Healing The Alcoholic Mind
Understanding The Alcoholic Mind
To truly help someone with alcoholism fully heal, it is critical to understand more than just what started the problem. You must also understand how the mind and brain interact and influence each other. And how in alcoholics this keeps them trapped in the cycle of addiction and the sobriety/relapse syndrome. The mind and the brain must both be healed and at the same time that the root psychological issues are resolved.
The Need For Reward
The drive for reward, pleasure, and accomplishment is natural for everyone. But, with alcoholism, this drive becomes distorted. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, the perception of alcohol’s role in pleasure becomes more and more exaggerated. Here the interplay between psychology and biology is expressed like this: the brain’s reward center (known as the Mesolimbic system) releases powerful amounts of a brain chemical called dopamine.
The mind perceives the sense of pleasure that gives. The brain and mind learn that alcohol is fun, and the lesson is reinforced through repeated use of alcohol. Then, alcohol starts to play a bigger role by becoming associated with the other "fun" activities that happen as alcohol is being consumed like, parties, dances, sex, celebrations and so forth. Soon, these activities will only seem like fun if alcohol is involved. By then the brain has ‘over-learned’ the importance of alcohol and at the same time the brain’s reward center has become dependent on alcohol to make it produce enough of its reward chemical dopamine.
The next step in the spiral is that drinking alcohol starts to be perceived as the most important reward giving activity, and finally in very progressed addiction to alcohol, the only worthwhile reward giving activity. Standard alcoholism treatment programs usually address only half the problem (the psychology part) and rarely pay enough attention to even that part of the solution. The ReNova Method addresses both with a major emphasis on correcting them and bringing the mind and brain back into balance.
The Need To Cope
Sometimes secondary to the pleasure drive, and sometimes as the main reason, alcohol is overused as a coping tool for stress, anxiety, depression and trauma. Blotting out these painful feelings, the mind and brain seek alcohol as ‘quick fix.’
Over time, this becomes less and less effective, requiring more and more alcohol to make the solution work. A slightly discussed area of the brain, known as the Amygdala, becomes distorted through repeated or severe stress and can even increase in size, making the problems even worse.
The ReNova Method provides a powerfully soothing set of coping tools that help alleviate distress. This helps the brain heal and supports better decision-making in dealing with life’s challenges.
A Divided Self
Many people with alcoholism (and many of their loved ones) will say that the alcoholic seems like two entirely different people. The sober self and the intoxicated self are often very opposite in their thinking, behavior and personality. This is one of the main reasons that alcoholism is fundamentally different from other forms of substance abuse. What many people with alcohol problems know, that others only vaguely suspect, is that over time, this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde split has become a source of intense internal conflict.
Sometimes, at first, depending on how the intoxicated self is expressed, an alcoholic enjoys the "freedom" this split produces. Then they come to rely on this other self to say things or do things that 'the sober self' finds difficult. But like in the Jekyll/Hyde tale as alcoholism progressively gets worse, ‘the sober self' comes to fear losing control of life to the ‘intoxicated self.’ Alcoholics often feel guilty or remorseful about the actions of the ‘intoxicated self’.
This can turn into real self-loathing, loss of self-esteem and self-belief. They work to hide these feelings from themselves and others. Some with alcoholism start to become emotionally resigned to the idea that the ‘intoxicated self’ will eventually win. They gradually stop fighting to maintain control. Others may increase the ‘fight’ with themselves for control. They develop elaborate rules to control drinking and therefore this side of their personality.
The ReNova Method uses a specially modified version of a therapy called “Gestalt” developed by the famed Neo-Freudian analyst Fritz Perls to deal with this internal conflict as drinking is brought to an end, or under control. This allows for a more natural balance in personality and a sense of control well beyond just alcohol. Clients are taught how to use this method for themselves, increasing their sense of self-control and self belief.
Whole Healing With ReNova
The ReNova Method is the only process ever developed that addresses all three critical areas of the mind and brain interaction at the same time as it resolves psychological issues. That is why ReNova works so effectively to solve the problem of alcoholism and over drinking.