Feelings of self-loathing, fear and helplessness are only some of the emotions that accompany the alcoholic in his unhappy state. An alcoholic has no control, or not enough control, over his own emotions. It can happen that the drinker is unable to cope, emotionally, with the world, and may use other negative emotions – such as blame – to cope.
The alcohol is a way to numb feelings, but unfortunately it only works in the short term. The use of alcohol only adds to the feelings of failure and self-pity, which of course reinforces the need to drink. In the long term, alcohol addiction makes the problem grow steadily worse in a vicious cycle, because it simply hides the problem instead of solving it.
For the alcoholic to get free of the addiction, it becomes vital to take back control. Without control, he has no reason (in his perception) to change. But, when he has learned how to take charge of his own emotional and mental state – something that even many non-alcoholics find hard – then there is an excellent chance of lasting change.
And how can this be done? How can the alcoholic learn to take charge of his own mind and learn how to stop drinking alcohol and have a good time instead? The mere idea that this is possible will seem preposterous to a typical alcoholic, who is so wrapped in his own misery and self-shame that he cannot see the possibilities.
The trick is to learn certain mental skills. The right types of mental skills allow the alcoholic to change the way that he or she unconsciously views the world. It changes, sometimes subtly and sometimes hugely, the way that this person thinks and feels about things, and what he says to himself.
These skills, fortunately, are easy to learn and practice.
There are several different “styles” of mental skills that can be learned. Some examples are EFT (emotional freedom technique), NLP (neurolinguistic programming) and hypnosis.
Whilst therapists will “do” the work on the alcoholic, all of them should teach the skills for self-application. For example, self-hypnosis is easy to learn and do. Learning to use these skills for himself gives the alcoholic both the ability and the responsibility of getting better.
In other words, it gives back control to the sufferer.
With persistence and practice, and help from therapists, the alcoholic can learn to take back control and start to choose a better way to live.