This case is about a 41 year old male from the United States who had a drinking problem. He did not feel the need to go to a rehabilitation facility and felt that clinical hypnotherapy could do the trick. In his mind he felt that if hypnosis could help people stop smoking, it could also help him stop drinking.
For those people that have been to a rehabilitation facility, they can tell you that hypnosis is now a significant part of what goes on in rehabilitation therapy. Every facility that is worth going to has a clinical hypnotherapist on staff. Whether they use the 12 step program or not, hypnosis is a big player in bringing about change.
In this case his drinking had become so bad, it had moved from being social to habitual. The day he called me was the day he looked out his window and saw the front corner of his car all smashed up and his curbside mailbox was sitting on the front of his car with the remains of what was his mailbox stand. Days before while drunk at home he had bumped into his new HD TV and watched it smash to the floor never to recover from the fall.
The approach I use for this does not suggest depravation as that just eats at people tempting them to relapse. The approach I use is a behavior upgrade and to replace the bad drinking habit with a new positive habit that is just as rewarding or even better.
The foundational thinking of the therapy is growing out of behaviors. Few people if any still watch children cartoons. That behavior was replaced with something new and more rewarding at some point in their lives. Then as they continue to age new behaviors enter their life and old behaviors are grown out of as well.
So when it comes to drinking, that behavior can quickly be associated with being a young adult and part of the party years as you move out of your parents house to live on your own. No longer needing to live by the rules of your parents house, you could drink if you want. But by the time you hit your mid 30’s your interests have taken a more mature tone and drinking is starting to be seen as an adolescent behavior associated with new freedoms.
So by taking this very natural behavior evolution approach, it becomes easy to move past drinking into a positive behavior. When this approach is used, there is no feeling of depravation, and the end results are the same as the 12 step program or any other. I also tailor the program for each person based on their lifestyle, triggers, and challenges. So the approach for this person is just for him. There is no one size fits all spandex approach in the way I do things.
So in this case there was some peer pressure to drink as it was associated with his work. He often attended trade shows and after the shows there was a party of sorts that people who had displays at the show would attend to socialize and do some networking. He felt it was a requirement to drink at these events or he would lose his place in the network.
So in this case as with many cases that involve drinking, there is some temptation in the early therapy, the 2 or 3 step forward and 1 step backwards was seen. It took him a little while to recognize he did not need to drink and he could take a leadership position. He also discovered that if he remained sober at these parties, he could find out things from his competitors as they would say things they should not. That quickly lead to the thought about how many things he said that he should have kept quiet about.
That thought was then anchored with a hypnotic suggestion as staying sober offer financial rewards by knowing what the competition is up to. To put it another way it became a form of industrial espionage to stay sober at those parties. So that and other suggestions like it helped him to evolve his behavior to get rewards.
This approach allowed him to drink if he wanted, but he chose not to because the opportunities clearly outweighed getting drunk. He much more preferred to be the Alpha amongst his peers and competitors.
He also decided that drinking has actually slowed his personal advancement in life, and because of that he no longer felt a desire to drink, and was very happy drinking non-alcoholic beverages. In his mind drinking would cause him to give up the lead, and that was a non-option for him.