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Addictive Habits are a class of habits that are persistent such as Smoking, nail biting, Binge Eating, Procrastination and just about anything else that seems impossible to get rid of. Often they can have a chemical component, such as Smoking or Opioid use, but the thing that makes them persistent may not be the chemical addiction at all.
I’m going to use Smoking as my poster child, since it’s one of the most straight forward and understandable of the Addictive Habits. But remember, almost all Addictive Habits follow the same basic pattern. So even if you don’t smoke, you can learn from the model. Just substitute your favorite habit for smoking and it will fit.
When a person starts smoking they don’t do it automatically. Maybe it was what your friends did and it was cool, or because relatives did it, so it’s ok. But for whatever reason, it starts as a deliberate, conscious act, that uses several of the available attention compartments (1 and 2, the action itself, 3 avoiding the fire hazard, 4 keep your other from knowing, 5 hide the ashes). Oops, if you’re on a when your attention span is 5 items, that’s all of your attention span, and if you’re at peak and can handle 9 data items, that’s still over half of your data capacity wasted.
Keep doing it and pretty soon your unconscious mind sees it and says to itself “hey, they are wasting conscious capacity that could be better used in dealing with the present and immediate future. So I'll just take it over so the conscious mind is free to do what it’s designed to do. And suddenly you think about a cigarette and all at once you’re smoking and maybe wondering why.
But your unconscious is also very efficient. If it is doing something like that, it will find some other use for it, maybe a distraction from a busy day or to take the focus off a stressful situation, or if it’s a married couple, one sits down and lights a cigarette as a signal to their partner—hey, let’s spend some time together and talk. These are what we call secondary benefits or secondary gains, and they are often the real addictive factors in a habit that’s hard to break.
It is fairly easy to stop smoking either with hypnosis, or Chantix or just plain will power, but you’ve probably heard the old joke “Yeah, I stopped smoking but then I gained 35 pounds. That isn’t a joke at all. It happens because the conscious mind actually still needs that secondary benefit, so the unconscious mind attached it to another behavior that was already there—snacking, so you end up doing more of it!
Or a person can actually quit and apparently have no side effects for years, and suddenly some stressful incident comes along, and bang—they are smoking again. That’s because when they quit they hadn’t really needed the secondary benefit when they quit smoking so it wasn’t attached to anything. A couple years later though, something stressful happened and nothing had been in place to deal with stress so the old behavior which worked for stress came back and brought with it the secondary benefits.
Here is how I deal with those habits. Once you have learned self-hypnosis (all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, I just make it plain to you from the start), I have you enter trance and reach a good working depth where you are completely comfortable. Then I have your unconscious mind separate the smoking from those benefits. Then find new behaviors that will give the same benefits as the smoking and extra benefits besides but have no negative side effects.
The next step is to have the unconscious mind splice the new behaviors in where you would have smoked and then move into the future and test them, to make sure they will give the benefits that are needed with no negative effects. Once they perfect replacement is found, I have the unconscious arrange to have the conscious mind use the new behavior any time you would have smoked.
I also change the way you think about smoking. You came to me because you’d tried to quit and it hadn’t worked. You tried and the very concept of “trying” implies the possibility of failing—wrong approach! The moment you decided to really do something effective about smoking, you became A Non-Smoker. I have your unconscious mind change the way you think about it. From the moment you made that choice you were a Non-Smoker, you like it that way and you are going to stay that way and enjoy the difference.
That’s the short form of what I do, because there’s more reinforcement, but the same pattern applies to other Addictive Habits as well, including addiction to opiods and medications. The specific details vary, since in some cases it requires training to manage chronic pain or extra training in relaxation and stress control, but the general pattern is the same.
Does it work? For most people, providing they really want it to work for themselves, it will. You have to be selfish about it—doing it just to please someone else or to get them to quit nagging you won’t work—you have to want to do it for YOU! But if you really want the change for yourself there is a very good chance that it will work.
Want it to work, believe it will work, Will it to work and it will work! That’s the secret of hypnotic success.