Subtract the Addiction from your life!
You’ve heard that phrase many times, haven’t you. It’s reinforced everywhere you go mainly by the people/companies/groups that are trying to help you recover! Imagine that, your best hope for help comes from the same camp as the people who say you can’t be helped. This is why addiction statistics go up every year. Lifestyle and environment is one of the main causative factors of addiction and with modern day stress on the increase people are turning to substances for what they aren’t getting in their life and the help out there really isn’t that effective, which, if you’re reading this, you know all about.
We are pack animals so when we’re in a group we feel safe and protected. This is why the relapse rate is so high following group-work and rehab centres, we feel better in the group but eventually the group-work ends and we’re thrown into the same environment as before the group-work started so the addiction is triggered again. You see, it’s not often the work in the group that helps, it’s being in the safety of the group that meets our unmet needs.
There is strong evidence for past trauma and human needs not being met for us turning to a substance, be it alcohol, sex, cigarettes, opiates (the list is almost endless), for a coping mechanism to the stress and anxiety of modern life.
An interesting study with rats was carried out based on an experiment in the 1980s. The experiment was simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.
A professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have coloured balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?
In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling. The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.
What this study taught us about addictive behaviour is that the very addiction, at some level, is a coping mechanism for an unmet need which the brain duly tries to satisfy. If all our needs are being met then there is no need for the brain to ‘help’ you by finding something/substance to find satisfaction in.
In the Brain
There are chemicals in the brain that are part of the addiction feeling called dopamine and serotonin. On a very basic level it’s the dopamine that motivates us to do what is necessary to meet our needs and once a need has been met then serotonin is released which makes us feel sated and happy whilst inhibiting the motivation drive of dopamine. When serotonin levels are low, the motivating effects of dopamine in the brain become amplified. In this scenario, anything that might be associated with the motivating need, say hunger, becomes strongly provocative. Seeing an advertisement for food, thinking of a kitchen table, hearing someone snacking on the train, all become strong triggers for dopamine and the motivation to sate hunger. Stress, especially chronic inescapable stress, lowers serotonin. When serotonin is low, not only do cravings increase, but depression and anxiety can also result. In this way, a person can become vulnerable to any substitute that has an effect on dopamine and serotonin levels, such as alcohol, drugs, or addictive processes such as sex, gambling or overeating, Thus, the addiction cycle begins.
In the Mind
Your brain doesn’t just create an addiction randomly, it needs an instruction, a signal, This is where your mind comes into play. Who we are now is a construct of everything before us. If you were a child and watched an alcoholic parent drink every day then your inquisitive and pattern-matching mind would think this is the correct behaviour and you may find a desire to drink every day too, just like the little child watching Mum from his pram smoke every day, this becomes learnt behaviour.
Trauma, if not reconciled, leaves a footprint in our mind of certain needs not being met. For example, child sex abuse can leave someone growing up with a warped idea of love and thinking that to feel love you must have sex, so the need for love becomes a sex addiction. A drug, to some people, is more reliable than a family who constantly lets them down so the drug fulfils a need so then you have drug addiction. When the stress of daily life gets overwhelming then getting drunk is a way of escaping that so you develop an alcohol addiction. This is only a small representation of how an addiction can be formed, there are many, many others too.
The Release Programme!
I’ve created a programme based on many successful protocols, techniques and processes from a range of therapies and methodologies which has helped many of my clients to be released from the addiction. Notice how the programme doesn’t have the word addiction or recovery in it? That’s because my methods focus on you regaining control and being released from your pain and struggles.
What this programme gives you:
- Three sessions of dynamic changework with cutting edge techniques
- MP3 for daily listening and calming influence
- Exercises for you to do daily to keep you balanced and in control
- The ability to control and choose what you eat/drink/other, not have it control you
- Dealing with and removing of habits and cravings
- Improved resilience to deal with life!
- Being you again
What is your addiction costing you? How much would you pay to get back in control?
The 3 session programme is only £225! (Norwich office)