FREESPA: FREEDOM from Substance and Process Addictions

Maybe now you are finally ready and you can stop doing the things that are not loving to yourself. 

Ask, ‘Can I stop doing the things that harm me physically, mentally and emotionally?’

Say to yourself, ‘Everything I need is inside of me. I don’t need something outside of me to make me feel better on the inside. That doesn’t work.’

Allow change to happen for you.

ADDICTION can happen to anyone. It is is a brain disorder and has no respect for a person, regardless of sex, race, class or age.

The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to.” If you’ve ever had an addiction, or know anyone that has, you’ll understand this. 

It is defined as a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a drug, chemical or substance or refrain from an activity even though it is causing psychological and physical damage. 

If the addiction is a chemical or drug, this is referred to as Substance Addiction. If it’s an activity, for example gambling, this is referred to as a Process Addiction. 

Addictions and Habits are completely different. Habit is a behaviour pattern developed by frequent repetition of the act over and over to the point the brain does it automatically. An addiction is a compulsive need of a certain thing or substance to the body, which when deprived causes horrible effects. A habit can be controlled or modified, while addiction cannot be controlled and requires professional help for modification. 

Here’s a quick and dirty explanation of how the brain works at its basic level, and in particular, the concept of the “Reward” system which is the property that is characteristic of many addictions. 

The Central Nervous System is made up of both the Brain and the Spinal Cord. The brain is a functional unit, and is made up of billions of nerve cells (neurons) that communicate with each other using chemical and electrical signals . Nerve cells (Neurons) connect via pathways to send and integrate information. 

And the reward pathway is activated when a person receives positive reinforcement for a certain behaviour. 

Most organisms will engage in behaviours that are rewarding. The pleasurable feelings provide positive reinforcement so that the behaviour gets repeated. There are many natural substances and behaviours that provide such a reward. Think of water, sex and nurturing, all allow an organism to feel pleasure and so the organism continues and looks forward to eating, drinking, procreating and being nurtured. 

Pleasurable feelings reinforce the behaviour so that it will be repeated. All of these behaviours are required for the survival of a species.

However, the natural reward pathway can get hi-jacked by more sinister substances and processes.

For instance, heroin is an addictive drug, however not all users become addicted. The user’s environment, physiology, personality and external factors will factor in whether the user becomes addicted. 

Heroin produces pleasurable feelings, and can be a positive reinforcer by interacting with the reward system pathways. Heroin travels quickly to the brain via the bloodstream. It then gets converted to morphine by enzymes. Morphine will bind to opiate receptors in the brain, including the reward pathways and the pain pathways. 

When morphine binds to the pain pathways, it leads to analgesia, or loss of pain.But it also binds to receptors in the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) and Nucleus Accumbens. This activates the reward pathway. 

3 types of neurons participate in the opiate action. One releases dopamine. One contains a different neurotransmitter such as GABA. The lower post synapsic cell contains dopamine receptors. The opiates bind to the opiate receptors, decreasing the GABA release. GABA normally inhibits dopamine release, so the dopamine release is increased. 

What that essentially means is that heroin makes the user feel good. More dopamine causes the repeated activation of the reward system. 

When a drug such as heroin is used repeatedly, tolerance develops. After repeated activation of the brain’s opiate receptors by morphine, the enzyme adapts so that the morphine can no longer cause changes in the cell function. 

Thus the effect of the drug is diminished, requiring a higher dose. And with repeated use, dependence can also occur. This develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated exposure, and will only function normally in the presence of the drug. 

When the drug is absent, physiological reactions occur. These can be mild eg with caffeine or life threatening eg with alcohol. We commonly call this body response ‘withdrawal symptoms’, and with many addictions it can be serious. 

And because the withdrawal feels so bad, the user will use the drug again to avoid the withdrawal. 

Cocaine is another addictive drug, but like heroin, not all users become addicted. However, since the advent of crack cocaine, the rate of addiction has increased. 

Cocaine works differently in affecting the brain but the outcome is the same. There are an increased number of impulses to activate the reward system. This pathway can be activated even in the absence of cocaine, during craving. 

After the repeated use of cocaine, the body will rely on the drug to maintain rewarding feelings. The user is no longer able to feel pleasure from natural rewards, only from using the drug. In the absence of the drug, anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure) and depression may emerge as part of the withdrawal symptoms.

All drugs activate the reward system in some way, although sometimes indirectly, and the net result is always an increase in dopamine transmission. 

Process Addictions or non-substance addictions can result in many of the same adverse effects of substance addictions. Process addictions are directly connected to the feeling of euphoria a person experiences when they engage in a particular behaviour. 

Most behaviours are carried out by most people on a daily basis, without an addiction developing. So how does the addiction develop? 

When people engage in behaviours that can become addictive, these behaviours tend to be either risky, or pleasurable. 

This results in the release of dopamine at higher than normal levels. Although this is lower than with substance addictions, the reward system is still activated, and the reinforcement to repeat the behaviour is more significant. 

Couple this with a driver feeding the behaviour such as low self esteem, the need to escape, repressed trauma, loss or guilt, and the behaviour can escalate to an addiction rapidly. 

Ultimately, all addictions rely on the increased levels of dopamine in the reward system to become addictive. Substance addictions rely on chemical interference to increase the release, and process addictions rely on the natural production of dopamine to increase levels. 

The reward system and dopamine levels are the key processes to address for overcoming addictions. 

Common Addictions 

SUBSTANCE/CHEMICAL 

Nicotine, Marijuana – THC, Opioids, Benzodiazepine, Cocaine/Crack, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Hallucinogens, Synthetics (K2, bath salts, ecstasy, anabolic steroids) , Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar 

PROCESS 

Food, Gambling, Shopping, Sexual Compulsivity/Pornography, Stealing, Hoarding, Thrill Seeking, Internet Use, Gaming, Negativity, Abusive/Volatile Relationships, Social Media

Addictions within the Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology. 

Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up.

If any of the elements within the hierarchy of needs are not met, it is possible for an addiction to take its place. When this happens, another neurochemical, the most abundant one in the brain, Glutamate, will take over. 

Glutamate initiates the pleasure seeking cues, makes the substance or process of the addiction the most important thing in the world. This in turn can replace all of the needs within Maslow’s hierarchy, eventually becoming more important than even the most basic needs of food and shelter. 

This missing element from the hierarchy we refer to as the driver behind the addiction. If that driver is not dealt with, then a relapse is likely, or a replacement addiction will take over. 

Pavlovian Conditioning and Addictions 

Pavlovian conditioning means that a specific stimulus causes a specific response. For instance, if you see food (a stimulus), you will salivate (a response). Salvation at the sight of food is an unconditioned response. This simply means it is an automatic reflex or response. You don’t need to learn to salivate upon seeing food. It just happens automatically. 

Now we come to the learning part of conditioning. In one of Pavlov’s experiments, he rang a bell every time he fed some dogs. He paired a bell with the arrival of food. Unlike food, which is an unconditioned stimulus, the bell became a conditioned stimulus. This is because the dogs learned (they were conditioned) that when the bell rang, food would arrive. Pavlov formed a paired association between an unconditioned stimulus (dog food) and a conditioned stimulus (a bell). Eventually, Pavlov’s dogs began to salivate at the mere sound of the bell, even when Pavlov did not present the food. 

The dogs had been conditioned that the bell meant food is on its way. They learned! Eventually both the food and the bell elicited the same response, i.e., salivation. 

Likewise, certain cues (also called relapse triggers) have a powerful effect on an addicted person. These cues can result in a relapse because the brain links the cues and the addiction, and dopamine is released. For instance, a heroin addict can get a dopamine rush just in the preparation of the needle. A gambler will get a rush just by spinning the roulette wheel, regardless of whether they win or lose. Even associations will become triggers, for example having a meal may trigger a craving for a cigarette in a smoker. 

To recover from addiction it is important to remove this conditioning. The conditioning will create cravings, and the cravings will likely result in a relapse. 

The Process of Dealing with an Addiction.

FREESPA: FREEDOM from Substance and Process Addictions

Overview of The FREESPA Programme

4 Addiction Recovery sessions with a final 5th session full of Positive Reinforcement and Future You Ideal Life Modelling. 

First Session

(Usually lasts around 2 hours)

We set a target date of around 4 weeks from session date when client will be clean/free from addiction.

During this session we will have a full discussion to assess your unique situation, and get clarity on your specific drivers, causes, triggers and any/all relevant information. 

We will use a specifically adapted form of Rapid Pain Elimination Therapy (RPET), a process of dialoguing with your subconscious using muscle testing to create the right circumstances for change and allowing change to happen at the deepest level. This is foundational clearing of old programming, priming the subconscious for healing, release and learning new habits of behaviors that are more useful and supportive.

During the first session, you will also have the first of your inner journeys, again specifically adapted to the process of Addiction Recovery and to your needs. The Dreamstate is where you allow your subconscious to take you on an amazing healing journey. 

And we will work on improving your Resilience and ability to bounce back and heal.

Second Session

We start by reviewing the changes you have noticed/felt in the days since the first session. 

RPET is used to deepen the release process and continuing the clearance of old programming, inserting in its place, self love, self compassion, empathy, and confidence. 

And you will experience your second dreamscape which will continue the healing, learning and self love activation. We incorporate into the Dreamstate protocols to remove your personal addiction drivers and provide a purpose forward that motivates and sustains you in giving up your addiction.

Third Session

A review of the last 2 weeks, assessing what you think of the progess made, how you feel this far into the programme and the needs you have that may still need to be addressed.

Here we repeat RPET to encourage the deepening of the release process and continuing the clearance of old programming, inserting in its place, self love, self compassion, empathy, and confidence.

Intensive Inner Child Healing work, reconnecting to your traumatised self and giving that child within what he needs to feel safe, secure, loved. 

Dreamscape to learn new information and gain more healing from the subconscious.

Fourth Session

This session involves inviting friends and family to this session. This may include recovery supporters as well as addiction enablers. This is a voluntary process and highly rewarding for all involved.

Inner journey process for everyone and informal chat to gain support for your future needs from those closest to you.

If the group session is not feasible then we will repeat RPET process as before.

And continue with a hypnotic programme for Anger Release and Forgiveness. This is a deep hypnosis programme designed to  release all pent up anger from past relationships, events, misunderstandings, etc. Replacing the anger with love, kindness and joy.

Dreamscape to learn new information and gain more healing from the subconscious.

Fifth Session

Final Review of progress made, and  a renewal of determination to stay clean and live free from addiction.

Repeating RPET process as before.

Future Life Modeling, a deep hypnosis programme calling in the emotions, feelings and thoughts you want to infuse into every cell in your body, imagining the ideal life you want to live and  opening the subconscious ability to heighten your intuitive ability to be in the right place at the right time to make it happen.

Dreamscape to learn new information and gain more healing from the subconscious.

FREESPA: FREEDOM from Substance and Process Addictions

That is FREESPA. Each session will be followed up with specific homework for you to help integrate the healing work achieved during our time together.

This is an amazing, intensive process for change, releasing the past and allowing yourself to find peace, feel free to live and love without shadows and fear. No longer addicted.

If you want to be free and are committed to making it happen, then this programme is for you.

Love

Cynthia xx

Disclaimer: This is not a medical program. Chemically addicted clients are recommended to attend a 72 hour detoxification program prior to beginning this treatment, due to the potential for medical complications during the initial withdrawal phase.

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