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Dependencies and Addictions

25 August 2019/ Therapeutic Hypnosis

Chains of the free

Addictions are a very common ailment in our modern world.  Someone called them the chains of the free.

However, very few addictions are really addictions. Most so called addictions consist of two components: a craving or emotional component and a habitual or behavioural component.

Despite the craving component having the stronger direct effect on a person, the habitual component is actually more problematic.  That is because habits are unconscious.  That means we've learned them very well.  So if you want to break a habit, a good place to start is becoming conscious of all the pieces of the habit.

Potatoes

Let's say you find you're addicted to potatoes.  Now there's the craving part and the habitual part.  The craving sets in only when the habit is interrupted.  So it also has to be dealt with, but until you truly understand what drives your addiction to potatoes, you'll never be able to let those poor little blighters go.  I don't mean what happened in your childhood or some other silliness like that.  I mean the structure of your motivation to consume potatoes, as it is right now.  To discover that structure takes having some curiosity about yourself and your unconscious processes...

It may be that potatoes are the only food you've got.  Then no problem, keep eating them!  But we're going to assume they aren't your only source of food, they're something you've come to depend on when you have substitutes better for your health - like say pasta or dark leafy-greens or rice.  Yet you - keep eating them ol' potatoes instead.

Two Questions First

So there are two questions you want to answer first. 

Number one is "why now?" Why do you want to give up potatoes, and why right now? If you don't have a strong enough reason, you might as well keep on eating them, because unless you really want to be free of their starchiliciousness, you'll always be their slave. 

Question number two is: how do you know it's time to eat the potato?

Most people never give any thought to this but this is really the starting point of the habitual process.  You can't accomplish anything without adequate planning and habits are very complicated accomplishments to maintain.  They take a lot of time and mental effort of which you're usually quite unaware.   Once you begin to become aware of the sheer amount of planning it requires to ensure you do eat your potato you will realise just how much of an exercise it really is. 

The Process

For example, is it what you have in the cupboard at dinner?  Did you buy it, then or did it magically appear?  When you think about eating what leads you to eat potato, specifically?  How do you represent your desire to eat it to yourself? Desire is a complicated process itself.  First of all you have to imagine what the potato will look like and taste like, perhaps how it will feel in your fingers.  You will imagine the relaxation you will feel just after you've taken your first bite. Maybe a small moan...

You engage your adrenals in the lead up to that first sample, that first taste.  You flood the body with neurotransmitters and endomorphine once you've got your hit of starchy white. 

And it's only later when you feel the heaviness in your gut, the sag of your belly, the tightness of your clothes that you begin to feel bad about what you've done. 

Coming Down

When you begin to think about people secretly pointing at you in the street and whispering to each other about your ball-like appearance... You know they can smell the potato on your breath and see it between your teeth.  Oh then - you begin to experience the regret you know you wish you'd had when you opened your mouth and imbibed that starch rich tuber.

And... by the next time that it's time to eat potato - why, you've forgotten!  Forgotten just how much trouble that little tubby tuber got you into.  Instead, you're just imagining how good that first taste will be and how good you imagine it will feel.

What if I told you that it wasn't the tubby tuber that made you feel that way?  What if I told you that you alone did it to yourself?  That from beginning to end you were the one in control of all those feelings and you'd only forgotten how you did them...

The Power of Habit

That's the power of a habit.  But - all habits can be broken because all habits require intricately detailed planning to be executed.  And the moment you begin becoming conscious of the details of your undesirable habit the harder it begins to be to maintain. 

One of the easiest things to make disappear is the enjoyment you used to feel at indulging in your little white vice.  Then there's the correct sequence of actions required to maintain the habitual responses.  And the life-organization required to keep that steady supply of potato friendly meals coming through the kitchen...

Just imagine what you could do with all the extra time!  What you could do  with the extra money (not for the potatoes but the other food potatoes go with)!  What could you do with the improved health and well-being having a real choice about potato consumption could mean for you? 

But what about hypnosis?

Anyway, this is just a metaphor isn't it?  We all love our potatoes and their starchy goodness, don't we?  The point is, addiction is mostly not what we think it is.  Hypnosis is an excellent way to access the structure that underlies the apparent addiction if you want true freedom from it.  Hypnosis is a great way to obtain an alternative set of resources that can replace the things you think your addiction does for you.  If you do have something you want freedom with respect to, you definitely want to give me a call.  It will take a bit of work (on your part too) to discover how you do your addiction, but in the end, what's the price of freedom?

Breaking the Chains of the Free

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