Category Archives: addiction

How do I help someone with addiction?

One of the most frustrating things on earth is watching someone you love throw their life away on an addiction.

It seems like nothing you say or do gets through to them. In fact the more you try to help them, the deeper they seem to sink into their addiction.

Sometimes that’s just annoying. Other times it’s a life and death situation.

If someone is addicted to coffee, you may not approve, but the chance are they’ll be ok. If they’re addicted to smoking, it may well be killing them, but it’s happening slowly and it may or may not affect them. If they’re addicted to alcohol, illegal or legal drugs they could be in more imminent danger. If they’re addicted to starving themselves, you may be watching them die.

Yet, despite this they don’t seem to be able to get their heads around the damage that they are doing to themselves. It’s as though the connections between what they ‘know’ is happening and the consequences to them are entirely gone.

I know this from personal experience.

I was a smoker for 17 years. I started when I was 21 (entirely old enough to know better) and quit 5 years ago. I can remember people saying to me “you know it’s bad for you right?” as though I was a moron or lived under a rock or something. People on the street would come up to me and say things like “It’ll stunt your growth you know”. I think they thought that was funny as I’m 6ft tall and a grown ass woman. My mum (an ex smoker) hated the fact I smoked and would ask me repeatedly to quit.

None of that made any difference.

It wasn’t about education either. As I said, I started smoking when I was 21. I was working as a microbiologist in Liverpool having been to University studying Biochemistry. I knew what smoking did to a body. I knew what it ‘could’ do to me. The thing was, it didn’t really do anything nasty at first. It was just a laugh with mates when we were out drinking. By the time I’d developed a smokers cough, I was already well into the addicted part.

So what made me try to quit? For me it was my best friend. I was complaining to her about people moaning at me about smoking and she said “So, are you just going to smoke until you die?” That was it. No attitude, no lecture, just a question. A question I had to think about. As I thought about it over the next couple of weeks I realised I didn’t want to die a smoker. I could visualise what my old woman self would look like smoking and coughing, wheezing along, maybe with an oxygen tank….and it horrified me. So then I had to think, well if I don’t want to die smoking, I’m going to have to quit at some point. Why not now? I mean it’s not like it’s going to get any easier?

Here’s my advice.

Don’t

  1. Don’t Nag – it’s annoying and it just makes people dig their heals in.
  2. Don’t lecture – it just makes the person being lectured at think up opposite arguments, which then helps to persuade them that what they’re doing is OK
  3. Don’t promise rewards for abstinence – study after study has shown that offering rewards convinces the psyche that it must mean that thing they are being asked to do is difficult.

Do

  1. Model the behaviour you want them to adopt. If you have someone in your life who is drinking too much, don’t drink around them. Don’t make a thing of it, just don’t do it. If you do what you are asking them not to, it just normalizes it for them and they think you’re an idiot.
  2. Spend time with them. Show them they are loved and worth loving. One of the main reasons people self harm (and addiction IS a form of self harm) is because they don’t like themselves very much
  3. Do fun stuff that distracts from their addiction. The more good stuff they have going on in their lives, the less room there is for bad stuff.
  4. Ask questions. Get them to think about what they are doing, in their own time, in their own way
  5. Be prepared for the fact that you may never get through to them. Ultimately you have to accept that it’s their life to live.

One final note – don’t forget to look after yourself. Don’t get obsessed with their addiction. It won’t help you or them. Take care of yourself and model healthy, social behaviour. It’s more powerful than you know.


If you or someone you know has an issue with addiction, get help. You do not have to deal with this on your own. There are plenty of support groups online and in person. There are also thousands of professionals out there who can help you.

Good luck on your journey

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Am I addicted?

Have you ever wondered if you are an addict? Chances are that you probably have some form of addiction or another. If you smoke, drink daily, can’t start the morning without a coffee or end dinner without dessert then you may have an addiction.

An addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.

So let’s think about that for a moment. We know smoking is harmful to us so it’s easy to see that as an addiction, but other things are sometimes more difficult to see that way. Did you know that you should go at least 3 days a week without drinking any alcohol in order for your liver to recover? So drinking alcohol every day is damaging, even if it’s only a small glass of wine with dinner. If the idea of giving up booze for three days a week is uncomfortable – you have an addiction.

How about sugar? We know that too much sugar in our diet causes obesity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Still fancy a doughnut? Then you, my friend, are addicted!

Is there such a thing as a healthy addiction? Looking back at the definition, no there isn’t, but it’s not quite that simple.

Some people go to the gym every day. Exercising is good for us right? Yes, of course it is, but exercising every day is not. Your body needs time to recover and heal from exercise too. If you can’t have a rest day, you have an addiction. If you are exercising against doctors orders, you have an addiction. if you are exercising when you are unwell, you have an addiction. If you are exercising on an injury ….you guessed it.

How about a healthy diet. If you read my blog regularly you will now that I am always banging on about eating healthily. Veggies are good for you, nutrient rich food is important, eat you fibre blah blah blah. But if you are out with friends and can’t order off the menu because there’s nothing on it you can eat (and you don’t have specific allergies related to the foods) then you may have a type of addiction. It’s known as orthorexia, and it’s where people restrict their food choices in an unhealthy way.

Addiction is everywhere. I would suggest a few things.

First – Recognise your own addictions. If you don’t know you have them it’s very difficult to do something about them. Look at your day in a critical way and ask yourself is there any part of it that you would be unhappy if you couldn’t do. Then ask yourself – is that a healthy habit?

Second – ask those you love, and who love you, for their input. You may be surprised that they come up with things you may never have thought of. Things like excessive personal hygiene, excessive cleaning, watching too much porn and gaming often come up from other people.

Third – Try to change your routine to cut out your addiction.

Finally – Remember PEOPLE QUIT STUFF THEY ARE ADDICTED TO ALL THE TIME. Let that sink in for a moment. Just because you are addicted now, does not mean that you have to stay addicted. Yes it will feel uncomfortable. Yes it will be tricky and Yes, you CAN do it.

If people can quit heroin, you can quit smoking. If people can quit crack cocaine, you can quit sugar. I know you like it – they probably liked their heroin too.


Some people can kick their addictions on their own, and I would always suggest that as a first try. If however you struggle, that does not mean you have no other choices. Get support and help to quit your addiction from professionals who have the skills to help you.

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Quit Smoking Day 8 March 2017

https://www.talktherapies.co.uk

Hello you beautiful people!

Hands up if you’re a smoker….

Wow, that sucks for you. I know because I was a smoker for 17 years.

Let me list some of the many reasons it sucks…

  1. It’s seriously bad for your health – I mean seriously bad. Not only is it likely to shorten your life significantly, but it will also reduce your quality of life. Reduced blood flow can cause blindness, teeth falling out, amputation and stroke. Lung problems are almost a given and heart disease and cancer are likely. But you knew all of that right – I mean it’s not like you live under a rock.
  2. It’s expensive – now I’m all for spending your money on things you enjoy, but seriously, how much do you enjoy smoking? Work out how much you spend on smoking a week, then multiply that by 52. Chances are you are looking at thousands.
  3. You are constantly restricted. You can’t smoke here, you can’t smoke there. You are always being told where you can and can’t smoke.
  4. If you smoke in public, people are silently judging you all the time.
  5. You will occasionally have to go longer than you are comfortable with without smoking. Maybe it’s at work, maybe a friends home, maybe a flight, but there will be times that you cannot smoke for one reason or another and it will cause you stress, anxiety and discomfort.
  6. You kind of smell bad – all the time.
  7. The people that love you worry about you constantly
  8. If you have kids in your life they are learning from you. You are teaching them that smoking is a positive thing. Even if you tell them constantly that it isn’t they learn from your example far more than what you say. They see you smoke when you are stressed – they learn that smoking is good to calm you down.
  9. You are always thinking about whether you have enough cigarettes/tobacco. Do you need to make another trip to the shops? Will you have enough for the next day?
  10. Your self respect is not where it could be – trust me when I say, I have never felt prouder or more capable than the moment I realised I had quit smoking forever!

I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.

Now for the good news – You can be free from this crappy habit.

It is entirely possible for you to decide today that you will never smoke again and do it. It’s literally that simple. You will go through a couple of days of feeling a bit awkward, feel itchy and unconfortable and maybe have a short temper. So what. That might sound a bit tough, but that’s all you need to go through – a couple of days of feeling unconfortable. No pain, No agony, No awful consequences. After 2 days the nicotine will be out of your system and if you decide to never put it back in again, you will slowly but surely feel better and better. It will get easier and easier. Within a couple of weeks you will have got rid of the habit too and will think about it less and less.

Quitting smoking is easy. You just don’t put another cigarette it in you mouth.


I tried to quit smoking for years – unsuccesfully. It wasn’t until I tried hypnosis that it all fell into place. If you want some help getting free of the evil weed, give me a call.

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Addicted to Self Harm

self-harm-awareness

Today is self harm awareness day.

What does self harm mean to you. To me it can mean anything from cutting and burning yourself to smoking, drinking, overeating and promiscuity. I should know – I’ve done all of them at one time or another.

I want to start with the first examples I gave. Cutting and burning. To someone who’s never done this, it can seem alien and ridiculous to even think about never mind do.

The best way I could explain it was that it was a way of getting the inside pain out. When I self harmed in this way I was in a pretty dark place mentally. I felt lost, alone and scared. I was socially anxious (thought the people around me probably wouldn’t recognise that) and had real issues about self worth. I didn’t like myself very much and treated myself accordingly. The problem was, these internal wounds couldn’t be seen. Also they couldn’t heal. By turning them into outside wounds, I felt like I was taking some control. I could see them. I could understand them. I could watch them get better. They were not a cry for help. I kept them private and never shared them with anyone. In fact, the first time someone challenged the cuts on my arms, was the last time I did it.

Then came the second phase of my self harm. I self sabotaged. I quit university. I drank, smoked, took drugs and ate rubbish food. All in the name of ‘enjoying myself’. The problem was, it didn’t help. It numbed me a little, which I thought was useful at the time, but it didn’t fix anything.

The big question is – what does help?

For me it was a lot of little things. Working on forgiving myself, accepting that I wasn’t perfect and so shouldn’t hold myself accountable to insanely high standards. Being kinder to myself, becoming my own supporter instead of my personal bully. Accepting that I wasn’t going to feel good all of the time, but that also meant that I wasn’t going to feel bad all of the time too.

These things started to allow me to take care of myself instead of harming myself. I started eating better, quit smoking, stopped drinking (well mostly) and worked on my mental health through Mindfulness and meditation. I became more honest with myself and accepted who I am. I became strong enough to ask for help. And I got help. Help from my partner (who is awesome and amazing), help from my friends and help from people who know about this stuff.

I feel grateful every day that I survived this phase of my life and am now somewhere so much better. I also feel grateful that I went through it. Was it nice? NO! Was it useful? Yes, because it has given me more empathy to that problem than most people will ever have and it has given me the ability to be truly happy and grateful that I don’t feel like that anymore.


If you, or someone you know, is suffering in this way and using self harm as a coping mechanism, start with kindness. Encourage them to get help and support them through this.

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Addicted to Love

addictedto-love

As a segway on my blog, moving from the subject of Love for February and Addiction for March, today’s post is about those who are addicted to love.

I have a friend who is completely addicted to love. She loves the idea of love. She ends up going from one relationship to another with barely a gap between them. If you saw her Facebook feed you could be forgiven for thinking that she is a nightmare of a person to be with, but as her friend, I can tell you she’s actually a really great person. So why can’t she sort out her relationship situation?

Well, to start with, as I already mentioned, she goes from one relationship to another with barely enough chance to get catch her breath, let alone take some time to grieve for the old relationship and find calm and comfort from herself. Why is that important? Because she doesn’t know who she is. She’s never alone enough to get to know herself. I’m pretty sure if I asked her, she would say that she has a strong sense of who she is, but I don’t think she does. She certainly isn’t comfortable on her own. That’s why she goes searching for another relationship the moment the most recent one ends.

Now I don’t want to get too ‘Laws of attraction’ on you, but I do think we get back what we give out. If you’re in a happy mood you attract people who are happy. If you are in a grumpy mood, you attract people who are grumpy. If you are desperate and needy you attract either a) people who are desperate and needy (not that attractive) or b) people who will take advantage of your desperation and neediness. I would argue that neither of these is a great basis for a strong relationship.

This then leads to her being incredibly disappointed in how the relationship goes. She has wonderful expectations on what should happen. She likes a man to be a man’s man, tough and strong and able to look after her. She wants to be wined and dined. She wants them to be honest and emotionally available. She wants them to be amazing. When they turn out to be human, fallible and often a little emotionally closed off she gets upset and ends the relationship. Does she the take time to work out why this keeps happening? No, she dives straight back in again to see if she can get it right with the next one – and quite importantly, she blames them for not living up to her expectations. She constantly bemoans the fact that she can’t find a good man rather than working out why the good one’s aren’t chasing her.

So what should she do? Well to start with, take a break. Decide not to be in a relationship for a while. It would be helpful to her to take some time to let the wounds heal (and believe me, she feels like she is covered in wounds), to grow and to learn to be by herself. Then she needs to learn to love herself. Not just to put on a lot of puff and bluster (which she is already quite good at) but to actually learn to love all of herself. That means accepting the bad parts as well as the good. Once she has done that, maybe she will be able to be as kind to others. She will be able to love someone who is less than perfect, to understand them and help them in the way that she has helped herself. She will also be projecting more confidence and happiness – which I think she would find attractive in others, and they will find attractive in her.


Not everyone finds it easy to get over a relationship or to be on their own. If you or someone you know struggles with this, maybe you could find some help from a therapist. Invest in yourself – it pays dividends.

 

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Crack your cravings

crack-cravings

If you live in the western world, the odds are that you are carrying (at least) a few extra pounds. We should all know by now that being overweight increases the risks of a lot of the major killers – heart disease, stroke, cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. That combined with the time of year, a time of new years resolutions and promising to do something after the excess of Christmas, means you may well be on some sort of diet.

There are many different types of diet available. Atkins, Hollywood, Dukan, cabbage soup, food combining, portion control, sugar-free, paleo and clean eating to name just a few. They all have one thing in common. They mean you will have to give up on some foods that you have been previously eating, or at least, cut down on them.

This can lead to cravings, and cravings can ruin the best of intentions.

You may want to be thinner, you may want to be healthier, but if that ‘naughty treat’ is calling your name, that can all be forgotten in an instant.

Dealing with sweet cravings

A big part of the problem with the western diet is that it contains too much sugar. Many of us have a sweet tooth, often a seemingly uncontrollable one. In some ways it’s a little bit like a craving for a cigarette. You only get the craving if you are a user. Non smokers do not crave tobacco. People who don’t eat sugar don’t crave it.

The fastest way to get rid of your sugar craving is to stop eating sugar. Don’t cut back, don’t wean yourself off. Stop.

Part of the problem is that we often don’t know when we’re eating sugar. Not only is it added to many premade foods, like barbecue sauce or tomato soup, but it’s very prevalent in foods that claim to be ‘low fat alternatives’ or in drinks like flavoured water.

The way you can be sure that no one has added sugar to your food is either to carefully read every food label or to make it yourself. Buy ingredients and get cooking!

But what if you hate the idea of giving up the sweet stuff? You can still controll how much of it you eat if you want to. One popular technique is to think about the food you are craving. Close your eyes and imagine it. Thinks what it smells like, what it will feel like in your mouth, how you’ll feel when your eating it. Then think about getting a salt shaker. Take the lid off it and imagine pouring all of the salt out onto the food. Again, think about what that would look like, what it would taste like if you tried to eat it, how it would feel and how you would feel. Still want to eat it? Probably not!

Dealing with general food cravings

Another way you can manage food cravings is to think about the food you are craving in detail again, but this time I want you to mentally change the image. Firstly make the picture in your mind postcard sized. Make the picture black and white, maybe even a little fuzzy. Remove yurself from the picture (assuming you were in it) and make it a little smaller. Now move the picture to the top left corner of your minds eye, so you can barely see it. You should notice a distinct drop in cravings for that food/drink.

The main thing with both of these techniques is that you have to make the decision to do them. After practicing for a while you may notice that it gets easier and more effective, and eventually your brain will use the new pathways so that you find you don’t even need to try any more.

Once you have your cravings under control, making healthy food choice will become easier and easier and you will be on top of your eating in no time.


 

Many people struggle with their weight. Almost without exception the way you think about yourself and food is at the heart of it. Hypnotherapy is a great tool to help put you back in charge of your eating.

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Blog Plans for 2017

Happy New Year!

Well, after a lovely Christmas break, I’m back to the blogosphere….How are you all doing?

Personally I love January, because I love new starts. They are full of opportunities, possibilities and potential. They also scare me a bit because of this – when everything is a possibility it can all be a bit overwhelming – there’s just too much to choose from, and in my humble opinion, you do have to choose. Anyone that tells you that this year is the one where they will eat healthy, exercise regularly, look amazing every day, make a million dollars, have the perfect relationship with their friends and family, start a new business and find inner peace is expecting a little bit much, don’t you think?

Even if all you’re planning on doing is growing your blog audience or blogging every day, it can still be a big expectation. There are so many things to blog about, but how to choose? Sometimes there is so much possibility I can’t narrow it down, sometimes I can’t think of a single thing. What to do?

For me it starts with a plan. Plans don’t have to be set in stone, they are a starting point. Write yourself a plan, but know that it can and probably will change.

The next thing I do is think about what I want to talk about – broadly speaking. As my blog here is all about happiness, health and hypnosis that needs to be at the fore of my planning – what large topics fall under that remit?

So this year I’ve decided to dedicate a month to a topic. I started last year. December was all about self care, and I wrote it like an advent calendar with a different post every day from 1 to 25. It worked quite well for me and those that follow my blog. It gave me structure and motivation to write (I’d promised after all) and it gave my followers a reason to check in – they knew what to expect. If it wasn’t something they were interested in they could take a pass, but if it was, they knew to come back every day for more.

In the same vein here are my ideas for Blogs I will be writing each month for 2017.

January – Diet

February – Relationships

March – Addictions

April – Happiness

May – Food

June – Anxiety

July – Exercise

August – Depression

Sept – Different therapy techniques

Oct – Dec TBD – I’m open to suggestions here, if you would like me to cover a topic that falls under the title of Happiness, Health and Hypnosis, this is your chance to put forward an idea! Just leave me a comment.

See anything there that you think you may be interested in – make sure you click follow to get them when they come out!

Once I’ve narrowed it down to topic areas, I find it easier to think about topics related to each big theme. Take diet for example. I can look at nutrition, staying satisfied, types of food that keep you feeling fuller for longer, diet myths, healthy goals, body image, small changes to make a big difference etc etc. So now we both know what to expect 🙂

Starting tomorrow the rest of my January blogs will be dedicated to diet. Getting right and making it easy. If you want to make sure you see them, you know what to do.

See you soon – let’s make January an awesome start!

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 24

It’s the day before the day!!!! Happy Christmas Eve!

Todays Self care idea is quite a simple one. Remember why you started.

Tomorrow ( and tonight ) may be full of tasks that you are doing on behalf of other people. Maybe it’s travelling with small children, maybe cooking for the family, maybe putting together toys. All of these can can be a little frustrating – especially if we don’t feel appreciated for it. If that happens, try to remember why you did it in the first place.

The chances are that the reason you were doing it, was to make that other person happy, not to get appreciation. So, appreciate yourself for doing something nice and leave it at that. If you get appreciation (or reciprocation) from the other person then you should be thrilled, but not expect it.

Another reason you should remember why you started is if you are trying to stick to an exercise plan or diet over the next few days. Nobody’s saying you can’t enjoy yourself, just don’t go crazy and undo all the good work you’ve been doing up until now.

Have an amazing Christmas everyone x

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 16

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that I wrote this yesterday in an attempt to get ahead of the game – I hope you enjoy it. What did you get ahead of, and how do you feel about it today knowing that you have one less thing to do?

One of the reasons I wanted to get this done yesterday is that today is my Partner’s Birthday. He is away at work in the morning, but will be home by afternoon and I want to make sure that the house is nice and clean, his favourite food and drinks are bought and prepared and that I can spend all my time celebrating with him.

Which brings me on to today’s topic – time.

The most valuable commodity you have is your time. We all have a limited amount of it – 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year and who knows how may years in our life. We sell our time to our clients or our employers. We give our time to our friends and family. Some of us have more than we know what to do with, some of us could do with bonus hours in the day and days in the week. Time is precious.

I often have people tell me that they don’t have time to do things. Exercise , meditation, cooking for themselves, mindfulness etc. My response tends to be that we all have the same amount of time in a day, we just have to decide how we are going to use it. When you say you don’t have time, what you mean is I prioritise other things over this.

Have you ever had a conversation with a child who wants you to do something with them, and you’ve said that you don’t have time. Try reframing that sentence into a priority statement. Instead of saying I don’t have time, you say it as I am prioritising something else over doing this with you. Now if the thing you are prioritising is important, that’s ok. Some things have to take priority – earning money to pay bills, buying food to eat, cooking meals to keep them healthy. If the thing you are prioritising is less important or maybe even selfish, then this sentence can highlight that and help you to see things in a more honest way. For example if you tell someone that you are prioritising getting drunk over helping them with something important to them, then you are going to struggle to justify that.

So, spend your time wisely today – and every day. It’s one of the few things you can never get back.


One of the ways you can tell if you, or someone you know, has an addiction is the way they prioritise their time. If fulfilling the addiction takes priority over everything else, like being with others, taking care of themselves or their children, or working, then it’s time to get some serious help. Hypnotherapy and other talking therapies are one of the best ways to help you break free of addictive patterns. See if you can get the need today.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 13

I hope that you enjoyed doing nothing yesterday (and if you didn’t, why not?) Take a little time out to do nothing today as well, and tomorrow, and the day after etc etc.

One thing I would like you to think about doing today is having a sort out.

Clean out a drawer, a cupboard, a wardrobe or the garage (if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you could even attack the attic)

Even the most organised types have a drawer or box where all the junk goes and most of us need to sort things out on a fairly regular basis to make sure that we don’t get lost in an avalanche of things falling out of a certain cupboard in the house.

There are many ways of decluttering and organising, you only have to have a quick search on pinterest to find lots of hints and tips for sorting your stuff out. One method that I particularly like is the Marie Kondo method. Basically what you do is form a pile of the items you want to declutter – clothes for instance – then pick each one up in turn and ask yourself it brings you joy? If it does keep it, if it doesn’t get rid of it.

As a massive fan of the Gilmore Girls I was super excited to watch the new season – a year in the life. Lorelai’s Mum goes through a big life change (no spoilers here) and tackles the Marie Knodo method of decluttering, and it’s brilliant to watch. A woman who has everything that money can buy, but finds little joy in so much of it. Yet the things she does find joy in are the things to pay attention to.

A while ago I read something that struck a chord with me – trying to make yourself happy by buying more stuff is like trying to deal with your hunger by strapping sandwiches to yourself. Having stuff does not make you happy. Sometimes not having stuff can make you unhappy – but that’s a bit different, and shouldn’t be confused. so, look at the things around you a decide if they bring you joy.

When we have a good declutter a couple of things tend to happen. Firstly we feel pretty good about ourselves. It’s good to feel organised and on top of things. Secondly, if we recycle or donate the things we are getting rid of we can feel good about that too. Thirdly a lot of people find that having less stuff give them a clearer head and a more relaxed frame of mind. All of these things are good self care.

What’s stopping you? A clear out before Christmas will help you to feel better, and depending on what you donate  you may end up making someone else’s Christmas a lot better.


For most of us decluttering is something we just need to do every now and then to keep things straight, but for some it’s a real problem. If you are, or know someone who is, a hoarder, then you know how serious this can be. Hoarding is a psychological problem that can be helped but is very difficult to deal with on your own. Get help from people who know how to support you.

 

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