My name is ........ and I am an alcoholic
An addiction that has greatly increased over the years is alcohol addiction. Once seen as the curse of the working class man who traditionally collected his wage on a Friday night and went straight to the local pub to drink it all away. His excuse to his wife was that he worked hard all week and deserved to unwind and that his family should be grateful he was providing for them. Even so, 50 years ago or more, alcohol wasn’t as easily accessible and the main place to imbibe was in a public house where drinking hours were restricted and early closing a formality. Those unfortunate to succumb to indulging in it to the extreme normally became destitute as welfare support and medical intervention was not readily available.
Nowadays, alcohol is accessible to most people 24/7. Despite the Government regulating the times it is sold, it is easily and cheaply available in supermarkets where people can stock up until the next day. Another worrying trend is the social acceptance of young and old, male and females drinking to excess. In the past 20 years many alcoholic beverages have been disguised with sweet flavours which are easy to drink faster and in large amounts.
Unfortunately, this social acceptance does not deny the fact that alcohol addiction destroys more and more families year in and year out this costs the tax payer billions every year (over £120 per person per year). In 2014, there were 8,697 alcohol related deaths in the UK. That’s 8,697 families left devastated at the loss of a loved one. It is a causal factor in more than sixty medical conditions and there are over one million alcohol related admissions to hospital every year.
Liver disease is one of the few major causes of premature death and is worryingly on the increase. Our already overstretched and underfunded NHS estimates that around 9% of men and 4% of females show signs of alcohol dependency. As well as causing disease and physical damage, it causes mental health problems too.
In 2012, a study showed 43% of children between the ages of 11-15 admitted to having drunk alcohol at least once. This also resulted in some of them participating in unsafe sex while under the influence. Drinking alcohol so young can lead to a lifelong dependency, a lifetime of ill health and broken relationships and poverty.
As social drinking is readily acceptable in today’s society, many people are in denial that they have any kind of alcohol dependent problem. The mother who automatically places a bottle of wine in her trolley every time she goes shopping does not see the long term damage it is doing to her. Not only is she becoming increasingly dependent on it to relax or enjoy her evening but it is also seen as the acceptable and normal routine in the family household and her children are more likely to follow suit.
Binge drinking is also on the increase particularly among the young and those who are guilty of this put their lives in danger each time. They drink 3 maybe 4 more times the recommended weekly amount within a very short period of time. This can result not only in physical damage such as alcohol poisoning with the shame and embarrassment of needing their stomach pumped but also puts their lives at risk as they become so incoherent they are unaware of their surroundings. This can result in traffic accidents, falling, getting into needless fights and sexual assault or worse for both male and female.
One of the key signs you are addicted to alcohol is ‘the shakes’. You wake up shaking, your whole body trembling and the only way to stop it is with another drink. This is the body craving its next ‘fix’ and is suffering from withdrawal symptoms. This often leads to being socially ostracised from family gatherings as the family are embarrassed that their family member is reeking of alcohol at 10am in the morning. Most companies have a zero tolerance policy to traces of alcohol being evident and despite the many mouthwashes and mints the addict may use to disguise the smell, it is still easily recognised and can lead to dismissal.
The downward spiral continues as more and more alcohol is required to stop the ‘shakes’ and soon the addict is sneaking around, hiding alcohol and drinking at every possible opportunity. It becomes the normal behaviour for them and they cannot function without starting the day with alcohol in their system and topping it up throughout the day. The once successful business individual inevitably loses his driving licence then his job normally follows. The housewife and mother begins neglecting her children and the housework falls behind. Social Services may become involved at some stage and her children removed from the family home, scarred for life by what they have witnessed – their mother incoherent and a danger to herself and them. The teenager thrown out of the family home and living on the streets because their family can no longer cope with their home being wrecked or goods stolen in order to pay for the next drink.
Most people realise too late they have a problem and seek intervention. For many, their family relationships have already been destroyed, they have lost their job and their health is on the decline. They may have a poor appetite as drink becomes more important than food. As cirrhosis of the liver starts killing them they may appear bloated and haggard looking, their skin and hair will also be in bad condition. They need to reach rock bottom before they seek help. Perhaps waking up in their own puddle of urine is the trigger or their partner or child walk out unable to cope any longer with living with a drunk is enough to make them realise alcohol has taken over their life. Alcohol has a way of loosening the tongue and creating anger issues. Living with an argumentative drunk is more than most people can bear. An overstretched NHS can mean intervention is not readily available and it can even be a postcode lottery as to what is available.
Hypnotherapy is a successful option for those who are serious about recovering and giving up alcohol. The hypnotherapist will begin by questioning their WHY. Challenging the alcohol addict to decide whether his why to save his life and improve it is more important than his why to drink. Once it is established that he really does want to recover then the work can begin.
Hypnotherapy will delve deep into the unconscious mind seeking to change the behaviours that no longer serve a positive purpose. The associated advantages will include changing the perceived view that alcohol is a relaxant to finding a real source of relaxation and harmony. The craving for alcohol will be addressed and an alternative resource will be encouraged. The addict may insist he needs alcohol to give him confidence and this too can be successfully rectified using hypnotherapy.
The behaviours of an addict have to be challenged from within for a lifelong resolution. Some people are born with addictive personalities and simply treating the symptoms in a traditional way do not always result in long term success. The root cause may not always be transparent to the addict but this does not matter as hypnosis will be working on the unconscious mind which is aware and can address the issue from within.
If you realise the above relates to you then please seek help now. Ask yourself – do you want to start afresh and wake up in the arms of a loved one or wake up in a gutter smelling of your own vomit and urine?
“Addiction is the only prison where the locks are in the inside” - Anon.
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About Biodun Ogunyemi
Biodun Ogunyemi is the founder of Optimind, one of the leading hypnotherapy practices within the UK. He has practised on Harley Street and is an experienced hypnotherapist, trained to the highest level in advanced hypnotherapy and NLP and is the author of over 180 hypnosis products.