Whether your view of human history is founded on Darwinism or doctrine, a common factor of man’s existence on Earth has been his almost obsessive need to fit in with his environment.

As social animals designed to co-exist in group, we are defined by elements that are as diverse as they are disparate. Blood, money, breeding, interest, appearance, education, profession and more are all part of our individual social DNA and determine our physical and mental behaviours.

And when we can’t fit in, two things generally happen. Either we modify our own behaviours to become more like the group we want to belong to; or we seek to mask our social discomfort by finding a different focus.

Sometimes that can be harmless. Often, it’s quite the opposite. Welcome to addiction.

Talk to heavy smokers and most will tell you they tried their first cigarette because their friends smoked, and they didn’t want to be the odd one out. Talk to an alcoholic and you’ll likely find loss or depression or simply unbearable strain that was soothed by booze. Celebrities turn to drugs because they’re there and just about everyone else around them is doing them. Gambling addicts are addicts because they’re chasing their losses and addicted to adrenaline.

In each case, the addiction starts out as the solution to a particular problem – social inclusion, emotional medication or an opportunity to restore the status quo – and then becomes a much bigger problem in its own right.

Very few smokers want to smoke. Most alcoholics would rather never drink again. Most drug addicts would do anything to get the monkey off their back.

The simple fact is that almost every addict wants to be anything but an addict.

The road to recovery starts by understanding that your medication of choice is understanding what needs to be addressed is what led you to make the choice in the first place.

Whether it’s tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sex, food, pornography, shopping or one of a myriad of other negative behaviours that has become your emotional and physical jailer, the problem that needs to be tackled almost certainly pre-dates it.

You’re not a smoker, you’re a kid who desperately needed the approval of friends. You’re not a drinker, you’re the career high flier who’s terrified of failure. And you’re not an inveterate gambler, you’re the person who’s struggling with debt and money and needs to believe in a miracle.

Every addiction – including negative behaviours like OCD – is a process of actively avoiding or denying the self, a nasty little game of emotional hide and seek. Find yourself, have a drink. Or a line. Or whatever.

By treating the issues that create the urge to indulge your addiction, you remove the need to behave as you currently do and there’s less chance of a relapse.

Addiction is still horribly misunderstood for what it is. It is often seen as a conscious, rather than subconscious choice and many practitioners still treat the effect (the smoking or the drinking etc.) rather than the cause (issues around trauma, self-esteem, anxiety or depression).

At Zoe Clews & Associates, our addiction specialist Paul Gibson uniquely blends methods such as EMDR, hypnosis, Havening and neurobiosensory techniques to work on addictive behaviour at all levels to ensure that freedom from the addiction is felt deeply within the body and mind.

His sessions deal with the internal and external triggers that keep the urge alive, offer advice about exercise, which floods the body with happy hormones, and use the latest psychosensory techniques to help rebalance the brain chemistry that creates the urge.

In the end, your addiction is nothing more than the resource you use to wallpaper over the cracks in your emotional health; and the more the cracks are healed, the less likely you are to need the wallpaper.

We’re currently offering four hypnotherapy sessions for the price of three – representing a saving of 30% on our normal session fees. For more information and to contact us or book your treatment, please visit zoeclews-hypnotherapy.co.uk

Zoe Clews is the founder of Zoe Clews & Associates and is one of London’s most recommended hypnotherapists. Her team of associates can treat a wide variety of issues and you can find out more about what we do by visiting us online via the address above.

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About Zoë Clews

Zoë Clews is the founder of Zoë Clews & Associates and is one of the most successful and sought-after hypnotherapists working in the UK today. She has spent the last 17 years providing exclusive, highly-effective hypnotherapy treatment to a clientele that includes figures in the public eye, high net worth individuals and professionals at the top of their careers. An expert in all forms of hypnotherapy treatment, Zoë is a specialist in issues relating to anxiety, trauma, self-esteem and confidence. She works with nine Associates who are experts in their own fields and handpicked for their experience and track records of success, providing treatment for an extensive range of conditions that include addiction, weight loss, eating disorders, relationships, love and sex, children’s issues, fertility problems, phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and sleep issues.  She takes inspiration from her own emotional journey and works with both individuals and blue-chip corporates who want to provide mindfulness support for their people either on a regular or occasional basis, or as part of an employee benefit scheme.