We know that hypnotherapy works well for overcoming addiction to alcohol because of the proven track record and credibility of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Let me explain. At its heart, AA is an ongoing, long term behavior control program. The meetings are actually forms of group therapy, a type of talk therapy. Because such talk therapy methods do not effect permanent changes, AA regularly applies a group discipline through the repetitiveness and peer pressure of group meetings. AA understands the control that alcohol has on behavior and the difficulty in restraining that behavior. Long term programs buttress an individual’s will power and discipline, but these conscious efforts cannot reach and permanently correct a behavior like drinking. Hypnotherapy, however, can.
The element that distinguishes hypnotherapy from all other treatments for alcoholism is hypnosis. Some people can safely control their consumption of alcohol, monitoring the types and amounts of the alcohol they consume, avoiding any short term or long term issues. Others, regrettably, simply lose control on a daily basis or on binge drinking occasions. Many, feeling hopeless, may assign blame to a genetic predisposition, or to an alcoholic parent, or some other cause. However, the bottom line is that alcoholics have a dangerous habit, one that can control their actions, even when they consciously desire something altogether different. Whatever the origin of the behavior, we now understand that the powerful behavior is programmed into the individual’s mind – the Middle Mind. Only hypnotherapy provides access to that programming, and that is done with hypnosis, the bridge to the subconscious.
Hypnosis allows a person to bypass the conscious mind, the thinking mind of will power and discipline that has failed the alcoholic, allowing the drinker in conjunction with a therapist to address and renovate the behavioral structure. Hypnosis is a super-relaxed condition which is highly focused, unlike sleep. All outside clutter is shut out so that an individual’s mind may receive new programming which comes in through the language of the therapist. The client’s own mind will then take these suggestions and, in due course, re-write the aberrant behavior. Once the behavior is changed at this level, the objective is for the change to be permanent and life-long.
The nature of alcoholism requires two major issues to be addressed: the chemical dependency and the habit. The drinker is physically addicted to the alcohol. The body craves it, demands it. Withdrawal produces a variety of challenging physical responses. Navigating these withdrawal symptoms often proves to be too challenging for an individual alone, and an effort to become sober fails at the first effort. With hypnosis, the client can be empowered to relax and provide the Middle Mind with programming that successfully maneuvers through the physical challenges. The pain and discomfort associated with withdrawal can be compartmentalized and reduced with hypnosis. An alcoholic will have the confidence and the positive attitudes necessary to weather the process during hypnotherapy.
In addition to the chemical dependency is the habit itself. I would describe the habit as more powerful than simply being part of the drinker’s lifestyle, although that is certainly a part of it. Times and events serve as triggers to the alcoholic’s behaviors. To subconsciously change behaviors, the Middle Mind requires programming that instinctively defeats the triggers, providing an automatic and positive response to those triggers.
Through both parts of hypnotherapy, a therapist will employ very practical strategies. From the initial session, the hypnotherapist in concert with the client will develop a game plan for winning the battle. Hypnosis will be the tool to pinpoint the heart of the behavioral change, but real world application is the real test. The client is not simply turned out in the cold world alone to struggle with the challenges. The plan will create opportunities for proactive reporting on follow-up sessions, fine-tuning behaviors and strategies as the client faces real world experiences. Both the client and the therapist want success, and together they will find the answers.
A person seeking hypnotherapy for alcohol abuse is generally sufficiently motivated to change, a key to any successful hypnotherapy process. With the client’s desire as a solid starting point, the exciting future of a life under control lies ahead. Hypnotherapy works.