Have you ever considered that addiction, anxiety, and depression have roots in your body, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions?
I started drinking when I was 12 years old. I spent the night at a friend’s house and we broke into her parent’s liquor cabinet. This type of thing happens with curious kids, but for me, this was an invitation to keep going, and I did.
I would drink whenever I got the chance, and it made me feel so much better. My body craved alcohol, and I took every opportunity I could to drink. Over time the amount of alcohol I drank increased to the point where I was blacking out frequently. I was pretty much a hot mess, and it wasn’t until I had my son that I quit drinking, at least at first. Once I became pregnant I immediately quit because I knew he had to take priority. But once he was born I began drinking again.
That lasted for about a year until I had another incident when I had gone out to a restaurant, drank way too much, and then blacked out. I realized the next day that I needed to stop drinking. There was no way I could be the mother I wanted to be with that type of behavior, and even though my drinking had always been kept away from my son (I drank when he was with my mom so it didn’t affect him), I knew it wasn’t fair to my little guy.
So I stopped – cold turkey. This isn’t really safe to do, by the way, when you’re a hardcore drinker. You need to be medically supervised when coming off of an alcohol addiction.
Believe it or not, the withdrawal was the easy part of stopping drinking. The cravings, feeling like crap, wanting to reach into the fridge to grab a beer, were nothing in comparison to what was in my future.
I was forced to start dealing with my feelings because I was no longer suppressing them with alcohol. Anxiety, panic, and depression started to set in.
I had severe trauma from my past that had been locked away in my subconscious, and the alcohol had been keeping my memories at bay until they were triggered.
It started with physical sensations in my body that were related to my past abuse. My body was telling me a story, letting me know that something had happened, and it was trying to communicate with me. In fact, it was forcing me to listen.
The physical sensations were so strong that I thought I was losing my mind – I felt like my body had been invaded by body snatchers. Not knowing what was happening to me caused me a great deal of distress, and I felt like I was falling apart. I was crying all the time, and I was barely holding it together.
I had never really paid attention to what was happening in my body before, and now it was screaming at me to pay attention, and I had no choice but to do just that.
I started to surrender to the physical sensations as they presented, and when I did that it allowed past memories to surface. Then when the memory surfaced I would feel the emotions from that memory, and I was able to examine the belief I had formed as a result of it.
This was not easy, and there were times where you’d literally have to peel me up off the floor. The anxiety and depression were so bad, and it was only by surrendering to these feelings and moving into them that I was able to find peace.
After a lot of inner healing I’m no longer addicted to alcohol or have anxiety and depression like I did before. I hadn’t realized back then that my drinking was masking my physical sensations, my beliefs, my memories, and my emotions.
This was all happening just under my conscious awareness; it was happening on autopilot. I would have an automatic thought that would trigger an emotion and then I would reach out for a drink, and it was mostly without me really knowing what was happening because it happened so quickly.
If you are addicted to anything – alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, shopping. sex, etc. – start becoming aware of the thought you just had just before you did the addictive behavior.
There is always a thought there. It’s just that you may not have been consciously aware of it, and it generated a feeling at lightning speed that prompted you to repeat your familiar coping behavior before you could look at what happened.
This is also the case if you have anxiety or depression, too. Your body is literally screaming at you to get your attention. Again, check for the thought that happened just before the anxiety or depression set in, and then notice the feeling that it generated and where it’s taking place in the body. This will help you release it.
This takes lots of practice, but it can make the biggest difference in your life.
When you’re suffering and going through a challenging time with addiction, anxiety, and depression, you want to access a team of people to support you, because there’s no reason to do this alone.
With anxiety, addiction, and depression, there is a physiological response. When you’re experiencing anxiety, your body is in fight or flight mode, and your mind isn’t working as well as it could be. There are many people who don’t reach out for help, but that doesn’t have to be you. There is no shame in getting the help you need, and there are qualified professionals to help you out of your suffering.
How can you support yourself in addition to working with your physical sensations, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings?
- If you’ve been diagnosed with an addiction, anxiety, or depression, a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist is a great step forward in your self-care. It may take you some time to find someone you like, but when you do, it can help you on your healing journey.
- Medication has its place when helping you with anxiety and depression. There are a lot of people who are vehemently against taking medication, or think of people who take medication as being weak or not spiritual, but it can help you if you’re in crisis, and it can help you if you’ve exhausted all of the ways you know how to help yourself with. It’s important to recognize that depression and anxiety are chemical imbalances of the brain and can be helped by the introduction of a physical substance. Medication doesn’t make things perfect, but it helps you start to solve your own problems by being able to develop new skills. It doesn’t mean that you have to take it forever. Also, there is genetic testing to see which medications will work best with your physiology.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an incredible treatment given by a psychiatrist that sends magnetic pulses to the frontal lobe in your brain that helps your brain work optimally. I have seen incredible results with this treatment for really challenging cases of anxiety and depression.
- Hypnotherapy is one of my favorite tools for getting to the bottom of why you’re having anxiety and depression in the first place. When you understand why you’re doing something, where it came from, and cleanse and heal the emotions and beliefs that came from it, you will notice some really big shifts in how you feel. If you hire a hypnotist, I would suggest finding someone with advanced training and experience with regression hypnotherapy. That’s where they will help guide you back to a time in your past when things took root in your subconscious that are causing you problems in your life now.
- Tension and trauma releasing exercises (TRE) is a set of 7 exercises that was created by Dr. David Berceli that helps bring about a neurogenic tremor. This is a shaking, much like when an animal shakes to let go of fear, that happens in your body. This is totally self-controlled, and helps your body switch from your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to your parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation). It’s used for people with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and past trauma.
- Energy healing is very helpful for working with the energy of addiction, anxiety, and depression. For energy healing, I would suggest someone who specializes in extraction work. Extraction work is pulling out the energy of what is not serving you, and transmuting the energy to a different state. It’s super woo, and it works. When you couple that with soul retrieval, opening your heart, and connecting you with your soul levels, you can shift the energy of what you’ve been experiencing.
- Meditation is very helpful but can be challenging for people who are experiencing severe anxiety and depression. There’s something called binaural beats, a system that’s embedded in music that can help bring about different brainwave states. This will help you get to a meditative state to examine your thoughts and feelings. My favorite brainwave entrainment is by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, and you can get it on Amazon.
- Acupuncture can help you go from sympathetic nervous system to parasympathetic nervous system. It has many benefits, including relaxation.
- Exercise is really important. People with depression in particular benefit from the extra energy. It releases endorphins and helps relieve stress, and feeling more energetic may help you make better decisions for yourself and your health habits.
- Go outside and be around people who support you. Human beings don’t respond well to being stuck in the same small location forever. We get bored and we want the natural elements that being outside provides. In addition to that, we’re social creatures, and we benefit greatly from being around other people.
- Take a look at your life, and at the people in your life, and determine if you have situations or people in your life who are toxic. Even if you learn the greatest skills for tackling your anxiety, depression, and addiction, if you are surrounded by toxic people and toxic situations, you will not get nearly as far. Do the best that you can to move out of those parts of your life in a way that makes sense to you.
If you’re feeling suicidal it means that you need different support than what I’ve mentioned. Please reach out to emergency services right now if that’s the case. The national suicide hotline in the United States is 1-800-273-8255.
What has your experience been with addiction, anxiety, or depression? Leave me a comment below to let me know.