Element 0 – Introduction and Overview

Alcohemy Program Orientation

Duration — 1:14:30

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 13 – Plan Your Start Date

Element #13 — Plan Your Start Date

Duration — 29:46

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 12 – Milestones and Rewards

Element #12 — Milestones and Rewards

Duration — 59:19

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 11 – Your Commitment Statement

Element #11 — Your Commitment Statement

Duration — 19:54

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 10 – Prepare Answers and Statements

Element #10 — Prepare Answers and Statements

Duration — 48:12

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 9 – Record and Replace Actions

Element #9 — Record and Replace Actions

Duration — 1:06:20

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 8 – Record and Replace Fears

Element #8 — Record and Replace Fears

Duration — 52:00

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 7 – Total Effects vs. Values

Element #7 — Total Effects vs. Values

Duration — 27:42

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 6 – Effects of Not Ceasing Alcohol

Element #6 — Effects of NOT Ceasing Alcohol

Duration — 16:12

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 5 – Effects of Ceasing Alcohol

Element #5 — Effects of Ceasing Alcohol

Duration — 14:42

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 4 – What Alcohol Does For You

Element #4 — What Alcohol Does for You

Duration — 37:05

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 3 – Your Life Values

Element #3 — Your Life Values

Duration — 21:28

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 2 – Alcohol Associations

Element #2 — Alcohol Associations

Duration — 17:42

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


Element 1 – Your Journey

Element #1 — Your Journey

Duration — 44:12

1. As these are HD videos, if you experience regular video buffering due to a low connection bandwidth, please pause the video for 60 secs, then press play again, to allow video download to keep ahead of the player.

2. If you notice fluctuating video quality during playback, it is because the player is analysing your connection speed and altering the video quality to maintain a smooth streaming experience for you. The faster your current connection is, the better the quality delivered.


The Power of Belief (and Disbelief)

A man standing on a cliff with his arms outstretched because he believes that he can achieve whatever he wants.The saying ‘No matter whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right’ is a fairly accurate statement. At least the most likely outcome will be the one we believe will happen. The power of our focused thoughts, feelings and beliefs about a particular outcome usually transform through our actions into physical reality.

Having the belief you can accomplish something is the key ingredient in actually successfully completing that thing. To some it is a very grandiose and far-fetched statement to make that “virtually anything is possible with belief and nothing is possible without it”. This is perhaps partly due to the loose way different people define belief. To some, having a belief in something is having a general acceptance in it, or the possibility of it. On the other end of the scale, some people won’t believe in anything until after obtaining irrefutable evidence that satisfies their every objection to it being true. Some use a lot of faith and others need firm evidence to believe.

believe-in-yourself-sign-No matter how you satisfy your criteria for belief, your belief must be satisfied before you really commit to anything that will really challenge you. You must believe you can successfully accomplish it, and that in doing so, it will benefit you and/or others in some way. Complete success is unlikely if you go into a difficult challenge half-hearted because you either don’t believe you can do it or don’t believe there is any real point in doing it. You won’t have the motivation or commitment to see it through or do it well.

The power of belief has been documented in many medical situations and research experiments. Some people with medically declared terminal conditions have refused to accept that conclusion, and instead developed a staunch belief and faith they would recover and miraculously they made a full and unexplained recovery. Others have been told they would not be able to walk, or talk, or have children, or see, only to prove the medical profession wrong by drawing on the incredible power of belief. In some countries the indigenous shaman, witch doctor, or kurdaitcha man could perform rituals that were so vehemently believed that the recipient could be healed (or even killed) without physical contact.

Belief and Attitude PosterIn my book, Alcohemy, I refer to Dr Bruce Lipton’s work and book, The Biology of Belief, and his examples of where Multiple Personality Disorder sufferers have been known to completely change medical conditions in minutes and even eye colour between personalities. They so firmly believe they are a different person that their body physically changes to suit the different personality. Now that really does give us a glimpse of just how powerful ‘real’ belief can be. This isn’t at the end of the scale that says “I sort of believe” or “I guess it might be possible”. It is at the very other end of the scale where there is no doubt; you ‘know’ it is true. It is at this end of the belief scale where the real miracles happen. It is a book I highly recommend you read to help you with your alcohol-free journey (it’s in audiobook format as well).

Having a lack of belief was the reason I spent most of my life with an alcohol dependence. I didn’t believe I could enjoy myself or fit in with the social circle and cultural environment that I lived in if I didn’t drink alcohol. I did believe drinking alcohol was so ingrained in me since early teenage years that I would remain an alcoholic until I died. It was only after understanding the power of belief and then changing my belief about my need for alcohol, was I able to use that power to stop drinking and become totally and permanently alcohol-free.

I would be interested if you have any personal experiences where belief has been a big factor, or know of other situations where positive or negative beliefs have had a significant impact on someone else’s life. All comments are most welcome below.


What Is Fear and Is Fear Good or Bad for You?

Understanding what is fear and how to overcome fear is essential to change bad habits, dependencies and addictions. Fear is an emotion that can help us or hurt us, though the object of our fear is just in our mind.

To generate a lot of controversy I would simply say that fear is not real… it’s all in the mind. However that is not quite right… or at least the full story. Fear is an emotion and has its benefits and disadvantages.

Back in prehistoric days fear served as a survival mechanism to help keep us from putting ourselves in harm’s way. We experienced the emotion of fear concerning things that we believed could hurt us (savage animals, falling off cliffs etc.). The response to the fear stimulus and associated adrenalin release was typically one of flight (we ran or moved away), fight (we defended ourselves by being aggressive), or freeze (we remained very still or hid until the threat passed). A lot of people don’t realise the freeze response existed, though a lot of animals (and humans) still commonly use it to survive dangerous or scary situations. Yes, in those early times fear was definitely a good emotion to have to protect us.

Even today feeling fear or being afraid serves us, especially when young and we don’t fully comprehend how everything in the world works. It is good to have a healthy amount of respect and caution for things that are known to harm us if not treated in the appropriate manner e.g. electricity, vehicle traffic, chemicals, strange dogs etc. Also unfortunately in today’s world children have to be taught to be wary even of other people that they do not know well. So the emotion of fear is still an important tool as we progress through our early learning years, as long it is replaced by understanding and more appropriate responses based on that understanding as we get older.

If the things we were taught to fear as a child (or we developed due to our own young perceptions), carry over into adulthood they can affect our beliefs, reasoning and decision-making in all areas of our life. We can become stuck and limit ourselves from achieving great things by fears that are not serving us as adults. In these cases fear becomes a distinct disadvantage to us.

Indeed ‘understanding’ is one of the main keys to unlocking and releasing our fears and is one of the topics I cover more fully in my book Alcohemy and the associated self-help video alcohol treatment program. In that material I reveal that fear is not a tangible, physical thing that is outside our control. Although a real emotion, fear is always just a state of mind, and it is made up of the thoughts we are currently having and therefore completely within our control. The only thing we have to fear is the emotion of fear itself, as the object of our fear is not actually real, rather something we think ‘might’ happen in the future. This fear is often based on outdated beliefs and conditioning that we were taught or we adopted many years ago. When people are fearful of doing something, it is not the ‘doing’ that is the issue; it is the imagined negative consequence if it doesn’t go well. We would all love the thrill of doing new things if we knew it would be a successful and happy experience. What we fear is confronting the worst result that we imagine may happen.

I have heard and seen it written that it is the unknown that we fear most. I disagree with that concept, and believe it is what we replace the unknown with that causes our fear. Most people would gladly attempt challenges if the outcomes were likely to be successful (or even unknown), as long as they wouldn’t be worse off. The majority however, tend to paint the picture of the unknown destination with images of the worst-case scenarios they have conjured up in their minds, and therefore don’t commit to the challenge. Think of a time when you balked at a challenge you would have loved to be successful in. I bet it wasn’t the visions of success that made you reluctant; it was the thoughts and visions of the worst outcome that held you back.

I could go on, as I have devoted a good portion of a chapter in my book Alcohemy to it, though the topic of fear is too long to discuss in full here. The reason I give overcoming fear so much devotion is because my own fears were major obstacles for me to stop drinking alcohol and committing to changing to an alcohol-free lifestyle. I also know fear is a major obstacle for many others desiring to break an alcohol addiction or change bad habits in their life; and it is easier than most would imagine.


What does being a victim really mean?

Name tag that says I'm A VictimAdopting a victim mentality and surrendering to life’s circumstances will not improve those circumstances. We will encounter many challenging situations on our life’s journey. Some will be of our own making and others will be thrust upon us by external forces seemingly outside of our control. Some we will have the experience, skills, aptitude or support to deal with successfully, while others will result in an undesirable consequence and personal hardship.

The fact is they are all just events and it is up to us to choose how we will respond to them. Whether we let them overpower us and bind us to them for perhaps many years, or whether we choose to seek to understand why the event occurred, learn from it and use it to empower us to be wiser, more experienced and learn new skills, is entirely up to us.

Our life’s journey is one of experiencing, learning, adapting to what we have experienced and continually creating a better experience for ourselves and others. Along the way we will make mistakes and poor choices; so does everyone else. Those mistakes are part of the learning experience. If we are negatively impacted by our own or others’ errors then we need to make the most of them, try to understand them and look for some positive to be found (and there always is).

Don't blame me! A man doesn't understand why he is being blamedMy definition of being a victim means you choose only to see the negative of an undesirable eventand you surrender to the circumstance as a helpless, powerless sufferer. Sure, through seemingly no fault of our own we may be a ‘recipient’ or a part of some misfortune, though as the age old saying goes, when life hands us a big sour lemon we could choose to find some sugar and make lemonade from it. There is always some good to be found in everything, if only we give ourselves permission to earnestly look for it.

Having a victim mentality means you do the opposite of looking for the hidden opportunity in an unwelcome situation, instead favouring to dwell on the hurt, suffering and losses experienced. Instead of us using our own innate power to rise above the initial negativity and to re-establish feeling good about ourselves, we hand our power over to whoever is willing to treat us like a victim and bestow ongoing sympathy and pity. It may be quite reasonable to display sincere empathy for an appropriate amount of time after someone has experienced a significant setback in life, though I believe the best solution is to also help them see the way forward by focusing on the good, the learning and strengths to be gained.

It is all too easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves and unfortunately people that like to adopt the victim mentality also like to reinforce that attitude in others when unfortunate circumstances befall them. This ‘pity party’ helps those willing participants feel it’s OK and that their victimhood is out of their control. That it is quite OK that they remain ‘stuck’ where they are because it’s not their fault; it’s someone else’s job to make them feel better.o.

Intersecting street signs that point in different directions ... all of them have a phrase that relates to assigning blame.For many years I felt like a victim of the circumstances of my childhood and upbringing. That I developed my alcohol addiction because of those events and environment and therefore I was bound to them for life. My victim mentality dictated that because I became dependent on alcohol to feel good at a very young age, I would have to live with that for the rest of my life. However as the story of my journey is told in my book Alcohemy, I turned that victim mentality into one of positivity and power to develop my 13-element self-help alcohol treatment program, resulting in me being permanently alcohol-free, without even the desire to use alcohol.

I would be very interested to read your comments or about experiences you have where you (or someone you know) has had problems with a victim mentality. Please add your comments below.


Self-Forgiveness

My belief is that self-forgiveness is the most important aspect of the forgiveness topic. If you can’t release past mistakes and heal old wounds of your own, then how can you have enough love and compassion inside you to forgive those who you believe have wronged you? What we are holding and feeling inside ourselves is what tends to overflow out to others we interact with. If we are harbouring emotions like anger, hatred or shame towards ourselves, this is what will become the energy we project to others. If self-love, self-respect and compassion for oneself are absent or in short supply, we will be miserly with these qualities externally. It is difficult to give generously to others what we don’t have an adequate supply of ourselves.

Forgiveness of the self has to precede real forgiveness of others. It frees us and returns us to our natural state of love and self-centered calmness. In turn we can radiate and share that sense of peace and harmony with others.

When we have thought, said or done something contrary to our deeper values it causes an internal conflict, which in turn causes emotional stress. The flow-on effect of his emotional stress is physical stress which results in disease of most of our body’s operating systems e.g. nervous system, circulatory system, digestive system, endocrine system, immune system etc. Numerous reports have indicated that when important body systems like these are compromised (or are in a dis-eased state) serious illness and diseases can result or be seriously aggravated. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, intestinal disorders, obesity and mental illness are just a few of the many known to be affected by internal stress.

Persistent self-directed negative emotions (especially if harboured for many years) certainly contribute to our mental and physical state of unwell-being and cause disease. So the effects of non-forgiveness of ourselves is two pronged; it directly harms us personally, and it impacts the relationships and interactions we have with others at an emotional level. The latter may at times be subtle, though if we aren’t content and at peace within ourselves it will be sensed by others.

Another repercussion of harbouring ongoing negative emotions about ourselves is the tendency to seek other external methods of feeling good. These are often in the form of substance abuse like alcohol and drugs to mask how we are really feeling, though can also include habits like gambling and diet issues. As I discuss in my Alcohemy book and self-help programs, I first formed an alcohol habit then serious alcohol dependence, in an attempt to feel better and cope with issues stemming back to my childhood and early teens. As my book reveals, it only made things much worse and until I released the bonds those issues had on me I was never going to feel better. Self-forgiveness was such an integral part of the process I developed to release the need for alcohol and to become permanently alcohol-free, without even the desire for it. Before I could heal the emotional wounds I attributed to others, I first had to heal those I created myself and that involved self-forgiveness.


What Are Habits and Are Habits Good for Us?

Habits are a very essential part of our life. In fact we couldn’t function effectively or properly without them. The ability to form habits is an important function of our brain and we have the ability to program any habit we desire into our subconscious. Unfortunately not all the habitual behaviour that is in our subconscious is serving us in a way that enhances our great potential.

As with all habitual actions, our minds become conditioned by repetition to a point where you can do things unconsciously. When we do things for the first time we use our conscious mind to really focus on what we are doing. We analyse what and how we are doing it, if the result is something we perceive is a benefit to us and want to do again. The more we do the same thing the more it becomes ‘hard-coded’ into our subconscious mind therefore taking less conscious effort to repeat the actions. After continued repetition, these series of actions can be so fixed in your subconscious mind you may not be consciously aware you are doing them at all.

Now this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a very positive adaptation for most of our everyday actions and it serves us very well. It frees up our conscious mind to focus on newer tasks or important things that need our closer attention. Imagine if each time we did them we had to give too much thought to; brushing our teeth, getting dressed, picking up a glass of water and drinking from it, turning the handle on a door and opening it, walking, typing on a keyboard. Plus here’s a good one; using your tongue to push food around your mouth and teeth so it gets chewed properly before swallowing. You had to learn how to do that to some degree as a young toddler without biting your tongue, though now you don’t even realise you do it until a piece of food gets stuck and you have to think about where your tongue is to move the food. If you actually focus on your tongue while you are chewing normally you will notice your tongue is extremely busy and doesn’t stop moving, while very rarely gets bitten. Imagine if you had to concentrate on doing that all the time.

We develop many learned helpful actions and habits when we are very young, plus more like how to operate your pushbike, motorbike or car as we get got older. My point is that if we do the same actions often enough, particularly if they are a reaction or response to a particular circumstance, they become what we call habitual behaviour. This includes things like snacking on certain foods, drinking tea or coffee, smoking, gesturing with your hands when talking, and yes drinking alcohol.

Many habits have ‘triggers’ that are associated with them and they can be different to each individual. Triggers can be things like a smell, type of food, music or sounds, time of day or night, particular movie or TV program, rainy weather, a place or particular person/s. Anything that you closely associate to your habit can be a trigger that may signal to your brain that you should be now engaging in that habitual behaviour. The trigger event initiates a chemical and physical response that at times can be completely subconscious and you find yourself having done the habitual behaviour without even realising it. Again this can be very beneficial, or very counter-productive, depending on the behaviour.

Drinking alcohol is a habit that people often form when young and after continued repetition can become a serious dependency. Some people begin drinking alcohol to feel adult, to fit in, feel confident or feel uninhibited. However, as the use is continued for these reasons and is hard-coded into the subconscious, it becomes habitual. The need for alcohol is triggered whenever those same conditions present themselves again, even if it is inappropriate. It is your subconscious mind telling you to use alcohol and it takes conscious effort to resist. Unfortunately if the person is already affected by alcohol, the reasoning function of the conscious mind becomes impaired and the subconscious mind will more than likely win out.

In my book Alcohemy I discuss how in thirty days we can rewire our brains to replace negative alcohol-related behaviour with new positive habits. We simply need to change the habitual response behaviour to the trigger events. Habitually drinking alcohol and chronic alcohol abuse can be reversed.

I would be very interested to read your comments or about experiences you have where you (or someone you know) has had problems with subconscious habitual behaviour, especially if alcohol-related. Please add your comments below.


Are You Controlled By the Opinions of Others?

It is one thing to be interested in what other people think, though another to be controlled by the opinions of others. All too often a lot of us let other people’s views on ‘how things should be’, govern our own decision-making process.

I believe the primary reason we are so heavily swayed by what other people think, is our desire to be liked and to feel like we ‘fit in’. Most of us like to feel admired, respected, important, and we believe a good start in that direction is to agree with what others think and do. If we acknowledge that we like others and are in agreement with their ideals, they are more likely to like us. This can extend to their opinion of us, how we should look, behave and even what ‘opinions’ and values we should have.

The lower the self-esteem, self-worth and sense of importance we have of ourselves, the more prone we will be to being controlled by other people’s opinions. If we were raised in an environment where we only felt loved or valued, ifwe lived up to others’ expectations of us, or were making other people happy, then this way of gaining affection and admiration will become important to us.

Instead of basing our sense of self-worth and importance on how we perform against our own values and ideas of how we should live, we can spend our lives trying to conform to what others think and living according to their rules. All in an attempt to feel loved, valued or to ‘fit in’.

The reality is that the sense of love, value and contentment with oneself, should always begin from within. If you have chosen good life values and are living your life according to these values, you willdevelop a natural and healthy inner love and self-worth. Once you respect yourself for how you live your life, two things will happen. (1) The need for the approval of others will disappear, as will the controlling influence of their opinions; and (2) You will attract and gain the admiration and respect of others, because you live your life according to your own good values and aren’t easily governed by the opinions of others.

man-smiling-at-himself-in-mirror-confidently-222x300This important lesson that I learned helped me with my decision to commit to living an alcohol-free life. For most of my life I believed the Australian cultural belief, that you had to drink alcohol to be a ‘real’ Aussie man. Even though the consequences of my alcohol dependence  and alcohol abuse was causing me numerous problems, I was too controlled by the opinions of others, including my social circle. It was only after I committed to live my life according to my own values and put higher credence in my opinions, that I was able to happily live my way without fearing what others think. My new main source of contentment originated from within me and therefore under my control.

In my book Alcohemy and alcohol treatment program, I discuss the importance of not being controlled by the opinions of others (especially social groups you are in). If you are to make real changes in your life that are best for you, you need to base your decisions on your values and opinions. It is prudent (even wise), to considerthe opinions of other people, especially if they have wisdom and your best interest at heart. However the ultimate decision on how to live your life must come from within you. You be the Master of your Fate; the Captain of your Soul.


Is Alcoholism A Choice… Or A Life Sentence?

This is a very bold question, which is bound to draw some criticism. Regardless, I believe it is a valid question and I have some very sound, logic and evidence to answer it.

Note:  My original website slogan was in the form of a statement ‘Alcoholism is a choice… not a life sentence!’. I subsequently changed it to a question, ‘Is alcoholism a choice… or a life sentence?’ to avert possible criticism from the medical profession. I had been unhappy with that change ever since, as it compromised my real intent of telling people that being dependent on alcohol is in fact a choice, that only you control. I have now changed my slogan back to near original so it is in harmony with my intent and beliefs: ‘Alcohol dependence is a choice… not a life sentence!‘. This post below was written while the word ‘alcoholism’ was still in the slogan, though my explanations are still valid now.

To start let’s look at the definitions of the words ‘alcoholism’ and ‘alcoholic’.

Alcoholism:

‘A chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, the development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing intake, morbidity that may include cirrhosis of the liver, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally.’ i.

‘A condition in which dependence on alcohol harms a person’s health, social functioning, or family life.’ ii

‘The compulsive consumption of and psychophysiological dependence on alcoholic beverages. A chronic, progressive pathological condition, mainly affecting the nervous and digestive systems, caused by the excessive and habitual consumption of alcohol.’ iii

…and

Alcoholic:

Stick Figure Man, Can You Do It, 300x300‘A person who drinks alcoholic substances habitually and to excess or who suffers from alcoholism.’ iv

There are many other broad variations of the definitions, though all imply that an ‘alcoholic’ or person that is deemed to be suffering from ‘alcoholism’, is dependent on, or addicted to the use of alcohol. These are labels that are commonly used, though I consider people add their own perception to what the terms actually mean.

The harsh reality I am pointing out with the first part of my slogan “Is Alcoholism A Choice…” is that every person dependent (or addicted) to alcohol, got to be that way by an accumulation of many choices over a period of time. For whatever reasons, the person chose to start drinking alcohol and chose to consume alcohol on every subsequent occasion after that. No one held a gun to their head or forced them to consume each drink. They made those choices themselves on all those separate occasions.

Now, they may have been naive to the long-term effects, or that sustained alcohol use and alcohol abuse may lead to alcohol dependence, or may have even been raised in a culture and environment where it was expected that young people will start using alcohol as soon as legally able. However, they still had the ultimate decision whether to drink alcohol or not. I’m not suggesting that peer pressure and poor examples set by family and other influential people, doesn’t play a big part in young people readily adopting alcohol use as a substance to ‘deal’ with life’s issues and social expectations. Our young and impressionable minds do readily accept behaviours of people we trust and look up to. Though again, no one forces us to drink alcohol under some threat of harm or retribution if we don’t. By the time we are teenage we have the capacity to say no to alcohol use and alcohol abuse.

I, like many young people, just did what was culturally accepted and started drinking alcohol at a very young age, mainly to feel good and fulfil my perception that it was a ‘rite of passage’ into adulthood. I used alcohol to mask and hide from emotional discomfort and to give me a false sense of confidence. I may have been naïve and certainly not planning on becoming an alcoholic, nevertheless I chose to drink on every occasion I did, and my habitual drinking did lead me down the path to being an alcoholic. It is probably a similar process for most people that end up down the path of alcoholism.

I agree with the notion that some people are genetically programmed to be susceptible to alcoholism, though disagree that they have no choice in the outcome. We all have the ability to be the masters of our fate. Our fate is made up of the many choices we make each day. Whether to drink alcohol is no different to other important choices we have to make. Those of us that ended up as alcoholics (with ‘alcoholism’), got there one choice at a time.

Woman Looking Out a Barred Window, 300x450The last part of my slogan “Or A Life Sentence” is to contradict what the ‘traditional’ view is on being an alcoholic. I refute the idea of ‘once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic’, in all cases. I for one am living proof that someone completely dependent on alcohol (an alcoholic), can stop drinking and become completely and permanently alcohol-free, without even the desire for alcohol. Sure, it requires rewiring your brain with some new beliefs about what alcohol ‘actually’ does to your life, as opposed to what you may have believed. It also requires some very good ‘whys’ that you should live completely alcohol-free. Furthermore, it requires a resolute commitment to do what is necessary to see the process of becoming alcohol-free through to completion. You cannot be the same person psychologically, doing the same actions and expect to get different results. You must be prepared to make changes to your belief system and at a deep core level. Once you meet these requirements your outer results will match your inner mindset and you will be free from the desire for alcohol…permanently.

The Alcohemy process I developed completely changed my beliefs about alcohol use and its relevance in my life. It changed me in such a way that I find it practically laughable that I would drink alcohol for emotional or social comfort. After reading my book, Australian counselling psychologist (and member of the International Positive Psychology Association), Dr. Bob Rich MSc, PhD, MAPS, stated “David has convinced me that it is possible to get rid of this urge, this desire to drink alcohol, and by implication to get rid of any other addiction. I have started to apply David’s ideas in my therapeutic practice, and hope the book will be widely enough known that it becomes the new accepted wisdom.” v

Being an alcoholic is not a life sentence in all cases, as commonly thought. People get there one choice at a time, and can with some commitment completely remove the desire for alcohol, by choosing to do so. If you have an alcohol dependence (or know someone you care about who does), my Alcohemy book and the Alcohemy website will provide a private and discreet alcohol treatment solution. It is then up to you on what choices you make. I am just passionate about helping others with alcohol dependence experience the rewards of alcohol-freedom like I did. Be the Master of your Fate; the Captain of your Soul.

i. American Psychological Association (APA):
alcoholism. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved January 05, 2014, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/alcoholism
ii. American Psychological Association (APA)
alcoholism. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved January 05, 2014, from Dictionary.com website:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/alcoholism
iii. American Psychological Association (APA):
alcoholism. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved January 05, 2014, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/alcoholism
iv. American Psychological Association (APA):
alcoholic. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved January 05, 2014, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/alcoholic

Who made YOU the ‘alcoholic’ expert?

Often the first things people think of when they are looking for, or being offered advice, is ‘What credibility or expertise does this person have?’ and ‘What qualifies them to give me good advice?’ The answer is not always as ‘academic’ as you may think.

The reason I am writing this is to address possible queries people may have about my ‘suitability’ to give advice on resolving an alcohol dependence. It is most likely that the questions I stated above will be asked of me… and that’s very reasonable given the topic concerned.

So what is and who is considered an ‘expert’?

Group portrait of doctors on white background

Wikipedia states, ‘an expert, generally speaking, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular field or area of study’. Furthermore it states, ‘experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not necessary for an individual to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert.’

…And to allow for differences in opinions it states, ‘Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study.

I have also seen it written, that it is generally accepted that an expert level of any skill requires 10,000 hours of purposeful engagement in a particular area. Also, although formal education is often considered the most well established route to expertise, there is experienced-based expertise that in some cases leads to more rapid discovery, technical evolvement and deep understanding.

Proud mature student holding his diploma

Typically though, (rightly or wrongly) most of us want to know what ‘formal’ qualifications the person has in a particular field to judge their ‘expertise’ on. There are plenty of fields you would expect to see formal education and accreditation e.g. medical, legal, accounting, engineering, scientific etc. There are also many other professions, including trade-based ones, where formal education is less important to us in determining whether the person is an ‘expert’ or competent in their field.

Regardless of the hierarchy of professional status, having a formal education and accreditation in a particular field, does not necessarily mean they are an ‘expert’ or even any good at what they do. Whether it’s a lawyer, accountant, a doctor, a baker or a candlestick maker, expertise doesn’t just come with the formal piece of paper. It also doesn’t necessarily make their opinion correct or the only alternative.Professional opinions can often differ and even good doctors are happy to refer patients to peers to get 2nd and even 3rd opinions when requested, or to confirm diagnosis or treatment. I’m sure we have all heard plenty of stories of malpractice and shoddiness in all professions, regardless of being formally highly ‘qualified’ or not.

In fact, what I believe we really want to know is are they suitable to help us with what we are trying to achieve… and are they any good at what they do. For me, I want to know what sort of ‘experience’ do they have and what sort of ‘results’ have they had. The formal qualifications confirm academic training, though real life personal experience and results are the proof of the pudding.

So where does this leave me in the ‘alcohol dependence’ scheme of things?

The facts are I have no formal medical or psychological qualifications in the field of alcohol dependence, and I am quite comfortable with that. Though for many years I have thought, that if I had my time over again, I would have liked to formally study psychology. I have always, as long as I can remember, been a deep, analytical thinker and observer of people and behaviour. I have always pondered the ‘why’ questions and thought about why people behave in certain ways.

Despite no formal qualifications in the alcohol dependence field, what I do have is over 30 years of personal experience in the consequences of alcohol consumption. I would say about 20 years of that time I was addicted to alcohol, drank every day and suffered anxiety if I was forced to go a day without it. I experienced many years of trying to manage my alcohol abuse, to limit the embarrassing consequences of being drunk, at home and socially. For years I suffered the emotional depths of frustration and despair, as time and time again my attempts to moderate my alcohol abuse failed and I would embarrass myself, my family and my friends.

I have also personally experienced what it was like to go from the extremes of ‘no belief I could ever stop drinking’, to the ‘knowing I don’t desire alcohol any more’ now and will never ‘need’ to drink alcohol again, for any reason. I personally experienced what it took to change my thinking around at a core level. What it was like to take those first steps on the uncertain journey of ‘no more alcohol forever’, and how it felt each step of the way. I experienced my own level of alcohol withdrawal and cravings and learned how to best manage them relevant to my particular circumstances. I learnt how to deal with questions (or taunts) from family, friends and colleagues. I fathomed and experienced how to restructure my daily and social routines to support an alcohol-free lifestyle. I have also personally experienced what a magnificent change can occur to someone’s self-esteem, confidence, spirit, pride (call it what you want), when the realisation spreads from the inside out, that alcohol is no longer necessary nor desired.

The Best of Both Worlds on a venn diagram with intersecting overlapping circles and the words Fresh Ideas and Trusted Experience to help you pick the ideal service provider or candidate

I spent many years before starting my own personally developed process of becoming alcohol-free, and more years during and after, reading, listening, watching and studying material on human potential, personal growth… and in the field of alcohol dependence. I have listed some of these (though certainly not all) on my alcohemy.com website.

No, the knowledge I gained over these years of study and research didn’t result in a formal medical or psychology qualification in alcohol dependence. However, I can assure you, what I did learn helped me shift my thinking at a core level and aide me in developing my alcohol treatment program that now sees me blissfully and permanently alcohol-free. Such was the magnitude of the change in me, that I am now committing myself for the rest of my life, to help other willing people resolve their own alcohol dependence.

I fully accept that there will be academics and potential participants alike that will assess my credentials as unsuitable to render assistance to alcoholics, regardless of the severity of their alcohol dependence. That is their choice and out of my control. However, I am confident there will also be many people with an alcohol addiction, looking for someone with real life experience, who has personally been successful in become alcohol-free, to help them complete their journey in a private and discreet way. Someone who knows how they feel and has successfully been through the process.

There are many different public and private avenues available to get help with alcohol addiction and Alcohemy is just one of the more private and discreet options. I am happy to provide my personalised service to all those that believe my particular knowledge and experience, is more important than whether I have a medical degree or not. I didn’t need one to get my fantastic results and firmly believe my actual experience will be of great value to a lot of people struggling with what to do. To help them again be the Master of their fate; the Captain of their soul.


Are You Courageous?

This morning I was looking through a photo stock site for an inspiring photo for my alcohol treatment program’s Alcohemy Facebook page, when I came across this one here. I was really drawn to it, not just because of the great colours, also because of how much meaning it embodied for me. It motivated me to write a separate article just on it.

The first thing that struck me was the courage by both these people to overcome the obvious fear factor involved. No matter how good we become at various skills we develop in life, I believe it is good for our soul to keep questioning and pushing our emotional and creative boundaries. That is why there is a motto that says, “Live life to the fullest” and not “Live life below your potential”. To experience a great sense of accomplishment and reward in life, we have to activate the courage in us to overcome the fears that prevent us from taking action. You can read more on the reality of fear in my article, What Is Fear and Is Fear Good or Bad for You.

The second thing I noticed about this photo is the team work shown in it. There is one person that has the courage to take a risk and a leap of faith, and another that is there to help and support them in achieving their goal. Certainly we can achieve great things in life by ourselves, though most often we can get there quicker and with less struggle, if we have the help and advice of caring and wise mentors and support. The support could be simply in the form of a friend or colleague that has your interest at heart and gives you encouragement. Knowing you have someone that cares for what you are endeavouring to do, can elicit your courage to committo it and boost your motivation if the going gets tough.

The leap of faith shown in the photo doesn’t appear to be reckless or frivolous. It isn’t an act of ‘blind faith’ where no thought was given to the purpose, means, or possible outcomes. Being courageous and taking risks doesn’t necessarily equate to a lack of consideration and responsibility. I’m quite sure the two in this photo had a definite purpose, planned and prepared for their journey, and had a strong expectation of success. Having the courage to take on new and unfamiliar challenges doesn’t mean you won’t be nervous or even very scared. This is where mentoring and having a prepared plan can be of great help. Having a mentor to point out the challenges and plan for them, can help raise your expectations of success and thus reduce the fear factor. Having a little adrenaline though can keep you alert and ‘on your toes’. Complacency is a hidden danger.

So how does this relate to people with an alcohol dependence?

Everything about this photo could be applied to someone with an alcohol dependence / alcohol addiction. For those that are an alcoholic, or have been dependent on alcohol for many years, it is very difficult to imagine life without it. Their social life, relaxation, daily routines and emotional ‘support’ all are habitually linked to drinking alcohol. To contemplate a life without drinking alcohol can be like sailing into uncharted waters (and perhaps dropping off the edge of the earth). It will take significant courage to take the ‘leap of faith’ that life will be actually better, not worse than it is now. It is an unknown risk that many don’t find the courage to take.

However, to get to the summit of their potential, they will have to climb that mountain, jump some crevasses and knock some skin off their hands and knees along the way. Just like in the photo at the top, quitting alcohol shouldn’t be attempted recklessly without thoughtful planning and preparation. For those without unyielding commitment, failures to stop drinking can be disheartening and lead to a lack of motivation and unwillingness to re-attempt. The help of a guide who has travelled that mountainous route before is a great idea, so they can help you plan and avoid some of the more arduous challenges along the way. Your support person (or team) can help you get there quicker with less scrapes and bruises.

The fact is, you will never be the best you can be in whatever your endeavours in life are, while you have an alcohol dependence or on any external substance. You will never live your life to the fullest and experience your full potential in your career, business, sport, hobbies or relationships. If you are persevering with an alcohol dependence look within yourself and find the courage that is there and take the leap to a better life. My Alcohemy alcohol treatment program can certainly help with that. Be the Master of your fate; the Captain of your soul.


Feeling Relaxed Will Reduce Alcohol Dependence

In my book Alcohemy, I propose the primary (if not the only) reason many people drink alcohol is to try to feel better than they currently do. The exception to this is when people take a sip of alcohol for a taste reason alone, or as part of a symbolic, ritual or religious process, (like toasting the newly married bride and groom, someone’s success, a toast to someone’s memory at a wake, or a small sip for another religious practice).

For the taste purpose; it is usually just a small amount to experience the unique taste. In the case of ritual or religious type reasons; the intent behind the actual gesture is symbolic and not one of self-indulgent pleasure-seeking. It is more about the event, or the other person, than to get some effect from the alcohol. Apart from these reasons, alcohol is only consumed in an effort to alter the person’s state of mind.

If the primary reason for drinking alcohol is to attain a state of feeling ‘better’ than we currently are, it implies that there are many millions of people around the world that aren’t feeling content or  ‘good’ a lot of the time. Some of the reasons we want to change our state of mind by drinking alcohol is to:

Frazzled Woman, 300x218

  • Relax; feel more confident; block out worrying thoughts; to veg-out and dumb-down a bit for a while; to switch off; to feel carefree or happy; to settle the nerves; to de-stress and chill-out; and to generally take the edge off an emotional time or hard day.

Most people believe having a few (or a lot of) alcoholic drinks will dissolve their cares away, as if it was some magic potion. The reality is, drinking alcohol doesn’t change anything at all in our environment that is causing our discontentment. In fact, it usually causes more harm and if we already have a moderate alcohol dependence, it may cause others in our environment (family, friends, and colleagues) to think worse of us, because we continue to look to alcohol for the solution.

Because the ethanol in alcohol affects brain neurotransmitters like endorphins (pleasure), glutamate (excitatory), dopamine (reward), serotonin (mood) and GABA (inhibition), we can feel a temporary change to the emotional state we were in before drinking alcohol. However, alcohol is actually a nervous system depressantand drinking alcohol will start impairing and shutting down important areas of our brain, that help awareness and cogitative ability. Instead of ‘feeling’ better after drinking alcohol… we actually ‘feel’ less. It is only a delusion that everything in our world has become miraculously better. Furthermore, the alcohol we have consumed has now likely started to compromise our judgement and rational thinking, which could lead to poor choices, making us feel even worse later.

Sad Woman with Drink in Her Hand, 300x200As you can see from the above common list of reasons people drink alcohol, most have to do with wanting to relax and unwind. If we were naturally feeling content and relaxed most of the time, we wouldn’t feel the need to use external substances like alcohol to boost our low emotional state. It makes much better sense then to look at more healthy alternatives to keep ourselves in a generally relaxed and content state of mind. The problem is a lot of us had grown up believing alcohol was an appropriate substance to use as a quick-fix to any stressful occasion, or simply as a general mood enhancer. We choose alcohol instead of the many other great healthy alternatives.

Happy Woman on Beach with Bicycle, 300x199To keep this blog post from getting too long I will discuss some of the great ways to keep your ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters naturally high, (and certainly how to boost them in times when you are stressed or at an emotional low point), in another post on my website. If you make a habit of using healthy ways to relax, every time you start to feel stressed, alcohol use can become as irrelevant to you, as it is to me now that I am permanently alcohol-free.


Can alcohol dependence be cured?

We don't want you opinion!I used to have a slogan on my Alcohemy website which said “Alcoholism is a choice… not a life sentence” I coined it to get people thinking about how much of a role does the actual alcoholic play in getting to that state, and how much are they responsible for determining if they remain an alcoholic. Admittedly, I chose the wording to elicit a reaction from those that hold the traditional view point that alcoholism is an ‘incurable’ disease and that ‘once an alcoholic… always an alcoholic’. Boy! Did I underestimate the response from the traditional-thinking US medical fraternity, who were approached by my US PR consultant to review my book, in hope of me gaining an interview. Some were quite visceral in their opinion that I was not medically qualified to question a hundred years of research and ‘accepted’ thinking on the subject. Some even suggested it was ‘irresponsible’ at best and ‘dangerous’ at worst to give hope to alcoholics that they could ever be completely free from desiring alcohol. Well, I’m making the big call… to me that’s bullsh*t and very limiting and defeatist thinking.

The whole point of the book I wrote was to give people struggling with alcohol dependence, addiction, alcoholism (call it what you want), inspiration and hope that it is possible to stop drinking and recover to lead blissful alcohol-free lives. And yes, for some, this can be without even the ‘desire’ for alcohol. In my book I regularly use the term “be the master of your fate; captain of your soul”, to reiterate that we do have the ability to control our futures, one thought, feeling, choice and action at a time. It might not be easy, though it is possible.

Another thing I have noticed in my efforts to get my message exposed via the media (which are vetted by their medical staff), is the apparent fixation on the word ‘alcoholism’. I was told it was odd the term wasn’t mentioned even once in my entire book, yet told I shouldn’t have used it in my website slogan.  It seems once the word ‘alcoholism‘ (or even ‘alcoholic‘) is used you are entering into hallowed ground and only medically qualified people have any credibility to comment.

I have read many definitions of what an ‘alcoholic’ or ‘alcohol dependent’, ‘alcohol abuse’, ‘alcoholism’ etc. means from many sources, including medical. They vary greatly and some mention ‘disease’ and some don’t. Regardless, you can find a definition to suit your particular point of view if you look hard enough. I have never seen anywhere where is states what is the difference between an ‘alcohol dependent’, an ‘alcoholic’ or person with ‘alcoholism’ is, nor where there is a change (if any) from one to the other. There seems to be a major hang-up on the word ‘alcoholism’ by medical professionals; and that it precludes any possible treatment except for current medically approved methods. Where does the definition of someone who is totally ‘alcohol dependent’ finish and someone with ‘alcoholism’ begin???

In fact there is a good reason I didn’t use the word alcoholism in my book. My book was not meant to be a look at treating alcohol addiction or alcoholism from a medicalperspective. It was intended to come from a past sufferer’s perspective, based on my personal experience. One that other alcoholics could relate to at a deeper personal level. From my experience, people don’t like being called an alcoholic and given my book is trying to gently coax people to consider the real state of their alcohol dependence, then ‘dependence’ seemed a friendlier, more relatable term to me. If someone asked me back when I drank if I was ‘alcohol dependent’, I would have said, “Yes, I guess I am”. If they asked if I was an ‘alcoholic’ or had ‘alcoholism’ I would have told them to bugger off and not to be so blatantly rude. I believe my choice of words such as ‘habitual’ and ‘dependence’ in my book, are not only factual, it shows very good ‘tact’, instead of being so ‘medically’ literal. My intent is to help the alcohol-dependent ‘fence-sitters’, rather than alienate them.

Another point of feedback that has trickled in via social media (Facebook, Instagram) postings I have made is people (apparent sufferers??) telling me alcohol addiction is a disease. Again, it’s almost like they are saying nothing can be done about it and the very best they can hope for is a life of perpetually stressful vigilance. My experience indicates to me it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. I believe alcohol dependence can be reversed. I have been alcohol-free for over 6 years and don’t even ‘desire’ to use alcohol (or any external substance) to prop up any area of my life, emotionally or physically. I admit, I wasn’t to the stage where I was living in a box on the streets, drinking cheap wine out of a bottle in a paper bag. I was a business person, though can assure you I drank way too much wine/spirits every single day and was definitely addicted to alcohol.

Furthermore, I have never said anywhere in my book or website that alcoholism is not a disease. The term disease has its own varying definitions, though I am satisfied that full-on alcoholism is classed a disease. What they (traditional medical thinking) seem to be saying is that it is incurable and the sufferer has no choice in that. I am simply questioning that stand point in all cases. The human mind and spirit is a very powerful force and if given the right guidance and belief system, can do things medical science can’t fathom. True, it might not work for everyone, though to disregard that approach to follow the ‘rule’, to me is very limited thinking. Why can’t conventional and non-conventional methods work side by side to widen the alcohol treatment options to more sufferers, hard core or not.

Open or Closed Minded?I believe the greatest percentage of ‘alcoholics’ would be in the category I was (not needing urgent medical treatment and reluctant to seek public help), so surely my experience and discreet alcohol treatment program is worth supporting, if it could potentially help millions of middle-ground alcoholic ‘fence-sitters’. I understand I don’t have a medical degree to walk the hallowed grounds of alcohol addiction treatment unchallenged and I accept that. All I ask for is a free-thinking approach from those open minded enough to even read my book all the way through and not just skim through to see if it meets their existing beliefs and encoded biases. At the end of the day we are all trying to do our bit to lessen the global problem of culturally accepted alcohol abuse and the heartache it causes to individuals and their families.