Hypnotherapy & Meditation Are Tools That Help Reduce Drinking

Hypnotherapy and Meditation are both excellent tools to help you reduce drinking but also and importantly, to change the beliefs that drive the behaviour and alleviate symptoms that trigger it.

Hypnotherapy and Meditation have the ability to help deal with the reasons why people begin to drink to excess.  At least these are the reasons they tell themselves they drink.

Here's a few examples

  • Alcohol is a confidence boost. Alcohol is often seen as a way to relax and socialise. This belief can lead people to drink more than they would otherwise, in order to fit in or feel more comfortable in social situations.
  • Alcohol is a way to cope with stress. Alcohol is sometimes used to numb pain or escape from difficult thoughts and feelings. 
  • Alcohol is a way to celebrate. Alcohol is often used to celebrate special occasions or to relax after a long day. 
  • Alcohol is a rite of passage. In some cultures (mine!), alcohol is seen as a way to mark important milestones in life, such as turning 21 or graduating from uni. 
  • Alcohol is not addictive.  Whilst Neuroscientists are learning more about how our brains develop habits into addictions, a lot of people still believe that alcohol is not that addictive.

However, we know that excess use of alcohol can be dangerous and counterproductive, particularly as alcohol can actually worsen any stressor or mental /physical health conditions.

Hypnotherapy Helps Change The Beliefs We Have About Alcohol

Hypnotherapy helps to support the person wanting to reduce alcohol, to analyse their beliefs about the behaviour.

Whilst in a relaxed state, Hypnosis enables access to the subconscious mind where beliefs not always readily accessible influence attitudes of mind and behaviour.

We cannot change what we do not see!

It's important to know what it is that your mind is influenced by, if you have a desire to change.

People grow up with specific beliefs around alcohol.   Typically we learn those beliefs from a young age before we even know what 'drinking' actually is.

Hypnotherapy can help us to identify the specific beliefs that underpin the behaviour you want to change.

There are many presuppositions embedded in our minds such as:

  • Alcohol is necessary to have fun. This presupposition is often based on the belief that alcohol helps you to relax, therefore become more sociable.
  • Drinking more alcohol means more fun.  The idea that the more you drink, the more outrageous the night will be and therefore the more hilarious the experience.
  • Drinking a few glasses is normal.   Many people have told themselves it's normal to drink each night, just a glass of wine or two and after all - doesn't everyone?

We have usually hypnotised ourselves into believing what suits our desired behaviour and unconsciously those beliefs get stuck.

We need to first of all drain that swamp of negative thinking and then take a good look at what is actually true.

The Power Of Your Mind To Hypnotise Yourself Into Drinking More!

We hypnotise ourselves with our thoughts.  Those that are repetitive and those that are attached to strong feelings.

What I've learned from many years of working with people is this ...

They will often have 'setup phrases' they use around alcohol and they forget their unconscious is 'listening!'.

Such as;

"I'm really looking forward to getting super drunk tonight!"

"We always drink a lot when we get together, we have such a lot of fun!"

"I need to get p1ssed!  I've had a very stressful day!"

"Gawd I really need a drink!"

"I'll just have a few drinks to chill out"

What isn't clear with these thoughts is just how impactful they are.

How often have you said something like the above and found yourself with a hangover the next day?

If you really want to reduce your drinking, hypnotise yourself to think about drinking less!

Become aware of your own setup phrases and change them.  

"I'm really looking forward to having a fun night tonight.  Remembering everything tomorrow because I've only had a couple of drinks will be fantastic!"

Be specific with your thinking.  Note that what you say, your mind will follow as instructions.

"When we get together, we have a lot of fun!"

If you don't even mention of alcohol your mind won't associate that behaviour as the reason to have fun.

 "I need to Meditate to get rid of the stress of today!"  

I would simply change any behaviour that suggests you 'need' to drink to manage stress.  Change that to going to the Gym, going for a walk or Meditating. 

"Gawd I really need a drink!"

Do you?  Need is a strong word.  Think about what you actually 'need'.  Is it to be more relaxed, have some time to yourself, wind down?  How else can you achieve that?

"I'll just have a few drinks to chill out"

There is an embedded command in that sentence.  'Drinks to chill out'.  Your mind will delete the word 'just' and focus on having a few drinks.  How many is a few?

There is a useful case study on my practice website that illustrates how the pandemic led to an increase in people's drinking (21% in one study!) and how a variety of techniques helped to bring back joy, contentment and a sense of being in control.

Mindfulness & Meditation Change Your Relationship To Alcohol

The above is an exercise in becoming 'mindful'.  You are mindful of your thinking and how those thoughts have become beliefs that have influenced your behaviour unconsciously.

Begin noticing what you think about drinking, when you start 'thinking' about drinking and what beliefs you have about 'not drinking' or 'drinking less'.

Each time you notice a negative harmful belief, challenge it.  Rewrite the belief into something you know to be true.

"I'm really looking forward to getting super drunk tonight!"

Could become...

"Being drunk is embarrassing and I hate how people behave when they're drunk."

"I need a drink"

Could become ...

I want to relax and I know just the way to do so.  I don't 'need' alcohol to do that!

Whilst Hypnosis helps to reveal the hidden beliefs and challenge them, Meditation will help you to tackle the stress in your brain that often triggers a desire to 'feel different'.  

If years of repeating the beliefs about drinking being a de-stressor worked against your health, it's possible that by creating new beliefs that serve you in enhancing your health and wellbeing, will achieve the same.

The Role of Dopamine in Increased Alcohol 

We can't have an article about excess use of alcohol without helping to explain one of the factors that influences the behaviour via brain/body impact of Dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in many brain functions, including movement, motivation, and reward.  

When you drink alcohol, it increases dopamine levels in the brain, which can lead to feelings of pleasure and reward.

dopamine relationship to alcohol consumption hypnotherapy meditation reduce alcohol


This is why people are more likely to drink more alcohol in an attempt to recreate these feelings.

Over time though, the repeated exposure to alcohol can lead to changes in the brain that make people more dependent on alcohol or at least the neurotransmitter it releases.

Clearly this can lead to a condition known as alcohol use disorder, which is characterised by compulsive alcohol use despite negative consequences.  Plus the potential for significant withdrawal effects.

Along with the many ways described in this article that can help to reduce the risk of excessive drinking, another is to become fully aware of the role that dopamine plays in alcohol addiction. 

Here are some of the ways how dopamine plays a role in excessive drinking:

  • Dopamine increases the rewarding effects of alcohol. Alcohol increases dopamine levels in the brain, which makes it more rewarding. This can lead to people drinking more alcohol in an attempt to feel good.
  • Dopamine decreases the ability to control alcohol intake. Alcohol can damage the brain's ability to control dopamine levels. This can make it more difficult to stop drinking once you have started.
  • Dopamine increases the risk of relapse. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to low dopamine levels. This can make people more likely to relapse into drinking after they have been sober for a period of time.

There are a number of supplements that can help to manage some of the symptoms of stopping drinking and it's well worth researching.  Obviously all round health and nutrition is important when it comes to recovery if there is a serious issue.

This article is focused on reducing alcohol and regaining control of the thinking that leads to the behaviour.

NLP Combined with Hypnosis: Working To Reduce Alcohol

We've covered the basics of why Hypnotherapy and Meditation reduce alcohol when used as a tool to alleviate the stressors, challenge beliefs and acknowledge hypnotic suggestions.

Here's how NLP combined with Hypnosis can be applied in addressing excess drinking:

  1. Reframing Beliefs and Patterns: NLP explores the underlying beliefs and thought patterns that contribute to excessive drinking. Through techniques like reframing, you can challenge and restructure your beliefs around alcohol, replacing them with more empowering and healthier perspectives. By shifting the internal dialogue and creating new associations with alcohol, you will change the perception of it.
  2. Anchoring and State Management: NLP recognises the power of associations and mental / emotional states. People may have specific triggers or emotional states that lead to drinking excessively. NLP techniques like anchoring can help create new associations by linking alternative positive states or behaviours to those triggers. This helps interrupt the automatic response of reaching for a drink and will empower you to choose healthier alternatives.
  3. Language Patterns and Self-Talk: NLP places emphasis on the language we use, both internally and externally. By becoming aware of the language patterns and your self-talk related to excess drinking, you can reframe your internal dialogue and adopt more supportive and empowering language. This can help break the cycle of negative self-perception and create new positive associations with healthier behaviours.
  4. Visualisation and Future Pacing: NLP and Hypnosis, utilise visualisation techniques to create vivid mental images of desired outcomes. You can visualise yourself in situations where you choose moderation or abstain from excessive drinking, experiencing the positive emotions and benefits that come with it. Future pacing, another NLP technique, involves mentally rehearsing and embodying the desired changes, making them more likely to manifest in real life.

These techniques help you to develop a new set of beliefs, empowered by the belief of becoming the best version of you that you desire!

Enhanced Life members are has a few tools already to help you get started challenging excess drinking.  You can check those out in the Members area but first you might find the specific page hosting Hypnosis and Meditation audios for reducing alcohol really helpful.

It's important to note that Hypnosis, NLP and Meditation is not generally considered a standalone solution but can be used as a complementary approach in conjunction with other therapeutic interventions or support systems.

In the event you believe you have an addiction or physical dependence on alcohol, you must visit your Doctor for support and guidance in how to reduce or abstain.

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About the Author Leah Butler-Smith

Leah Butler-Smith is a professional Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist with Advanced training in Hypno-analysis, Inner Child Healing, Trauma therapies and more. As an NLP Master Practitioner & NLP Trainer, she has experience Coaching people from all walks of life inc Business. She is the Founder of Enhanced Life & the creator of the Enhanced Life App. As a Freedom Loving Spirit she supports Humanity in every way she can.

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