask past traumas or underlying feelings of emptiness, fear, or sadness. Hypnosis and psychological therapies can assist in providing long term relief for these problems.
Friendships and relationships will change as your addiction is overcome. Appreciate your new normal and go with the flow as you experience the simplicity of those living life without chasing a high. You may find that family and friends that you clashed with during your addiction(s) welcome you back into their lives with open hearts. Or it may take time (and effort) for trust to be re-established if you have hurt friends and family while you were involved with your addiction. No matter what scenario, this new chance at a fresh clean life is all about celebrating your reemergence into life.
What will happen is that you will find that you have less in common with the "friends" you spent the most time with during your addiction. You could even find they are intolerant of your new lifestyle. However, what is important is that you are a great role model and you are actually doing these former cohorts a service by showing them that change is possible. But, do not let ANY of them pull you back into the life you left behind. It is they that will need to make the positive change, the change that you experienced.
Recovery is a long process, it is a marathon and not a sprint. Through the use of hypnosis, you will be able to uncover the initial sensitizing events and any subsequent sensitizing events that trap you in addictive behaviors and practices.
If this article helped even one person make an attempt to change, I will have accomplished what I set out to do. There are many among us that need a little assistance, but refuse for whatever reason(s) to take the first step. As someone who knows a thing or two about the experience of addictive behavior (tobacco, alcohol, etc.), I want to encourage anyone that suffers from any "too much" behavior related to chemicals, alcohol, tobacco, vaping, sexing, food, and much more to call me and use the 15 minute free call to discover and understand what and how a trained, certified, professional hypnotist can help. Isn't it time for you to free yourself and be the one in control? Call Peaceful Light Healing and Hypnosis at the Lakes Region Hypnosis Center in Tilton, NH to help you help yourself.
Welcome to Lakes Region Hypnosis Center's information sharing blog
I would like to begin my blogging career (sounds funny for a 60-something to be saying) by just introducing myself and some of the services we provide. My goal is to introduce you all to me and the wonderful worlds of hypnosis and other alternative, less expensive (in the long run) healing modalities we provide and clearly work. My intention is to also educate the public through my blogging.
I am a 67 year old who refuses to retire. I have worn many hats in my many careers, one could say it took me a long time to discover what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. I will say it did take me a while though. I've been part of management team where I was responsible for a multi-million dollar communication budget in a large financial institution. I left the corporate world as a thirty something and became a healthcare worker in a county nursing home. This was a very rewarding vocation by the way, but the greedy corporate world began sticking their fingers in the proverbial pot and infesting that career with their greed and gluttony. But, that's a whole different blogging path for the politically inclined, and does not belong here. I finished my career as a political action coordinator for a national public employee union and was forced out to pasture. Yes folks, even the unions have their dark side. But, I've always wanted to help others along the way, a healer so to speak. Whether a human client or a pet client (Animal Reiki attuned), I have always been driven to open up my heart, mind and arms to those who need some assistance along the way.
I began seeking a healing path for myself and something to provide comfort to others. I entered my chrysalis stage, my transition to the more spiritual path, that of a provider of proven alternative healing modalities. I became a Reiki Master/Teacher, actually being attuned through a local Reiki Master from Gilmanton and another from the West Coast. and still felt there there was more. I began various training along the way, as a physical medium, a crystal worker, and so on and so forth. I rounded out my resume at the Thomas Institute of Hypnosis and the National Guild of Hypnotists becoming a Certified Consulting Hypnotist. And this is the "Readers Digest" version of how I got to where I am now.
Operating out of Tilton, New Hampshire, ergo the name Lakes Region Hypnosis Center; we also perform Reiki healing sessions under Peaceful Light Healing (or PLH). PLH was my first organization and is now a part of our Lakes Region Hypnosis Center operation. Effectively combining both powerful tools (Hypnosis & Reiki) and we have created a healing modality second to none and without OPIODS. Healing others is a love and passion for us. Continuous education in the art of hypnosis on a regular basis, as well as consuming mandatory reading material is part of our modus operandi and in our operations manual. We also teach healing techniques at various metaphysical facilities and institutions. Sharing information at community events and local libraries, schools, and other public and private venues is always on our agenda. So please, continue to watch this website for updated events. Maybe learn a thing or two about hypnosis, Reiki, or even a bit about physical mediumship. But, be sure to watch my blogs for upcoming information to help demystify hypnosis and bring it to the forefront of where it belongs. The subconscious mind is a powerful tool for healing; and remember this, "if you can think it, it CAN happen". And don't forget about the Reiki!
Future posts will include myths and phobias of hypnotism, pain management, healthy living, stress and stressors, encountering negative suggestions and negative self talk, self hypnotism, emotional trauma, mind-body spirit, subconscious mind, daily affirmations and intentions, circumstance or predetermined, deja vu all over again, breathing techniques, Reiki, chakra centers, Past Life Regression "real or not" and much much more. So until the next post,
Breath - Relax - Heal.
P.S. Please let me know how I performed in my first blog post ever.