Alcohol and substance abuse - the secrets we don't know we keep!
Try as we might to be a modern forgiving society, I see all too often that alcoholics are shunned, stereotyped as the morally week and even demonized. They are the object of scorn, their pleas for "just one more chance, I can change, I promise!" appear as devious as their lies, deceptions and disappointments. But being told that you are an alcoholic or drug addict is about as useful as pork scratchings in a synagogue!
When Bill Wilson and Robert Smith M.D co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), they helped change the perception of alcoholism from moral failing to that of medical illness. And whilst AA continues to be the only answer for many 'sufferers' ,the concept of 'alcoholic' is just as degrading as the concept of sinner! All dependency is just a symptom. And it is much easier to cure someone of a dependency, than it is cure 'the incurable disease of alcoholism'.
You could argue that it is all window dressing, that it all amounts to the same thing: a sinner, an alcoholic a dependent! However, according to Chris Prentiss, Co-founder of Passages Addiction Cure Centre, there are four causes to dependency:
- (1) Chemical imbalance.
- (2) Unresolved events from the past.
- (3) Beliefs that are inconsistent with the truth.
- (4) An inability to cope with the current environment.
What is clever about this approach is the inter-relationship of these causes. In all cases it could be argued that (1) chemical imbalance is the prime culprit in dependency. But, if causes (2), (3) and (4) are present, they cause (1) a chemical imbalance! So why not just treat the chemical imbalance with the appropriate balancing medication? Because that will not address causes (2), (3) and (4), the specifics of which, still need to be uncovered in order for healing to take place and to gain freedom from dependency.
In fact, alcohol, addictive drugs or addictive behaviour are not even part of a dependency, they are not the problem at all. Through classic treatment, withdrawal symptoms disappear along with the physical dependency. And yet a return to the dependency (the bottle, or the drug) is as certain as Sunday. One of the four causes is still at play for us to continue with the habit. It is worth noting that genetics are discounted in this approach. An ancestral disposition to addictive tendencies may predispose you to becoming dependent, but you don't have to become dependent just because your ancestors were. Either way one of the four causes will still have to be present regardless of genetics.
Let's look at an example. John is a 55 year old professional who has relationship issues, binge drinks, has problems with prescribed drugs, self-harms and has made three suicidal attempts (the last being very close to successful). At the initial meeting he disclosed that he had been physically and mentally abused by his father. He had undergone some treatment but his problems always resurfaced. John agreed to undergo a hypnotic age regression which provided several repressed memories (cause no. 2). John felt he needed alcohol to be himself - a gregarious, charismatic and fun-loving man - without that stimuli he suffered with low self esteem and poor self-worth (cause no.3). When stressed by work, family or annual events, his anxiety and depressive mood piqued, and he would begin the spiral of negative behaviour (cause no. 4). John agreed to have some blood tests that evidenced a minor chemical imbalance, most certainly caused by 2,3 and 4.
In this case John was able to work through his past with the aid of hypnotherapy, and build an appropriate self-image, whilst learning new patterns of behaviour far more consistent with his actual reality. With some advice on diet and nutrition, and some simple NLP techniques John went on to free himself from his dependency and now helps others understand how to break free.
It doesn't matter if the cause of your dependency is the chemical imbalance, or that it has its roots in a traumatic past, or that you can't recognise the truth or cope with your current environment, because all the causes of your dependency are within you. Just as all the solutions are too. Accessing them is the beginning of resolution; understanding what your imbalance and your causes are can lead to the correct treatment and bring your life back into harmony free of any dependency. All you have to do is believe in a cure, take the necessary steps to begin treatment and adopt a philosophy that is in accord with the Universe.
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