My relationship with wine has been a long one with many ups and downs, makeups and breakups. I have
always been fit and quite health conscious so I’m sure most people wouldn’t imagine that I have had an
issue with alcohol. But I have always known deep down that it’s an issue.
In between binges, often drinking alone, I would abstain for awhile, then moderate by putting rules in place like not having alcohol in the house, not drinking during the week, not drinking alone…but soon I would find myself being uncharacteristically sociable, going out for dinners, visiting friends, anywhere there would be wine. The mind has a funny way of getting around the rules and the bottom line is that “where there is a subconscious will, we usually find a way”. Otherwise known as self-sabotage! And the Subconscious, which according to neuroscientists makes up more than 90% of the mind, is the key to all of this.
A few years ago I started studying Hypnotherapy (non medical) and it has been the most enlightening experience. Part of the course involves personally experiencing everything that is taught which means plenty of opportunity for facing one’s own demons and subsequent healing of old wounds. After attending the Tribe Sober Workshop a while ago, I was inspired to share my experience as it compliments perfectly everything that the workshop is about.
From birth and even before that, our memories (real and imagined) are stored in our powerful subconscious minds and this is where our belief systems are formed. As children many of these beliefs are created before logical intellect is fully formed and as we grow up and process them with our critical conscious minds we can experience inner conflict when things don’t add up.
These faulty beliefs can be around self-worth, deservability, intelligence, body image, sexuality, abilities, spirituality etc. Anything and everything that affects our behaviour and ability to lead a fulfilled existence and have healthy relationships.
Our subconscious develops these beliefs in order to protect us and help us make sense of the world. It is also where our emotions and intuition reside and where learning and reinforcement of habits takes place. These beliefs and habits are often hidden and protected from conscious influence. This is why processing at a subconscious level is key to changing any unwanted behaviour, feelings or habits.
For example many of our subconscious minds have the belief that we need alcohol to relax or have fun and. We believe that it is a normal part of life (rather than a belief that it is an addictive, damaging drug). From a young age we observe our parents, family and friends drinking regularly. It is associated with most social interactions, special occasions, romantic dinners and even wakes and sporting events in real life and on TV. We are continuously being (subconsciously) programmed to drink alcohol in the same way we are programmed to eat ice cream and chocolate when we are happy and sad.
Using hypnosis to facilitate change is a very intentional, focussed way of exploring the subconscious and
effectively modifying or reframing faulty beliefs or beliefs that no longer serve us. During the therapy you start to build new neural pathways which makes the whole process much easier (neuroplasticity). The more attention you give to the benefits of your healthy and more desirable choices the stronger these pathways become. This means that every time you choose the alcohol-free option, you feel better which creates a positive feedback strengthening those neural pathways. It’s not magic but it is logical, simple and magical.
Q & A
1. Why did I attend the workshop if hypnotherapy was successful?
Curiosity mainly and… also because even though I felt that alcohol had lost its power over me and I no longer NEEDED it, I was still drinking wine (moderating). I think subconsciously I was looking for motivation to stop altogether. I know that even one glass is simply not good for me physically or emotionally. When I did the hypnosis for drinking my motive was to free myself of the need for wine but
I didn’t really want to stop altogether.
Hypnotherapy helped me tremendously. The voice was gone! Soon I was able to go for days without even thinking about it . I didn’t mind if there was no wine in the house, I stopped planning outings depending on whether there would be wine or not, nor did I feel anxious as I walked past the wine section in the supermarket. I was amazed every time I noticed a new response or behaviour.
HOWEVER, I also know it will always be a very slippery slope and how easy it is to slip into old habits
(the neural pathways are still there). I have proved to myself again and again that simply not drinking at all is so very much easier and liberating. I committed during the workshop to 100 alcohol free days and quite honestly can’t tell you how many of those days have already passed because I have no need to
count. I am still noticing new things for example just realised I have been sleeping through the night
which I can’t ever remember doing.. Everything I learnt that day has cemented my new belief system
around alcohol and reinforced all the benefits I had already experienced.
2. Can anyone be hypnotised?
Theoretically almost anyone can experience some degree of hypnosis. As with meditation or mindfulness, the more one practices the easier it becomes and the more beneficial it can be. It is a natural state that many of us enjoy daily while we read a book, drive a car or watch a movie. All hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis. The therapist is merely a facilitator to help you get the most learning, healing and insight from the experience. Motivation is the essential ingredient for successful hypnotherapy. You can’t send someone else “to get fixed”. Everyone needs their own motivation to explore new ways of being.
No, you won’t lose control, cluck like a chicken nor do or say anything you don’t want to. Hypnosis makes you very focussed and aware. Some people experience it as a deep relaxation whereas others may
have floating out of body feeling. Everyone is different and every session could well be a different experience. I believe everyone can benefit from hypnotherapy irrelevant of the issue and during the
sessions you will go where you need to go and be open to what you are ready to deal with. You will be able to talk and remember everything (if you choose to).
Humans are complex creatures and hypnotherapy is remarkable in its ability to peel away the layers we have created to protect our “truth”. It’s an amazingly empowering process. The quote Janet shared on the workshop says it all: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate!” C J Jung.
To contact Belinda directly:- firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information please feel free to visit www.hypnotherapy.co.za
To qualify as a certified hypnotherapist read this article