Looking backward to move forward

There is an endless list of tools and techniques for people to use for a whole range of challenges and self-development. From my own personal experience, I found them to have too many steps or stages and I was focusing more on the technical aspect than what I was using them for. 


Don't get me wrong in some ways they helped and in others, they didn't. The act of doing them provided some distraction, on the other hand, I felt disheartened when the outcome wasn't as per the book or how it was explained to me. "Why isn't it working?", "What am I doing wrong?" or my personal favourite "Am I that bad that these aren't even scrapping the surface?". 

It wasn't really until I came into recovery that I learned very simple, easy-to-do tools.  A main part of them was that it was using my resources, things that I already had, in a productive way. We all have positive and negative experiences, and they are both resources, sometimes the negative ones can yield the most power. We have a whole bank of memories that we can call upon to help us, so use them to your advantage.

Look let’s cut the BS, we all know if we do X then the fallout is pretty much going to be Y. So don’t sit on your pity pot feeling all sorry for yourself and that everyone is on your back, you know the fallout and still did it.  Some contexts may help. Friday night the hubby is in the pub, he's told the missus he’d be home at 8pm. Rocks in at midnight legless. He gets banished to the spare room, Wife; “I’m not listening to your snoring and getting woken up every time you go to the loo.” Hubby wakes up the next day with the mother of all hangovers.

They had things planned for Saturday, he is hungover, and she isn’t speaking to him. This is a regular occurrence and has been causing problems in the home, he had said he wouldn’t do it anymore for when they had things planned and would at least text to say he would be late. He knew exactly what was going to happen, and that she would probably be even more annoyed this time. But he still did it.

If he had just taken a minute to play that tape forward, if I do X then Y will happen. Remembering the hangover, the arguments, the wasted weekend. “As much as I am having a laugh with the lads, I better go home, it's not worth the hassle and I said I wouldn’t as we are going away tomorrow night”.

A gambler thinks of having a spin “I’ll just do £250”, and plays the tape forward, “Yeah the last time I did that I lost £1000” Add an extra layer on that “I felt proud of myself when I didn’t give into it”.

The more feelings you can attach to layers the better. The feelings of guilt and lying when you lost £1000. That good feeling of getting home and saying you had a craving and didn’t act on it.

I often talk about brain muscle, the more we use our minds for like this instance, a tool, the easier it gets to do it and the more powerful it becomes. It takes some effort to play the tape forward to start, but it gets easier, and that you can use it in other areas of your life.

What is my message here, like I mentioned in my previous blog, looking back to move forward, don’t be afraid to use the negative experiences to help and support you, they have amazing power. I also find that when people make tools etc own, when they personalise them, it takes them to a whole new level. 

If you feel that there are issues such as alcohol, drugs, or poor mental health that are impacting areas of your life and you want to explore what options are available to you, please get in touch. One thing you’ll never get from me is judgement. I simply want to support you through your journey and find solutions that work for you. It starts with a phone call, don’t worry about where to start, we start where we start, and take it from there.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Huddersfield, HD3 3HR
Written by Thomas McGowan, Addiction Therapist
Huddersfield, HD3 3HR

I have experienced my own personal issues with drink and drugs in the past and thankfully have come out the other side.

I have the unfortunate yet fortunate experience that I am able to help clients. Something I often hear is "you get it". As with most things until you have been there you won't get it.

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