Think of any addiction as a tenacious habit in the brain that creates a network of association—as some neuroscientists like to say, “the cells that fire together, wire together.” What this means for an addiction is that each time you do the drug, drink the drink or engage in your addictive activity, you are strengthening those connections.
The more we reinforce the pattern the thicker and stronger the cluster of neurons becomes. And as that happens, it becomes much more difficult to control them.
But new research in neuroscience tells us that the brain is malleable and capable of changing even the most ingrained patterns. So, each time you stop the craving, urge or the habituated feelings that lead to them, you are working to rewire the brain. And it’s easier than you think.
The basic protocol we’ve been using has three levels. First we arm people with the understanding of how habits are formed and changed in the brain. We give them different rapid techniques to stop cravings and more importantly, the emotions that lead to them. You will learn about the research that concludes that the best way to change the habit is to interrupt it and connect the neurons to those outside the network. So the techniques will offer relief from the cravings while systematically rewiring the habit.
The second level of the protocol works to change the emotional impact of past traumas, associations, and the negative beliefs and emotions that many addicts carry around. These techniques are based on the research of memory reconsolidation and the fact that we can change significantly the power of implicit memories which then makes it easier to heal and move on. You will also learn how to re encode and install positive beliefs and motivators.
The third level is about personal power. Teaching addicts to develop alternative strategies for reward. Based on the work around willpower and meaning making, we help them cultivate a new values hierarchy.