Copyright 1993. Printed with the permission of the subject. Name of subject has been changed.
Pat: I got one, where it was the control of the need for stimulation, to be able to access a feel good buzz that was natural to the body. Now what I was moving away from was compulsion to control, so it’s like getting up in the morning, I’m either drinking coffee or I’m not drinking coffee, there’s no, I can never find the balance between just having an occasional coffee, because I know that too much coffee isn’t good for me, so what happens is that I’ll buy a jar of coffee and I’ll just keep drinking it until it’s finished, then I won’t drink it for about six months I won’t drink any coffee again, then as soon as I buy some more coffee, there’s this compulsion, I can’t leave it alone until it’s finished sort of thing, so it’s being able to find a balance between the two extremes.
John: So what happens in terms of compulsion? The jars sitting there, is it all in a big pot at once, or, one spoonful at a time. [laughter] Do you eat it dry? That’s when it’s really bad.
Pat: I tried that, coffee beans and crunch coffee beans.
John: What happens then? Yeah, when coffee’s there, how do you do it? So, you’ve got a jar of coffee, what feelings are involved. So you might be say in another room, do you get little cries of, “I’m in here, come and dissolve me’? Things like that? How does it happen?
Pat: I just think about it, and I think of the effect, the taste.
John: So the effect, not just the taste.
Pat: There’s both of them, there’s the taste as well. there’s also the enjoyment of making it in the percolator, the ritual, nice to make it. So, the first thing will be like the thought of coffee, the taste, the enjoyment of making it, the effect that it gives, the buzz. So for example if I’m working, I only get Nescafe, I don’t like Nescafe, it has the same effect, but I won’t drink it, because it doesn’t have the same taste, it’s not good quality coffee, so I’ll look for places that serve good quality coffee, go for a coffee, and again there’s the enjoyment of the warmth of the atmosphere, the coffee, and the effect that the coffee gives, so what I’m looking for here is a balance, to having to do that every day, to either, not doing that at all, but what I’d like to find is a balance so I can enjoy it once in a while.
John: How much coffee, do you want to enjoy?
Pat: I wouldn’t want to have it every day, that’s not good because I get eczema sometimes, it’s a stimulant physiologically unhealthy for me.
John: Is that the caffeine, or other things in it?
Pat: I’m not sure.
John: There’s decaffeinated, tastes much the same, you can get the beans.
Pat: But you don’t get the buzz with decaffeinated, you see.
John: Yeah. Just checking. You could get the ritual and the flavour, just not the buzz.
Pat: I think it’s the buzz, the buzz for me.
John: How much of the buzz then, is required, for you to go, ‘yeah, I’ve got it? Pat: Well, one cappuccino.
John: One cappuccino a day, and you’d like to have less than that a day?
Pat: Yeah, one a week would be quite good.
John: Just checking, because most folk, one would not be a problem, if it was six or seven a day, it’s too much, the scale of things. Now, one a day then, you go through the planning stage, thinking about it, getting some of the feeling, the quality of the taste, the buzz, what’s the time scale between that and actually getting the coffee? Does it have to be immediate, or do you enjoy the looking forward to it?
Pat: It’s both, if I’m at home, I just get up and go make it. If I’m nowhere near one of my favourite coffee shops, it’s nearly an hour or two before I get there. Once the idea pops into my head, it can go and nag me until I actually go and do it, so even if it’s not until six hours later, it will still be something that’s kind of worked it’s way into my schedule, that I’m going to arrange things so I’m going to stop off at little Italy and have a quick expresso on the way home. I’ve just noticed that, a kind of compulsion.
John: Do you feel drawn to it, or do you feel it’s something you’re moving towards, or is it like the coffee is pulling you towards it?
Pat: It pulls me towards it.
John: Because there’s a difference between something pulling you towards it, and you actually stretching out and pulling it towards yourself, it’s to do with the feeling, whether you’re being dragged, or whether you’re the one that’s actively moving, the compulsion tends to be something that’s actually drawing you towards it, hence the lack of control, not actively choosing to, at one level. Some of the things we can play around with. The coffee, now, go back to the last example of when this came up.
Pat: The thought came this morning, but there’s too much to be done, there’s not room for it yet. This morning I looked at it, and I thought, ‘shall I have a coffee now? and I thought, no, it’s too much.’ So I know that at some point today, and then I was already thinking, lunchtime, where can I go for lunch? Do they serve good coffee? that’s the thought process that was kind of running by me this morning.
John: One of the things to note here, when the thought comes up, the coffee’s in the future, most needs are future orientated, it’s something you want to actually consume, it pops up there, and it’s there. OK, think in terms of coffee just now, and when you get the notion of it, reflect back on, over the last month, the good coffees you’ve had. Remember the buzz, and the taste. Give yourself a quality of enjoyment, that you’ve had those. Now when you do that, what happens?
Pat: Feels good.
John: Now how many have you had over the last week?
Pat: Over the last seven days, six or seven.
John: Six or seven good ones.
Pat: Yesterday I didn’t have a coffee, I didn’t have time yesterday.
John: So, six, five six.
Pat: Maybe I did have coffee yesterday. (Friend of Pat): I wasn’t going to say anything.
John: So you can think back, having enjoyed those. Now, thinking of those you’ve had, how much longer to do want free till you have another one? Keep thinking of the six you’ve had though, and then think, what enjoyment do you want in the future? When in the future would you like to have had the seventh?
Pat: I’m not sure. Interesting. What just comes, it could actually be at any time in the future, surprisingly.
John: OK, we’ll compare it, we’ll go back to the way that you were doing it again, so in your mind, just look round the room, then just think, ‘coffee, could have one, what does that do?
Pat: I could see myself having one at lunch, I could see myself having one in the evening, yeah, it will be the evening, I can see myself really enjoying it. What’s happening in the evening is that we’re going out to dinner, so, I know I’m going to enjoy a coffee.
John: OK then, flip it to think about the six, five or six you’ve had already, this week, think of all the enjoyment there, and the time in-between, so think of them stretching out, you can remember the buzz, get some of it, the memory of it, and then think of this evening. Keep those in mind though, hold the memory of that there and think of this evening.
Pat: I can have the same feeling, without the coffee.
John: OK, we’ll add another little refinement, when you think of this evening, do you think of yourself drinking, you could have a coffee if you wanted, do you have to drink the whole cup, would that be useful to you, would just the smell of it be enough to remind you of the buzz?
Pat: I think just the atmosphere would be enough. remind me.
John: Right, so you now have more choice, you could go there, have a coffee, not have a coffee, get the buzz if you want, not have the buzz.
Pat: It’s amazing.
John: The thing is, one of the things that happens if you get, particularly with coffee if it’s a quick buzz, probably the smell of it would get it, it’s associated anyway, particularly if you concentrate on remembering previous ones, you’ll be able to get some of the buzz without the drug actually.
Pat: It’s always just the thought of the smell, you can trigger of a kind of knock on effect that can result in you drinking a full cup of coffee.
John: One of the things that happens, particularly if it’s future orientated, once that’s triggered off, there’s an inevitable path, that ends up with a cup of coffee at the end of it, whereas what we’ve done now is gone back, we started it from six cups. It’s a very different starting point to go into something .
John: It’s making use of the experience base you carry with you, rather than, a lot of the addiction, habit type patterns are very present focused, you get caught up totally, future orientated to do things, mainly present, centred, in the moment, the need, then you start going into the future to meet the need. Very seldom do people go into the past, and check the memory of the need, that’s very different make use of the skills to achieve it some other way.
Pat: You’re using the resource itself, the main sort of thing that resource is only external, it’s actually…..
John: You can get into it. Quite often with practise, you can get the buzz anyway, without the drugs being used, you just change submodality stuff. Any drug state that you’ve ever had is re-creatable without the drug, because the memory in the brain’s still there. It’s utilised more in hypnosis, but you don’t need hypnosis for it, it means that the brain already knows how to make the changes, but it’s not set up to make them, it’s usually external environment to meet them, rather than internally, meet your needs, it’s quite different. Something to play around with.