ALCOHOL and the SUBCONSCIOUS

Subconscious beliefs are the drivers of our behaviour and this is most apparent with any addiction. Consider for a moment your personal beliefs about alcohol..Many of us have grown up in a world where alcohol is part of almost every conceivable occasion. Every time we see people clinking glasses together, it is a subconscious suggestion of a feel-good feeling which gets reinforced continuously. This means it is hardly surprising that before even tasting this addictive substance many of us already have the subconscious belief that to connect with others and enjoy any social occasion or celebration we need alcohol and the more the better. All the awful things it causes are simply joked about which contributes to normalising the behaviour– the hangovers, the vomiting, the loss of inhibitions that protect us, the irresponsible driving, the drunken sex, the black outs, the blurred memories… the list is endless. Is it possible that we have been duped into believing that consuming alcohol is harmless and key to a good time?

Looking at the hard facts regarding alcohol is the first step to changing our beliefs which simply makes changing our drinking behaviour so much easier. Once the subconscious mind embraces the truth, we may already find ourselves exploring alcohol free options or drinking less without depending on will-power nor experiencing a feeling of deprivation.  

An example from the World Without Wine workshop – the mom who believes she needs wine to cope with the stresses of having children (limiting belief) could discover when sober that she has way more patience and actually experiences enormous pleasure from interacting with her children in a mindful way (empowering belief). When she focuses on some of the benefits of being sober mom: better quality sleep, clearer memories of fun times, being present and a person her children can be proud of – it means she creates new neural pathways and automatically has less desire to drink.

When you become aware of the subtle suggestions that pop up through your day encouraging you to drink to relax, cope, socialise, have fun -perhaps ask yourself whether the opposite may actually be closer to the truth…

And then consider what you believe about yourself?

This can be a clue to your motivation to drink and how it has become such a big part of your life. Do you believe you need to drink for confidence? Drink to fit in? Or to socialise so you are not boring? Use wine to cope with sadness, loneliness, grief, stress? Or perhaps it is purely a habit that has crept into your daily rituals.

The thing about alcohol is that the first drink gives that initial, fleeting, feel-good feeling which our subconscious mind mistakenly interprets as the solution to everything. Day after day we crave more of that feel good boost but the more we drink the worse the day after and as easy as that our relationship with alcohol is forged and sadly over time it actually resets our ability to experience real pleasure. Often the worse we feel about ourselves the more we desire alcohol and unfortunately alcohol fuels sadness and anxiety.

The basis for how we feel about ourselves comes from long ago and often buried deep within our subconscious minds. We hear and experience things when we are young or at vulnerable times and often misinterpret these things which creates a reality that is not necessarily true or useful. This reality is then reinforced throughout our lives because we interpret everything using these same faulty beliefs leading to more negative self talk and even self-sabotage.

When we can listen to the stories we tell ourselves with a healthy dose of scepticism we have an opportunity to take back our power and realise that our past is not our future.

Hypnotherapy – a great way to re-evaluate beliefs that motivate destructive behaviours

For many of us, shining a spotlight on our beliefs and behaviour causes stress because it highlights the fact that different parts of our selves are not in agreement. Consciously we may know that alcohol is not good for us and we really want to stop but subconsciously we believe we deserve this treat or need it to unwind or socialise and it’s fine because everyone is doing it. And because the subconscious mind is the very powerful seat of emotions, imagination and habits, it often wins the argument which then reinforces feelings of failure and fuels the conflict which makes us feel sad and bad all over again.

Brain Conflict- Conscious vs Subconscious (10% vs 90% which means solving this using only your conscious brain is not a fair fight?)

The discomfort experienced by any internal conflict is where hypnotherapy can be a very helpful tool. The therapist is merely a facilitator helping you to achieve a very relaxed state of mind where you can more easily access your strengths and resources as well as re-assess and reframe your personal beliefs. The process enables you to gain insight and resolution by getting your conscious and subconscious minds into alignment. This can be an empowering and liberating experience as you open yourself up to different ways of thinking and being. Our brains are truly phenomenal in their ability to create our reality and when we understand how to work with them, rather than against, this journey is simply easier and more enjoyable.

For more info on how hypnotherapy works please contact me belindaroxburgh@gmail.com

This article was originally written for World Without Wine 2018, click here for link.