Except for a very brief alcohol experiment in my 20s, I’ve rarely had alcohol in my glass before or since.
When it’s been in my glass, it’s usually because we were all raising our glass during a wedding toast or some celebration. While everyone raised their glass and drank their wine, I’d raise my glass and pretend to drink. And I’d put my glass down, full.
When people have asked why I don’t drink, I keep it polite and say, “I don’t like alcohol. I don’t like the taste.”
But if I wanted to go beyond polite conversation, which I never have, I’d say, “When I was younger, I was scared that I could become an alcoholic.” You’re the first to know this secret.
If I’m at a party, I want to be there, fully be there. And for me, alcohol doesn’t let me do that. It alters my state. And I’d rather feel good without alcohol.
I don’t mind if other people drink. When I was younger, for many of my friends, the whole point of going to a party was to get into an altered state. And over the years, I’ve had some friends and colleagues who were alcoholics, albeit high-functioning alcoholics.
Though I don’t drink, I’m no different than my clients who have issues with alcohol, hard drugs, smoking, or food. On a deep human level, we all have our compulsions, it’s just a matter of how much damage they do to us.
In a previous post, I talked about self-soothing. That’s a big part of being human, the desire to feel better. To feel good. And to feel better, we may act in self-destructive ways or in helpful ways.
Recently I was talking to someone who asked me about my own limiting beliefs. I rattled off quite a few. If he had the time, I could have talked for hours.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the progress I’ve made in resolving a lot of my past. When I look back at my days of rage versus the more peaceful man I am today, I’m thankful that I never went to jail. I’m thankful that I had some dark experiences, because it helps me understand my clients. And my past has made me the man I am today.
Yet even with all the resolving I’ve done, I have much to resolve on my journey.
Here’s an example. It’s not dramatic, it’s just something that’s recent that’s been on my mind.
Normally, I can go to bed at a reasonable time and fall asleep within moments.
But recently, I’ve stayed up late. Why? I’m upset at my wife, Holly, and I’m upset at myself. I’d rather not mention the details; let’s just say it’s standard marriage stuff.
And rather than deal with what’s upsetting me, I’ve just watched TV later than intended. It’s now become a compulsion, because I know it’s unhealthy, yet I keep doing it.
Could I resolve this by using self-hypnosis to talk to my subconscious mind? Sure. In fact, I could probably get this resolved pretty quickly if I did that.
But, I haven’t done it, because my subconscious mind was brilliant. It made me forget that I could easily solve this problem. In fact, it wasn’t until tonight that I realized I could solve this pretty easily.
My subconscious has used this brilliant strategy before, meaning it’s made me forget I could solve an issue. It’s made me think that being upset was the way to go. But deep down, I don’t want to be upset at Holly or myself. I’d rather get this resolved.
And until tonight, my subconscious had made me forget I had the power to solve this problem. Oh, subconscious, you sneaky guy! But I’m not angry at you. I’m sure you did it for a reason you think is good.
Now that I’ve caught onto his strategy, I’ll have a little chat and tell you what happened…
… … …
Okay, I’m back after hypnotizing myself. Here’s the quick version of what happened when I spoke with my subconscious mind (SCM).
William: “Hey subconscious, how are you?”
SCM: “I’m okay.”
William: “Are you upset with Holly?”
SCM: “No, not anymore.”
William: “What’s the reason we’ve been staying up late watching TV?”
SCM: “I’m trying to keep you from getting some important things done the next day.”
William: “What would happen if I got them done?”
SCM: “You’d move forward on those projects, and that scares me.”
William: “What do you mean?”
SCM: “You know (SCM tells me, but I’ll keep that private)… and that really scares me.”
William: “You know these projects are important to me, right?”
William: “And you know I want you to feel safe, right?”
William: “To finish these projects, I need your help. I can’t do this without you. Would you be open to hearing an idea?”
William: “Each step of the way, we’ll talk. I’ll make sure you feel safe during each step. And if you don’t feel safe, we’ll slow down until you do feel safe. And I’ll hold your hand. Does that sound good?”
William: “Here’s my hand. You can hold it.” (The subconscious part I’ve been speaking with takes my hand, and I can sense that he feels good. He’s a young part, really just a scared child. That’s pretty common during hypnosis to be speaking with younger subconscious parts.)
During our chat, I didn’t want to argue, attack, or make my subconscious feel badly about its behavior. My goal was to have a peaceful resolution, to have my subconscious help me rather than hinder me.
Of course, the proof is in the pudding. I’ll see whether I sleep earlier. And of course, I need to do my part. I told my subconscious that we’d talk every step of the way.
I have a promise to keep. As long as I keep my promise, my subconscious will keep his. Even though we sometimes disagree, no matter what, we’re a team.