No one intends to develop problems with alcohol, foods, sugar, anger, overspending, or gambling, according to therapist Laura Temin. “It happens innocently, without any intention to hurt oneself or become out of control,” explained Temin, a licensed marriage therapist, psychotherapist, clinical/medical hypnotherapist in practice for 23 years in Roswell. Her new book, “Wake Up! Accidental Hypnosis is Ruining Your Life,” is available at the end of the month.
“Since the onset of COVID, alcohol use skyrocketed as a coping mechanism. Everyone’s looking for relief. People drink for relaxation, to calm nerves, to sleep, as a ritual, to escape boredom, depression, a past event, or a present problem. They drink socially and as a reward. It easily becomes a habit. People believe drinking relaxes us, but it’s really just dulling the brain and our ability to analyze and process information. Ultimately it causes us to zone out and not care,” she said.
Temin specializes in helping clients with goals, habits, relationships, weight, alcohol and sleep.
For diagnostic purposes, clinicians categorize symptoms and label conditions to help people resolve problems. Despite good intentions, labels can breed judgment, which further debilitates people, she said. Quantity guidelines are traditionally used to identify how much alcohol consumption creates a problem. Temin believes personal information such as age, medications, food intake, body mass, brain function, mental and physical health influence how much a person can safely drink.
When someone has an alcohol problem, Temin wants to understand, “How does the drink help them”? People move towards pleasure and away from pain. Even if drinking is causing pain (hangover, fogginess, weight, family/work problems) drinking is their best solution in that moment, she said.
“In my experience, the reason alcohol treatment has such low success is because we’re addressing the symptoms rather than the problem.” She elaborated, “There are many effective ways to help people with alcohol abuse. Adhering to the ‘one size fits all approach’ is minimally effective. Instead, let’s address the whole person: brain, body, gut, emotions as well as the root cause. And let’s meet people with the compassion we want ourselves. In truth, everyone wants to be healthy and live productive, fulfilling lives. We all need help in one front or another,” she continued.
“Many who develop a habit of drinking become physiologically dependent (addicted) to alcohol. When that person seeks help, to drink less or stop, they’re embarrassed. They’ve hidden their problem because they know they’ll be judged. They’ve already attempted to fix it themselves, unsuccessfully. Few people tell their physician how much they drink; and not all physicians have protocols to help people safely detox.”
Temin explained that many people who drink too much don’t consider themselves “alcoholic” because they’re functioning, holding high-level jobs and being productive at home. Alcohol abuse isn’t a character flaw, and alcohol dependence naturally results over time with daily drinking, she said. Cutting back or stopping “cold turkey” might cause withdrawals, which can be dangerous for the heart. People need the right resources to detoxify safely, said Temin, who worked in a Wellstar hospital emergency room for nine years. It helped solidify her understanding of the mind-body connection and the importance of working as a team.
While Alcoholics Anonymous works for many, it may not always be a good fit. It is a stable support group, but may not be sufficient for addressing root cause, she said.
“Changing our habits begins with a conscious decision. But staying motivated and on track is difficult when we’re fighting cravings, upsets, the past and emotions. Upsets weaken our willpower and eat away at our determination. Clinical hypnotherapy is a gentle and effective way to strengthen a person’s resolve and build inner strength. It calms the mind and uplifts the spirit, making people more resilient in difficult times.” Because hypnosis is a natural state, Temin believes we are accidentally hypnotized into many problems and don’t realize it. She explains the concept and how to help yourself in her new book to be released later this month.
Temin, who runs Achievement Strategies, Inc., is available in person and by Zoom, www.LauraTemin.com.