Volume 65, June 2008
I have most recently been working with a woman who has been battling alcoholism for the better part of 30 years. She is a very bright woman who at times feels as if she is not so bright, because in her own mind, if she were she would be able to live a normal life without this particular problem and all the other problems it creates.
I would gather that most of you realize that most people who drink to excess would prefer not to, however they are uncertain as to how to stop. Also, it clear that once a person goes over their tolerance level their body is in fact “addicted” to the substance, meaning that without it, they will suffer withdrawal symptoms which commonly begin six to eight hours after sudden withdrawal with the greatest intensity after ten to thirty hours, subsiding in a few days. The most common symptoms are tremors, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, weakness and depression. In about 5% of cases the high fever, accelerated heart rate, agitation, and hallucinations of delirium tremens, DT‘s, begin after about the second day after withdrawal. (Harvard Medical School,Mental Health Review, Alcohol Abuse and Dependence by Grispoon, M.D.and Bakalar, J.D, No. 2 Rev.)
Most of us realize that alcoholism can create many problems with the physical health of the person with it, as well as putting others at risk should they involve themselves in risky behavior such as driving drunk, or having unprotected sex with several partners. However, from my point of view, as horrendous as the disease of alcoholism is, it is only the presenting problem. Abusing alcohol is the method of choice to self-medicate the individual thus releasing them of the self-depreciating thoughts they experience usually as a symptom of depression. The alcohol will create a decrease in impulse control that can lead to risky behavior.
When the allopathic world, otherwise known as Western medicine is only focused on the need to release the alcohol, they are neglecting the more important aspect to the recovery. Unless it is understood why the behavior of drinking alcohol was created, it will be very difficult to release it for good. One can only release a behavior if there is something else that fits that need is put in its place. This is true of any behavior that needs to be changed. For the alcoholic, it is more important to get them in touch with letting go of the feelings of guilt that are manifested as a result of anything hurtful they may have done either to them selves or others. Second, they need to figure out what they can do to that is productive and fun for them to do instead. Once they are feeling better about themselves, it becomes much easier for them to be able to focus on the positive that life can offer as they get reconnected with those who love and care for them.
Hypnosis is a wonderful way to get to “the cause” of the problem as well as to figure out what other behaviors would do well to replace that of drinking alcohol. I have found interestingly enough that my clients do not go through any of the demerits tremens that is common because of the ability of the unconscious mind to be told to release the need for the alcohol without any feelings of withdrawal. This is similar to how the smoking cessations clients become non-smokers without any of their withdrawal symptoms either.
My client was able to beat alcohol for several months, but as can be the case with this particular problem, she has relapsed. I believe we understand better now what needs to be cleared for her to leave it alone for good, and with those answers I look forward to the day when she will be able to say quite honestly that there is never a reason that would be good enough for her to go back to abusing alcohol, for the damage it creates in her life is not ever worth going back. In the mean time we will continue our journey together to get her where she has decided she would like to be. Healthy and enjoying her family, the most important purpose that she has found in her own life as she gets back in touch with her painting, bicycling and kayaking with her husband.
If you are looking to get help for yourself or another please find a person who has proven experience working in this specialization. It is best if they have a back round working in mental health, though from my point of view they need not be licensed, but they need to be certified in advanced hypnotic techniques in order to be a safe bet.
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