Moving Beyond Chemical Dependency

How to Manifest the Life of Your Dreams Using Hypnosis & Mindfulness

(The Three Rules of Sobriety)

By DLScott CtHA / CDP

               What we focus our attention on is what we get.  I have been a hypnotherapist and Chemical Dependency Counselor for over 18 years. I have taught from both a traditional abstinence view point of treatment utilizing standard 12 step methods to change your life, and a harm reduction view point utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques that help a person move beyond the active use of drugs, utilizing the principles of harm reduction and clinical hypnosis.

               As a chemical dependency counselor I have had thousands of clients walk through my doors, and immediately tell me what they don’t want, “I don’t want to use drugs, alcohol, (fill in the blank)”. When I ask them the simple question, then what is it that you do want, I initially get a blank stare, and a confused “I just told you, I don’t want to use (fill in the blank).”

               If I were to tell you right now, don’t think of the New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty. I would bet my life savings on the fact that you are either visualizing an image of the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor, or you are trying hard to keep that image out of your head.

               You see the brain does not really get the concept of no, or don’t. What it gets is “Statue of Liberty – New York Harbor” and then those images come into view. In the same way, when someone comes to me and says, “I don’t want to take drugs”, what the brain does is creates images of drugs, and what it feels like to take those drugs. The first thing I do when someone comes to me is to explain three simple rules.

1)                     The Rule of Attention – what you put your attention on is what manifests in your environment.  Think about that, some people like to call it the law of attraction, and claim that what we focus our thoughts on is what we attract into our lives. I like to think of it as the fact that we live in a world where we are surrounded by literally millions of options, events, people, and activity in our lives. We don’t have to worry about attracting something into our lives, it is probably already there, and whether you are paying attention to the event or thing is what is really important. As an example, my partner and I use to be avid scuba divers, we LOVED to scuba dive. It was something that filled us, made us happy, and made our lives exciting. We were diving on the average of three to four times per week. We were also bumping into at least four or five other divers on a weekly basis. Where ever we went, out shopping, or just having coffee at a our local Starbucks, we were constantly noticing and interacting with other scuba divers.  Now does that mean that we were attracting those divers into our lives, or were we paying attention to what was already around us? The same rule applies if you are an active drug or alcohol user. You are focused on your use, either the benefits; stress relief, detachment from emotions, ability to feel more social; or the consequences such as hang over’s, loss of jobs, loss or friends and relationships, legal issues, etc. It is also probably true that you hang out in bars or clubs, or dealers houses, where there are many other people who use your drug of choice. We just have to focus our attention on the thing, and as we notice it in our environment, we interact with it.

No matter what the situation the rule is the same. If you are angry with someone, if you are unhappy about your job, relationship, whatever it might be for you, I will guarantee you that more of reasons to focus on those things will continue to show up, these are the circumstances you will notice in your environment. If you are happy about your job, if you experience good friends, relationships, a nice place to live, and your focus is filled with these images, these are the circumstances and events that you will notice and experience in your environment.

However you want to look at it, we are surrounding ourselves with, (literally manifesting into our lives), our focus of attention.  So I ask you the question, what are you paying attention to? Are you paying attention to the fact that you are an active drug user, that you have constant cravings and urges re: your drug use, or are you focusing your attention on what you would like your life to be about, the more positive features in your life. What would your life be like if you were to wake up, and immediately greet the day with a list of all of those things in your life that you are grateful for. How different would it be for you, if you simply made it a daily habit of waking each morning and naming three things in your life that you really are grateful for, such as friends, a special relationship, and a roof over your head, your job, etc? Naming off three things, and then allowing yourself to contemplate how wonderful it is that you have those things in your life.

When I give this tool to clients, I usually hear the same responses, “you just don’t understand, I am addicted to drugs, I have no control over the drugs, and can’t stop the urges or cravings”.

You are absolutely correct. You have no control over the thoughts that go through your brain, what you do have control over is the fact that you don’t have to buy into every thought or craving that comes up.

2)      The Rule of Detachment: You are not your thoughts; you are not your body. Rene Decartes, (1596 – 1650), a Christian philosopher, made the famous statement, “I think therefore I am”.  WRONG!!!!!! Your brain is a powerful and marvelous tool, that has millions of thoughts flowing through it every day, thoughts about what you are going to have for dinner, thoughts about things from the past, and worries of the futures, but none of these thoughts are the real you. You, the real you, is the observer of these thoughts, in many cases the reactor to these thoughts, but you are not these thoughts. Think about your car. If I were to ask you to go get into your car, turn on the ignition to start the motor, put the car in gear, take off the brake and then get out of the car, what would happen? The car would start moving forward and continue on an erratic path until it crashes into something. The car has no driver; it is simply being moved by the engine. Now think of your body, as the body of the car, and think of the engine of the car as your brain. Just because the car is able to move with the power of the engine, it still needs a driver to guide it. Your body can move around with the power of the brain, but it still needs you, the driver, to guide it through life.

                      The most important thing that I can teach a new client is the ability to witness

 and observe their thoughts without reacting to every thought that goes through their  brain and that includes the thoughts we call urges and cravings. A simple way to detach from your thoughts is to practice mindfulness meditation. This can be accomplished in  many ways, but the way I prefer is to take about6 10 minutes, twice a day, and just count your breathing, starting with the in breath as one, the out breath as two, the in breath as three, and the out breath as four, continuing this until you reach the count of ten.  What you will and should find is that it will be hard to continue to focus on your          breathing, because your brain will do exactly what it was created to do, it will continue to churn out thoughts.  What you will also begin to discover that is you continue to practice this exercise; you will start recognizing quickly that you are  aware of these constant thoughts, and that will give you the ability to let go of them of or detach from them. Learning to do this will allow you to recognize an urge or a craving, and then do whatever it takes to move on to something else, perhaps performing a task that you really would benefit from.

Once this rule is integrated into the client’s life, it is time to start looking at how you can start gaining the same benefits that you once got from active drugs or alcohol, using other behaviors.   

Most people use drugs or alcohol to obtain stress relief, to become more relaxed in social settings, to avoid unwanted or negative emotions, or simply to make themselves feel better. The problem is that, although the substances start out accomplishing these benefits, they also cause consequences that begin to far outweigh the benefits.

3)      The Rule of Deliberate Creation – The brain knows no difference between a real or an imagined event. It simply reacts to the images that are it contains. The idea of “Don’t think about drinking, or don’t think about using drugs”, simply creates an image in your brain of using alcohol, or using drugs. This image causes familiar feelings of being high which lead to urges and cravings towards the alcohol or drug.

            With hypnosis, the client is lead into a very relaxed state of focused awareness

In which the conscious portion of the brain is bypassed and the subconscious portion of the mind is allowed to take charge. One of the duties of the subconscious portion of the brain is to protect and heal the body. It is this portion of the brain which is in charge of our autonomic functions such as blood flow, respiration, maintaining healing and health, such as healing wounds and correcting illnesses.

            Think of the brain like a powerful computer, and like any computer it works best when the programming is kept clean and free of virus’s. When the subconscious portion of your mind is filled with images of lack, low self worth, and low self esteem, these images act like a virus in your computer. They are written in the same language of the rest of the program, but because they create negative feelings, and negative focus in your life, the result is that you begin experiencing more and more negative events in your life. As I said before; we are surrounded by hundreds of events and circumstances in our lives, but due to the focus of our thoughts, we will experience those events and circumstances that correspond with our feelings created by the images in our brains. The outside events may not exactly match the details of the images, but the event will be sufficient to cause the same type of feelings. How many times have you heard yourself say, “Why do these types of things always happen to me?”

            Simple and effective clinical hypnotic techniques can clean up the old programming, old images, and replace them with powerful new programs and images that promote health, happiness, prosperity, feelings of well being, and the motivation to create and live the type of life that you have always dreamed of.  

Most people starting use drugs or alcohol to fit in, to feel better about themselves, to cover over those subconscious images and programs that have held them back. By using the power of hypnosis people are finding that they can achieve those benefits from the inside, and when you can do that, you no longer have to rely on a substance outside of yourself. The motivation to continue the use of drugs begins to simply fade from your life, and you easily and effortlessly Move Beyond Chemical Dependency.