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One to one help in Bristol and Bath to help you cut down or quit drinking alcohol.

 

Are you drinking too much? Has alcohol become a problem for you?

Our common cultural conception of an "alcoholic" is someone who needs half a bottle of vodka to get going in the morning or maybe the guy laying in the gutter at 5am on Sunday morning in town. Most of us are aware however that England has seen a dramatic increase in the rate of drinking related problems over the last twenty years. We do live in a binge drinking culture, and our idea of what is acceptable as "normal" behaviour has changed greatly over the years.  As a result many more people are running into trouble with drinking because friends and peers are much less likely to give you the sideways glance when you sink 16 vodkas/10 beers (or more) on a Friday night. Twenty years ago, that might have earned you the label of the "drunk".  Today it's not that unusual, and your friends may well be keeping up with you on the rounds. We can easily have a drinking problem and think it's "normal" behaviour. Your liver might not agree though. Your friends, family, employer, or partner might also be concerned.

I'm not a fan of labels. I don't like the terms "drug addict" or "alcoholic, "depressive" etc, simply because they put someone in a box and create an unhealthy identity for that person. I prefer to think of us all as human beings....some of us with difficulties! There's not much sitting on the fence when it comes to the issue of addiction. The helping community is pretty much split into two camps. One camp holds that people can be responsible for their own lives. The other camp says no.....people are "victims" of an "illness" and addictions are a "medical" illness. With a few exceptions I'm with camp number one. If that suits you, read on....

Here's the immediate exception. There are differing levels of alcoholism. The half a bottle of vodka for breakfast and another bottle for lunch person would be best advised to seek "medical" treatment. There are detox schemes available through your doctor (GP), or your local social services which can support you safely through your withdrawal from alcohol, often supplemented with medication to minimise withdrawal symptoms. Hypnotherapy could help as an adjunct to that treatment but if you are drinking that heavily every day, there are physical withdrawal considerations and you may need to seek medical support via a recognised detox scheme to withdraw safely. With your doctors blessing and that extra medical support in place I'll be glad to then offer you some help.

So...what do we do? How can I help you?

Well, first of all, it depends what you want? With the exception of the above state of extreme alcoholism, hypnotherapy can help with taking control at whatever level you want. If you want to give up drinking completely, then we make that our goal and set out to make it so. If you want to cut down on the amount or frequency of your drinking then we set goals of "acceptable" drinking and work to keep within those boundaries. With or without hypnosis you will only ever do what you want to do, so it's up to you to decide where you want to set your boundaries. You're effectively asking yourself how you would like things to be, and of course what you can reasonably live comfortably with. For some people the idea of never having another glass of wine is awful.....and unrealistic. If we believe our only choice is to quit completely or do nothing, then we're likely to do nothing. Therefore I am NOT a fan of the all or nothing approach. Neither, thankfully, do we need to be. It's basically flawed. Alcoholism mythology tells us "Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic". As soon as you have a single drink you are back to step one! The research shows however that many people ARE able to reform their bad drinking habits and go on to be able to once again drink sensibly and safely. Not everyone can do this, but most can. With this in mind we ask how would you like it to be? What's too much? What's okay? What can you comfortably live with? What's reasonable to expect from yourself? Once we know what you want, and what you can live with, then we can go about making it so.

Now it is true that some people are better than others at "control". Some people are able to simply cut down the amount they drink....others aren't (or believe they aren't) built to do it that way, so it may be that you have to quit altogether for a period of time to establish control. Then, later you can slowly re-introduce sensible drinking (only if you want to) in a CONTROLLED way. It's frequently true though that with a little application and mindfulness people are quite easily able to reduce their drinking levels once the right understanding is in place.

That understanding includes (but is certainly not limited to):

  • Understanding of the brain and its chemistry (Serotonin and the effects of alcohol)

  • Cultural context of alcohol use.

  • The biology of belief (how our biology is affected by our belief systems)

  • The psychology of taking control - showing that we have absolute control when we understand the rules!

  • Reducing stress and anxiety, and how this returns control to the "executive" brain - the frontal lobe.

  • Understanding the nature of the emotional mind (limbic system) as a childlike mind which can be "needy" and how to feed that mind positively.

  • Ensuring that our "needs" are met in our lives adequately so that we don't have to use alcohol to fill an empty space.

  • Ensuring that we deal with emotional issues that alcohol might be acting as an anaesthetic/ anti-depressant for.

  • Adjusting what's working/what's not working sensibly instead of marking setbacks up as a failure (using feedback).

  • Hypnotherapy and its application to help us do what we want to do via suggestion and positive metaphor. 

We could go on....Basically though we can see that problems with alcohol can range from the very simple to the very complicated. Some people will need just a little help because they are drinking more than they want to but everything is basically okay in their lives. At this level, we keep things simple. At this level, we simply work on motivation, mindfulness, and re-framing (hypnotically) to show the unconscious mind that it's possible to drink sensibly etc, addressing any particular "sticking points" for that person, and finding solutions, as we go. We use hypnotic suggestion here to ensure that it's "easy" for the person to take control. In a way this is treated similarly to smoking; we simply establish control and then we get on with it. When the difficulty is at the level where you simply need a little bit of help establishing control and "getting on with it" then it's fair to say that the treatment can be quick, easy, and just what's needed to help you back into a pattern where you can once again establish control.

For other people who are more deeply involved with an alcohol dependency, we may well need to look at other areas too and therapy here will be much more involved. It's a psychological truism that if you are giving up drinking you should stay away from the pub. If however, all your friends are big drinkers, we have to find a way, initially at least, of staying out of that kind of environment. So we will need to look at environmental factors, and find solutions to these obstacles. Also, we need to make sure that your life is in basic order. If you are depressed or lacking self esteem (a big factor for many drinkers) then that needs to be improved too for a permanent sense of control to be established. Of course, taking control of your drinking will be the biggest boost of all here! We need to deal with any painful issues that might be causing you to need the anaesthetic effect of alcohol. Failure to address the issues that have caused you to become a drinker in the first place will only leave room for drinking to become a problem again. A long term solution therefore requires a change of life. So to do our job properly we have to make sure that your life, and your relationship with yourself is in order. A life in good order with plenty of activity, self esteem, and positivity can and will support a healthy lifestyle. A life in a mess will not and cannot. So, dealing with an alcohol problem is a therapy and it is often a journey. It will take time, diligence, patience and determination. There aren't I'm afraid any overnight cures. It doesn't work that I "hypnotise you not to drink any more", and suddenly you never want another drink. I use hypnosis to show you and remind you that you can stop/reduce drinking. We improve your understanding of dependency and give you tools to extricate yourself from harmful patterns of thought and behaviour. We work on improving your relationship with yourself. It's YOU that then follows through on that promise. No one can "make" you stop drinking. This is something you have to do for yourself. With all that said though, hypnotherapy is a genuinely powerful tool for creating change, and if you're willing to enter into a therapeutic arrangement with a view to taking control, then you'll have an excellent basis for success with the service I offer. How long it takes is up to you. There comes a time....perhaps that time is now? To my mind there's no reason why we can't do it right away!

I do offer a consultation with a view to beginning treatment. If you are serious about doing something about your drinking, you can book a consultation now with a view to beginning treatment. If you have any other questions prior to booking do feel free to contact me.