Start smoking to stop drinking
My client was an events manager who cannot stop smoking. He says that when he stops he gets cravings. He read the Alan Carr book one time, and stopped for three years. Then he started again. Nothing unusual about that.
He stopped himself smoking for four months. Then he deliberately started again in order to be able to cut down on his drinking. He works in the hospitality industry and tended to binge drinking because it was available all the time. He thought that if he started smoking, he could stop the drinking. Apparently it worked. He did stop drinking but now he is smoking, and he can't stop.
Patterns of smoking
The pattern of repeatedly starting smoking, then stopping, and then starting again is a good indicator of Black and White thinking. A lot of smoking is caused by B & W thinking. I suspected that this client was smoking because he had high expectations and a touch of depression.
I showed him the list of symptoms of dysthymia, and he said that he recognized parts of his behavior in every section. We discussed this for a while. I explained how dysthymia is a common form of depression, and affects many parts of your life, including your habits. I told him it was mainly an inherited problem, and he likely got it from his father or his mother. He told me that his father in fact is an alcoholic. And it was clear that his father has all the symptoms as well.
I explained that his father probably had dysthymia. We spent quite a lot of time going over how his behavior fitted perfectly with the drivers of dysthymia. This all came as a revelation to my client.
He could now see that many of the things that he was using as excuses or reasons for his own behavior were in fact not true. Depression was a much better explanation. He confessed that he had long worried that he might have depression. But refused to go into it, because he was even more worried that he might have schizophrenia!
He recognized that his dad was driven by some sort of 'demons'. At some level he feared that he too had these demons. And didn't want to end up an alcoholic as well. Having dysthymia as a rational explanation was a great relief to him.
Ending stop smoking to stop drinking
I did a standard hypnosis session aimed at helping him deal with his emotional problems. Once he has stabilized his behavior he will be ready to tackle the smoking. One step at a time. The real issue is not that he felt he had to start smoking to stop drinking. The real issue is that same unconscious behavior was driving both, as it had with his father.
He was amazed and delighted by hypnosis and the calming effects of trance. He said that "I want to come back and do this every week". Great.
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.