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Alcoholism and Recovery

April 25, 2011 - 01:09 AM

If you are the point of your life when you finally admit that you are an alcoholic, you are ready to begin the journey toward recovery. This addiction is nothing new. Unfortunately it is rather popular considering there is an estimated 140 million alcohol addicts in the world. So, there has been a considerable amount of thought and experience when it comes to treating alcoholism and helping a person stay sober for a very long time. In fact, over the years I have met numerous people who have been successful and not touched another drink for years – if ever again.

Treatment options vary. The abstinence-with-support 12-step program promoted by Alcoholics Anonymous claims to be quite successful. Medically supervised programs – which may be the only correct option for those with very serious physical alcohol problems – typically use medications to wean a person off their habit and assist with alcohol withdrawal. Recently I have become increasingly interested in alcohol treatment and rehab approaches, which recognize alcohol that the problem with alcohol is like any other addiction. As such, incessant alcohol cravings may be the sign that you have a significant chronic brain disease. Before you get overly concerned by those harsh words, I assure you that this is a more humane and effective way of looking at alcoholism and recovery. That is, unless you prefer all the social stigma, shame, and guilt, which society typically associates with the issue.

By considering alcoholism as a chronic brain disease, the focus is on how the neurons and the various areas of your brain create, encode, and restructure as a result of your alcohol cravings. What is it about drinking that creates seemingly permanent alcohol dependence? The answer is quite simple. Just look at alcohol addiction as something that uses and misdirects your natural learning and survival abilities.

Psychologists, coaches, and professional educators have always recognized that anything, which is emotionally powerful, will be remembered much longer than more forgettable and mundane events. This means that for something to become extremely memorable, all that you need to do is to associate strong emotions with it. For example, just remember of your first kiss. When you think of it, you probably have little problem recalling where you were, what music was playing, the time of day, and what both of you were wearing. By the way, your ability to recall events, which are pleasurable or dangerous, is a very big part of your ability to survive.

The subject of addictions – whether it involves alcohol consumption, drugs, porn, or anything else – is powerful because it stimulates the same emotion center. However, as it creates an extremely powerful reaction, the likelihood of it eventually creating a neurological restructuring of the brain is vastly increased. Abstinence programs – and even many of the medical approaches to alcohol abuse treatment – often fail to recognize this.

The task of all successful alcoholism treatment and recovery programs should be to respect the power of the anticipation and reward genius within each alcoholic/addict who they treat. Rather than fighting the uphill battle against this adversary, they should instead seek to tame and redirect it. As incidents of alcohol craving normally start with a trigger in the alcoholic’s environment. This creates an anticipation of emotional reward that comes from acting on the craving. Their goal should be to provide a highly emotional alternative.

Hypnosis is a process, which is very capable of achieving this reprogramming. Similar to the triggering of the craving of a drink, hypnosis intentionally employs the use of anticipation. This seems to conflict with the anticipation of a drink as it is very difficult for that part of the brain to have two cravings simultaneously. Furthermore, as all hypnotherapists know that the emotional centers of the brain have a difficulty understanding the difference between reality and an imagined fantasy, it is very easy to suggest an alternate reward, which is so powerful as to effectively compete with the reward for that next drink.

When I designed and produced my ALCOHOL ADDICTION NO MORE! self-help CD and MP3, I did so with these intentions in mind. Let’s face it. Struggling with abstinence is extremely difficult no matter how effective your new support structure may be. If you deliberately retrain and restructure your brain through regular hypnosis, you may very well find that there is less need to struggle and more likelihood that you will be successful. Still, if you feel that you have a strong alcoholism problem, please immediately seek professional help. If your concerns have not yet reached that point – or you would like the further assistance that would come from the regular use of hypnosis – you may wish to consider my recorded sessions.


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Tags: alcoholic, alcoholism and recovery, alcohol problems, addictions, alcohol withdrawal, hypnosis, hypnotherapy

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