COVID-19 has had a great impact on our lives over the past several months. Social distancing, staying at home and not seeing friends, relatives and coworkers has had a direct effect on our habits, behaviors and health. Many people who used to exercise regularly now have stopped, and are gaining weight due to the lack of exercise, overeating and drinking more than they used prior to the pandemic.

The problem is that alcohol use can affect the liver, kidneys and heart and can weaken the immune system. When someone drinks excessive amounts of alcohol, they become more vulnerable to the COVID-19.

This summer, many of my clients have expressed great concern about the changes in their drinking habits. They are feeling isolated, lonely, their income in some cases has been reduced and they are overwhelmed with worry about instability at work and parenting responsibilities, especially with kids going back to school.

I see people who used to drink socially before five months ago that have started drinking regularly. Others who used to have a few drinks a week have increased their drinking during the pandemic and they are worried about the change in their drinking pattern.

They feel the stress from the disruptions in their daily routine, others experience loneliness, boredom and worry about the future. I help them cope with their anxiety, stress and depression, which tend to trigger the use or increased use of alcohol. Hypnosis can be a great therapy method to help people begin to feel empowered and stop feeling helpless. They start sleeping and enjoy a deep restful sleep, without waking up in the middle of the night. Their sense of overwhelm and anger at the changes in their life becomes manageable and they don’t feel the need to turn to alcohol for strength or to forget their worries. Some people want to quit completely, while most of them just want to reduce and drink less, so that alcohol does not interfere with their behavior, their work and their relationships.

Why does it matter?

Habits are formed quickly and can be hard to break, and there are risks beyond the individual concerns. I see people who were strong and could manage life’s ups and downs that have now become emotionally fragile, anxious, have issues with anger and are even becoming violent at times, since they have increased their drinking.

Unfortunately, while alcohol can help us temporarily relax and give us a brief feeling of euphoria, the effects are short-lived and the consequences are often quite damaging and last a long time.

If you rely on alcohol to manage your problems, the stress you feel and your feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, that reliance can itself become a problem.

You may find that drinking gets on the way of your activities and puts a strain on your work and your relationships.

What can you do about it?

Besides deciding to stop, which some people might find it necessary, you can consider drinking less.

Drinking is merely a “mental program.” You have “programmed” yourself to drink alcohol and in the same way, you can “reprogram” yourself by working with your subconscious. Hypnosis can help your subconscious “reset” and “rewrite” a new program in your mind and body by using specific suggestions to change your drinking habit. It is an effective approach in dealing with the problems of excessive use of alcohol and can help you drink less, if that is what you want, because it helps you identify those areas of your life that may require some tweaks and modification.

In particular, it will help you adapt to the current circumstances as they are now, make a shift in the way you feel and change the way you look at alcohol intake.

You will become deeply aware that alcohol is not essential to your relaxation — it is a crutch, or coping mechanism, nothing more.

Here are some strategies I teach people so they can succeed.

1. Visualize the behavior they desire. They program themselves for drinking less.

2. Avoid the all or nothing approach. You can drink less and still enjoy yourself.

3. Willpower is not enough. Preparation is the key and confidence that you can drink less.

4. Make a list with three reasons why you want to drink less. They may be your health or your relationships, your self esteem, your job and your peace of mind.

5. You are more resilient than you think. You can do this, either by yourself, or by getting the help you need to support you in your success.

 

Dr. Eugenia Andrews, Ph.D, CH, EFT, is a Life Success Coach, an international board-certified clinical hypnotherapist and a stress and communications expert. Contact her at wellnesscoachingtx@yahoo.com or 817-894-3739.

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