“I really need a drink” is a common expression. We see it in the movies, we hear it from friends and relatives, we say it ourselves. The relationship between alcohol and stress is ancient. Relax, have a drink, wind down.

Yes, alcohol is a downer, slowing the brain and the nervous system, and used in moderation, it works! But when alcohol is overused, it begins deteriorating your brain and your nervous system so that what was once a relaxing experience now becomes a necessity, just to feel normal. This then can trigger anxiety and depression and a number of other problems which create more stress in your life.

Siobhan’s Alcohol and Stress Pattern

Siobhan had a stressful job, but that wasn’t her issue in reaching for the bottle. She told me she handles that quite well, aside from experiencing some self-doubt. It was her personal life which brought on the urge to drink. When we really explored it, we found that Siobhan drinks as a reaction to feeling rejected by others. It began with her ex husband, a feeling of being not good enough, and it was later repeated with her falling out with a female friend. Since then, Siobhan has had a hard time coping with raising the kids and just dealing with the little things, and she feels the urge to drink.

Siobhan repeatedly told me that the things she stresses about are nothing important, but they get to her and she needs relief. When I asked about work again, Siobhan said that she began to doubt herself on the job at the same time she began to feel rejected, during the breakdown of her marriage. Until then she had no trouble speaking to bosses, for example. And so Siobhan’s confidence was deeply rocked during these personal crises, leading to feelings of being not good enough.

Putting the Pieces Together

Self doubt began with rejection, and this has led to stress and overreacting with the things that Siobhan can “afford” to overreact about. If Siobhan felt good enough, she would be able to continue to cope with the everyday things. Her feelings of inadequacy then lead to an urge to drink, in order to cope and top self soothe. On an unconscious level, Siobhan cannot afford to overreact to work stress because work is a necessity, especially now that she is a single mum. But her unconscious mind needs an outlet from the pain of feeling not good enough and so has allowed the little everyday things to collapse. Of course if the drinking continued, her job could also be in jeopardy, but the unconscious mind is not strategic enough to foresee that. It is the instinctive, reactive part of the mind, it is the child mind.

After session one, Siobhan said that she had a highly stressful week but experienced no urge to drink alcohol, which was fantastic. Sessions two and three focused more on healing that rejected part as an important step for Siobhan in breaking the link between alcohol and stress. Energetically releasing her ex husband and her ex-friend was also crucial. Rediscovering her self-worth was also key.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand why we feel the way that we do, especially as in Siobhan’s case, over the little things that shouldn’t really matter. It is important to remember that your unconscious mind is always talking to you, and if you can’t hear it, it will start shouting at you, as with Siobhan’s case.

If you need assistance in unlinking alcohol and stress, cigarettes and stress, food and stress or anything else, we can help. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast.