The show is hosted by Colleen Dwyer, a senior Allen Carr’s Easyway therapist who is joined by Cris Hay and Chrissie Hynde
Featuring Cris Hay and Chrissie Hynde
Please click the video below to watch the podcast
This episode covers a range of topics such as overcoming debt, technology addiction, and dealing with a loved one’s gambling problem.
Also in this episode is Cris Hay, a long-standing Allen Carr therapist specializing in smoking, alcohol, and drug addiction. Cris has first hand experience with the power and effectiveness of the Allen Carr method, having used it to overcome his own struggles.
Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders credits Allen Carr’s method with helping her quit smoking and drinking . We’re grateful that she shared her experience during her interview on the BBC.
We’re here to address any addiction-related questions you may have. Even if your question doesn’t make it to a future episode, we will personally reply to every inquiry, offering detailed advice and guidance.
If you’d like your questions answered drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org with whatever you’d like to say or any questions that you have.
Hello and welcome to Allen Carr’s a podcast where we challenge your assumptions and beliefs about addictions. Here we present a revolutionary approach that doesn’t rely on willpower to quit. I’m Colleen Dwyer, a senior therapist at Allen Carr’s Easy Way, your podcast host and presenter of our online video programs. And joining me is also John Dicey global CEO of Allen Carr’s Easy Way, co-author of the Allen Carr Books and a senior therapist with over 25 years of experience in helping millions break free from addiction.
John brings a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to share with you. We’ll be addressing questions from listeners like you, covering a range of topics today, such as overcoming debt, technology, addiction, and dealing with a loved one’s gambling problem. If you have any questions or would like advice, please do drop us a line at pod at Allen Carr dot com.
That’s P.O.D. at Allen Carr dot com. We really value each message and will personally respond to provide detailed guidance. Also joining us today is Chris Hay, a longstanding animal therapist specialising in smoking, alcohol and drug addiction. Chris has firsthand experience with the power and effectiveness of the alcohol method. Having used it to overcome his own struggles. And today we have a special feature as well from Chrissy Hind of the Pretenders, who credits the Allen Carr method with helping her quit smoking and drinking.
And we’re very grateful that she shared her experience during her interview on the BBC. We’re here to address any addiction related questions you may have, even if your question doesn’t make it to a future episode, we will personally reply to every inquiry offering detailed advice and guidance. So don’t forget, please do get in touch on POD at Allen Carr dot com and be sure to visit Allen Carr dot com to explore the wide range of addictions and issues that Allen Carrâ€™s easyway has successfully addressed.
But for now you can sit back, relax and open your mind to a fresh perspective on addiction. Welcome to Allen Carr’s Easy Way podcast.
We’re back with the Addiction Central podcast. Welcome, John. And we’ve got three questions today which are very well. I’m interested to hear your responses to them so I get stuck straight in. So the first one is from Sarah. Yeah, she’s in the UK and she says, Hi, I’m really struggling with the cost of living.
I just seem to get poorer and poorer and I’m having a hard time accepting and adapting to this. My mortgage repayments are higher than ever and I feel like I’m slowly sinking, which I think a lot of people are feeling at the moment. So yes, your response to Sarah receives services difficult, isn’t it? Times are always hard, aren’t they, for some people, and ever more so I guess at the moment we got a debt programme to help people cope with this kind of thing, which seems quite a cold answer to Sarah’s question.
Money worries always caused by income versus expenditure. So if you sort of, you know, spending out more than you’re taking in, it causes a problem. In most cases, that’s the issue. So rather than it being sort of a fait accompli, you know, I don’t have much money. Therefore I I’m going to find it really hard to make ends meet.
There’s normally a problem in there when we put the debt programme together, that’s that’s what we looked at and the research we did and the sort of tests we did, you know, verify, verified that most people can get the balance with their income and expenditure. It sinks up if they know how. And so what we do with the debt program is look into what’s going on.
Do we want what we want? Because we’re told that’s what we won’t do. We buy what we buy because we’re told that’s what we want to buy, need to buy. There’s an element of that, whether it’s marketing, advertising or whatever it might be, just we’re surrounded by everywhere, you know, You see, bad enough when it was just sort of commercial TV, but now it’s literally everywhere you go, whether it’s on your phone or your laptop, driving around the streets or walking around bus stops, all advertising everywhere.
And there’s so many people that they see in advertising how it doesn’t work, but it really does. Unfortunately for companies, it’s not something new. You can you can turn on straight away, but there’s there’s a massive machinery out there that’s that spends its entire existence getting people to buy what they don’t need. And and invariably succeeding. So first off is looking at what’s going on, Where is the money you’re being you’re spending being spent?
What’s provoking it? Looking at how I guess we’ve been brainwashed into this purchasing existence, whether it’s by the banks or the credit card companies or the advertisers or the products or whatever. People are manipulated into thinking they can’t be happy unless they spending money. You know, the kind of the classic cases of I don’t mean to be patronising here, it’s all to say or anything like that.
And I’m not saying this is relevant to her case, but it’s just as an example really going out for a slap up lunch would cost about Â£40 a head or something, or Â£50 a head with your family or I might get a picnic that costs five or Â£10 or dollars. You know, you can get just as much joy.
Both of those and really looking into sort of which choices they make. So as I said, it wasn’t that relevant to Sarah at all. Where there’s some people out there probably can’t even afford a picnic. You know, times are very difficult, but it’s worth looking at why we think we get pleasure from spending money for spending money sake.
And this is whether it’s related to food purchases or clothes buying, you know, grocery shopping, anything really. There’s there’s a tendency for people to sort of, you know, what’s the saying? Spend, spend, spend, really. So getting behind what triggers that spending and why we think it makes us feel good and then kind of putting the brakes on on it.
So we’re not suggesting you have to. Yes, never spend any money again or whatever else. Always take the least expensive option, which actually sometimes can turn out to be the most expensive option. That’s the other thing, is really developing skills in decision making on buying. So once we’ve got the mindset right, what’s driving me to spend more than I’ve got coming in?
And that’s a debt spiral, isn’t it? Arming being terribly in debt three or four years ago. Once you’re in debt, it’s just a downward journey. The relentless feeling you can’t crawl your way out of it and everything you do, you just get deeper and deeper in the mire. And that’s where the programme switches from the mental process, getting the mental process right.
So you’re approaching, you know, tackling your debt, not with a feeling of sort of hopelessness and desperation or sadness or embarrassment, but you approach it with a kind of a whole new attitude with a spring in your step, because you understand this isn’t the the end of life as you know it in a gloomy way. It’s the end of life as you know it.
Getting away from that kind of horrible sort of process of being in debt and spending and junk spending and whatever into this brilliant, bright world of of happiness. Because there’s no there’s no burden like the burden of debt. You know, I think we’ve spoken in the past. We’ve all been in debt. We’ve all been in terrible detriment, terrible that does awful things to you.
I mean, I like drag me down, as I say, a good 30 or more years ago, but it does have you thinking the unthinkable, awful, awful situation. I’m picking people up from even even that sort of situation to thinking, okay, this is it. I’ve hit rock bottom. The only way is up. And actually seeing that as you get higher and higher, it isn’t the end of stuff.
This the end of anything apart from being miserable and gloomy and down in the dumps about it and saddled and burdened. So it’s just having that new approach that actually this is a new beginning. This is this is this is this is I’m coming back, you know, I’m getting back. Then the programme shifts, as I say, about saying to some really clear instructions, practical instructions on on what to do and how to do it.
There are so many other organisations out there that do this, you know, Citizens Advice bureaux, charities that help people kind of get to recover from from their debt. But we include some some some advice there as well. It evolves around this stuff loves the first some notes measure first of measuring your your spending and your income. Something that sounds obvious, but most people don’t do that, I think.
And it’s a case of sitting down, get a pen out looking at payslips or whatever the income is and what’s what’s going out, including debts or whatever else. And it’s quite simple, quite precise advice in the programme, creating a plan then to actually get the balance right between, you know, income and expenditure. It is possible to do that.
You can do that. You can never give up that. All kinds of things you can do about that reducing your spending is, is one thing, and that doesn’t mean reducing the level of pleasure or enjoyment you have in life. It does mean, you know, really being mindful of what you’re spending when you’re spending or whatever and making those decisions.
And and it’s not it’s not a whole look at it this way and do something less good is going to seem not so bad. It really is great. You can make a great deal virtually spending no money at all and come home before absolutely brilliant in your you know, she stresses you’re not always doing that. It’s not always about having no money.
It’s about getting the best value out of an occasion you possibly can on on the least amount of money. Sometimes, you know, just to recover. The plan also involves paying your debts, handling your debts in all sorts of ways you can do that and and increasing your income, which is something some people just don’t think about that very much.
But there are all kinds of ways of of doing that. So that’s that’s in a nutshell what we do kind of a snapshot of what we do. And I have made it sound to to boring. I’ve got some comments here. I don’t know, is it too boring for me to read these? Just a couple of people have used the programme and sort of their feedback.
I think that we’d be able to say better than I can. This is I don’t know where either of them are, but Paul’s pull some crudely in the pool. Watch the online video programme. Linda read the book and Paul says the method addresses the real reason behind most people failing falling. It’s that I was bankrupt for ten years after ten years of living in debt which spiralled out of control despite reading all the getting out of debt and how to get rich books out there, I was still struggling to control my spending.
This method is about dealing with your overspending, and this is the real focus. I almost didn’t go ahead with the programme, but thank goodness I did. If you were in debt, there’s a good chance it is down to your spending habits. No matter how much money you may be able to earn, that will always cause an issue. If you’re serious about getting out of debt and stopping the junk spending, use this method.
It really does help. So Paul talks there, touches there without using expression or not, but junk spending is like junk food. So junk food generally is nutritionally bankrupt. Junk spending is the same thing. You’re spending money, but you’re not really getting anything out out of it. Really. Linda’s comments a bit shorter just seemed like a gimmick to me at first.
On. I’m so glad I gave it a try. It’s really changed my life for the better. So simple yet so powerful and had a huge impact on me. So I kind of answered Sarah’s question in terms. It’s about sort of changing your attitude to being in that your attitude and approach to getting out of debt. And it is a massive change in life just to see what you’re spending, what is what, what money you’re spending is genuine producing genuine happiness and enjoyment.
That’s brilliant. Thank you very much, John. And I love it because it is Well, as with all the allocated programs, it’s all about improving your quality of life and enjoyment in your life. And some people think that cutting back on spending would mean cutting back on pleasure. But absolutely, that is not the case with this. So it’s about realising where the true pleasure comes from.
Yeah, when I was when I was in debt, I always thought, well, you know, money doesn’t make you happy. You know, that was a lie that sort of rich people said to make sure people without money didn’t want it. They want it as much by. But it is true, it is a cliche. It’s a lot easier to be happy if you’ve got a lot of money and if you’re not in that.
That’s true and that’s what’s really so important. If you’re struggling with debt, you get help. That’s just, you know, don’t don’t let it drag you down. So low in effect, so many aspects of your life. And I’ve definitely been there many times. And it’s debilitating. It’s horrible. I don’t think anyone really ever recovers from those feelings. But you look back on them and just feel great.
You’ve escaped robbing them. They’re going back to it, if that makes sense. So so really, Sarah Wright, again, was a brave thing for her to do, looking for help as well. So good luck, Sarah. And I think going about it in the right spirit, one of anticipation, one of positivity and looking forward, you know, dusting yourself off, picking yourself up, dust yourself off and away you go.
That’s the important message, I think. Brilliant. Thank you. Thanks, John. So the next one we’ve got is from Patrick in Houston, Texas, USA. And Patrick says, Am I addicted to my phone? Sometimes it feels like an extension of my arm, but does that mean I’m addicted to it or is it just I find it very useful? He says.
I use our lot for work and just day to day activities, but I must admit I find myself scrolling in the evenings just watching trash on Tik Tok or whatever, and it does seem to be taking over. And yet I still find that I’m doing it. Am I overthinking this? So yeah, I guess he’s saying is that does that qualify as an addiction?
Does that you know, is he just enjoying it a lot or is is there a problem there? Yeah, I think invariably it does. And it’s not a it’s not a straight forward addiction either. It’s another one. I was one zero, which is no, there’s no chemical being introduced to the body. There’s no sort of the same way with cocaine or smoking nicotine or whatever it might be.
But it’s certainly, you know, crosses to that that gap between, you know, behaviour issue and addiction. And when we put smartphone dumb phone program together, that was sort of a soccer mind. The who who needs help with that. And for some people it’s desperate. You know, some people are glued to social media every minute of the day almost.
You know, it comes as every aspect of their life with regard to social media. Other people like Patrick, I suspect, just feel they’re spending a bit too much time, a bit too often on their on their phones. And that is that’s that’s an issue for people as well and one that one that people need to need help with.
Certainly, given the the sort of the reviews of smartphone Dom phone on the way it was received. And what we try to do is is first off, I mean, I wrote the when I wrote the first chapter of smartphone Dom phone, I wanted it to be almost like a love letter to technology, quite deliberately so because what would you start a book about tech addiction, about smartphone addiction, you know, proclaiming how brilliant technology is.
But just because it is, it’s the most brilliant thing in the world. And we’re doing now, you know, stuff, you know, And it’s still a fun thing on my desk, you know, which would have been science fiction 20 years ago. It just it’s just extraordinary. So I think the reason I wrote that kind of love letter to technology was because it’s a smartphone use isn’t a problem inappropriate?
It’s not. Smartphone use is a problem. So that is deciding again between what which is appropriate, which isn’t appropriate, which is problematic. But like the debt thing, you know, what is appropriate spending, which is inappropriate spending in appropriate spending, is something that genuinely gives you pleasure. It’s something you genuinely need. Inappropriate spending is something you don’t really need.
It doesn’t really get any pleasure and is a quick hit kind of thing. So so for example, it is incredibly useful to have Uber or Lyft or whatever, a taxi service or on your phone is on a South coast. Think about this the other day. It’s probably I don’t know how long it’s been around, but 15 years ago he thought you could press a button on your phone and a minute later, a call to pick you up.
Know your name. You know you’re not to give me any money. It’s all on the counter. It’s just science fiction stuff. His goodness knows what it’s going to be like in another five or ten years, and that’s really, really useful being able to purchase groceries wi fi. And that’s really, really useful. So many maps, you know, it was in New York a few years ago, and I know New York pretty well.
And once you send a grid system, you kind of all right. Anyway, you can get back to where you need to go, but it comes down to the Chinatown. When you get that town, it all gets a bit sort of the roads get mixed up and whatever else, and my phone died. But I realise it’s the first time I’ve been in New York since 1983 where I didn’t have a phone, you know, that was going to show me the map and automatically if I’m away and it’s just a West that’s weird and had to be one of these kind of a candy store type place with all sorts of knickknacks they were selling or whatever
it literally is. I needed a map there. One was a tourist map. That comic, about $2 or something, got out and when was the last time I actually used a map or three, You know, it’s in scouts or something or to let me start thinking about it. I travelled all over Europe using a a map like a road atlas, and you never use it anymore.
So all of a sudden you’ve got this map. That’s what we got and that’s fine. We take it for granted. So, you know, maps, you know the maps find it. How long is it going to take you to get some of this these brilliant, brilliant, advanced years of of modern technology? Oh, one One problem can be if if you don’t if you’re not equipped to use a map, for example, you don’t know that the gear the the the the analogue wait to get home from somewhere that will be a problem for some people, I think particularly digital natives.
But but this is all acceptable usage, all appropriate usage stuff that makes our lives better work. And so much of work, whether it’s WhatsApp groups with work or mucks of teams or whatever it might be, and hobbies. Okay, it’s great to have your friends on a Facebook group. I’ve got all my my closest friends. We’re in a group on chit chat every now and again and whatever else it’s appropriate use.
You don’t need to be in one group. So you know, you don’t you don’t need to be in 50 groups. You don’t even need to be in 20 groups because you were in 20 groups. WhatsApp groups. The messages are never going to stop. You never going to have to keep up with them. And I think people kind of drift into that inappropriate use and that’s what becomes a problem.
But it’s not just messenger groups, it’s social media generally posting, commenting, tweeting, you know, and people caring. You know, what what if someone has never met? Would it matter that they write something you typed on Twitter and then retweeted it and whatever? Particularly, you know, if is it making the world a better place or not? Not really. It’s just people become obsessed with these things.
So what you pull out the the inappropriate use of tech, what you’re left with is a really, really good stuff. And it’s actually learning, again, practical techniques to discern which is appropriate, which is a and how to focus on one role or the other. And again, not with the feeling of, oh, can’t use my phone or can’t do this anymore, but actually this is freedom, this is genuine freedom.
And it was funny when I was writing the program, I just sort of question myself as well, my own use of technology and just on Saturday night I just sort of put a movie on with my daughter and whatever and just turned my phone off and left it in the in the hallway. And it was like a different experience not having seen millions of movies.
I love movies or whatever, but it had been years, years and years since I had watched a movie without some alert coming to fruits, my phone distracting me for a minute, then gone back to, Oh, can we rewind it or whatever it might happen? So that’s something I’ll stick with now, you know, quite often do that. It’s just just to be, you know, turn off the world and absorb yourself in something.
So it sounds that’s where Patrick Patrick is at times junk viewing as well, scrolling through TikTok or YouTube or whatever it might be. You know, you’re not taking in a curated selection of viewing. It’s just whatever the algorithm is telling you to watch. You get fed up with it and swap, get fed up with it, swipe, get that in itself creates incredible problems for people just in terms of patience and what have you.
So so what seems, you know, divided tech use into those two categories that which is beneficial to you and a good few and that which is the opposite. Then you can focus on getting free and developing all the social structures and tools, tools to do that. So don’t panic. Pat Patrick I think you’re going to be fine even if you are, you know, heavy smartphone user or gamer, you know, the smart phone, dumb dumb phone covers gaming as well.
Even if you feel, you know, completely obsessed by it, the you can get free and you just have to follow some simple instructions and I knew you’ll get that did answer that question. Craig Yeah, I think comprehensively I quite liked how you’ve differentiated between junk use and legitimate use. Addiction isn’t always about you have to stop. Absolutely in some of the cases is about establishing what is beneficial and useful and brings happiness and joy to your life and what is just junk.
I love tech a bit like you know what you’re saying at the start that there’s so much benefit from it. I like using it, but I don’t like it using me. So yeah, I’m I’m, I don’t have hordes of friends on Facebook or lots of groups, you know, even with a school WhatsApp groups, it’s it’s just an onslaught.
There’s so much going on. I just have to, you know, meet them and stuff. Sometimes it’s no disrespect to those people, but it’s just too much is just too much information and interruptions. Today it’s putting about 60, 70% get in your head. Right. And the rest is practical advice. Well, how to detach yourself from these groups. Got some great advice in there about doing that.
And I see you having to look at anyone who is that you want to stay in touch with you just let them know you want to stay in touch with them. But the groups got too much for you. So if I need to get in touch the details. Anybody else? Don’t worry about it. Don’t count in it. But I genuinely, genuinely don’t know.
Great stuff. Good luck, Patrick. Cool. And one more. We’ve got Cathy from England. And Cathy said that she quit smoking with Alex’s easy way five years ago and she’s very happy to be a non smoker. And she said that she saw that the program is used to treat gambling addiction and she’s very worried about her brother who spends a lot of money on slot machines.
He doesn’t think it’s a problem, but she’s saying that she thinks she can see that it is, But she wants to know, like how can she introduce him to the idea that there is he should be concerned about it and that he can and should address this issue. How do you how do you get in under there fight or flight response?
How do you broach these? Yeah, it’s you know, being approached about an addiction is like kryptonite to someone, isn’t it? Whether it’s a smoker or viper, as you say, or somebody with alcohol issues or whatever else it is. No. Well, we don’t want to know, guys. Deny, deny or whatever. It can cause all sorts of all sorts of options.
I do feel for her when you see a problem in in someone you care about, you love is ever so difficult. How how can you get through to them? Really, It’s very difficult to do that. Depends how close you are to them. Certainly calling them, you know, cornering them, sort of paint them into a corner isn’t a good idea.
You don’t want to get to the point where, you know, there’s so resistance. You talk about, you know, what the problem you think they have that they don’t want to see you anymore. And I think that’s something people try to balance out in these in these situations. But again, when we came to the Gabby program was really interesting because it had been on on the list of issues we needed to tackle for some time.
And I had a very, you know, close family friend who had a had an issue with her partner who was in, you know, constant, humungous amounts of debt. And we could go to a time they had a young family and of course, all sorts of issues, and they didn’t seem to be an explanation for the debts that were piling up.
Going back to the debt thing. Now, one of these relates to gambling, and it just transpired, you know, pretty quickly. They were you know, there was a gambling issue there and there there is nothing that would have this guy admit it or accept it. Nothing, nothing, nothing could end it. That was clearly it, unfortunately. I mean, you see, she she she she knew that.
And anyone saw the the the, the bills coming in and the payments going out or whatever, it’s difficult I would say is something not gambling particular somebody who’s got a family even if have got a family, you know if you’re in a relationship and your partners, you know why everything you’re earning and more than you, that’s the first thing to address.
That’s what it’s like to this test lady. I think it’s a brother’s and it’s so so I mean, presuming they’re not living in the same house, you know, he’s not going to get her into debt anyway. But but as you know, if you’ve got a partner who who who has gambling issue, you need to you need to take action straight away.
You know, you don’t you don’t want to you don’t want to be dragged down with him. I’m not saying sort of ditch them or anything like that is neat. That is why get some financial advice. Keep your money separate. You need to take whatever steps you need to do to make sure that that that if that person doesn’t accept they’ve got a gambling issue, that however they might harm themselves, they don’t harm or harm you.
That’s that’s that’s really important. I think a lot of people are reluctant to do that because it seems disloyal and dishonest. But if you’re certain that’s how the money is being spent and that person isn’t making noises about stopping it or not doing it anymore, then you have to isolate yourself financially from from them. There’s just no other way of doing it.
Now, the first thing to do, even if a person does acknowledge they have a gambling issue, the very first thing you do, then isolate yourself financially. I mean, that’s just really it’s fairness for them. It gives them complete independence. It takes the pressure off you. It takes the pressure off them. My people gamble. I get weighed down by debt because of it and weigh their families down because of it.
They feel awful. This, again, is a huge burden. You know, we think too early. What we about debt burden of debt is awful. The burden of debt created by, you know, gambling away, you know, tens of thousands of pounds or dollars is is huge. And when you you know, when your partner has to borrow money to pay their heating bills or the, you know, gifts at Christmas for the kids, because because if you spend it with bookmakers or whatever it might be, this is, you know, tragic cases.
So, you know, rule one, protect yourself. And it’s rather like the you know, the airlines like talk about the safety thing at the beginning. This if the oxygen cuts out these models have come down. You know, make sure we put yours on first before you put your child’s on, because then you can’t if you if you pass out, you can’t help them.
It’s very much like that. It’s the same. It’s that by by becoming independent by but by having that sort of firewall between your your finances and theirs, you’re helping them immensely. And then I think we’ve this lady’s brother, I’d say buy a copy of the book, put a handwritten note in and just said, I love you. I’m really worried about you, and I don’t think I’ve a problem if you do.
This is a really good book to read, nothing to lose if you don’t read it. My problem, if you do really, really happy and if you have a gift that they’re I think that’s about all all we can do. If you do something you’ve love generally, you won’t alienate the person you can’t is every time we see him are you doing this or, you know, finger pointing, that kind of thing.
Do you think do you think Cathy would benefit from reading the book before she gave it to him with a little note? Well, it might be useful. Yeah. I mean, I should actually say that if the family friend was about to sort of or, you know, talk to other people in a similar position. And I think there are there are a couple of organisations like that for families of gamblers I tried to get in touch with, I think it was Gamblers Anonymous who are short of brilliant stuff for this, particularly for a particular family friend, because I thought, well, if it’s a meeting I could, I could approach him and then offer to take him
along and anonymously. It was so difficult to get through to somebody. And time and again, not just like gamblers amongst us. So but he is just I just so hopeless. Once I spoke to somebody there that it was inconceivable to me that there was a way to help him there. And there’s not much help out there for gamblers.
The help that is there is pretty much funding by the gambling industry on a voluntary thing and it’s manipulated by them. And, you know, even the you know, they’ve created the app adverts, advertisements for gambling apps or for gambling websites or whatever it might be. They’ve actually turned their adverts into warnings about gambling. You know, when the funds stops stop, they say all the way through, You know, you have to take care when you gamble.
Don’t you know the actual warnings are as prominent as the product that’s on a page, which goes back to the old days of the tobacco industry. Industry. Do you remember when they first had to put the warnings on the packets? Yeah, exactly. So, yeah, that’s what I was going to say is, was I maybe look for a community somewhere nearby that that has people in a similar position somebody love if gambling they don’t know what to do.
Just knowing you’re not on your own is a really good thing. It’s it’s a very, very common common problem in what you think about like staging an intervention that would be a big no no. Well, that’s a whole new subject. And I mean, there are there’s books written about interventions. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. In a lot of instances, it could be the last time you see the person you think they really you know, you know, I think out of all the addictions or issues, I’d ever had out of a of a room full of my friends and family got together.
And so Sarah sort of said, Oh, I don’t know how I’m going to fight. I can’t how I’d have reacted then, but I don’t think I’d have been comfortable. So that’s a really that’s a tough one, really. That’s a great question. I think an individual intervention. So, you know, this is a hand in a book over the hammer messages, a very light touch, you know, a very light touch.
The person’s got a problem. Guess what? They know they’ve got a problem. So she won’t be telling me anything. She doesn’t know. So just a really light touch, one on one intervention, I think is the way to go. It’s about reading for and yeah, does you say, you know, but reading the book itself certainly give her a better insight into gambling as an issue.
I think it helps people have become so they feel so isolated because I think this situation is unique and I don’t know what to do or where to go. And the anger and frustration, maybe the same with assisted to a brother, but partner this. Why can’t I just bloody stop? You know, this might and it’s the that’s the thing with all addiction, they can stop, but they need help and they need the right kind of help.
And no matter how angry partner might get with someone, that is not going to help them get free. All we can do in most cases scenarios, is, you know, you put a firewall between you and them financially, make sure you’re going to be okay, ready, and then help and support them as much as you can cope. Wonderful. Cheers, John.
Until next time. And if anyone does have any questions, of course, you know, send. Send them through to us. I’m sorry. And that’s a wrap, isn’t it? I say I’ll let you do it. I’ll let you do it. My wife is pretty sure she doesn’t want to do this. Advice is free of charge. Will answer every question we receive with no exception to this.
Now part Alan Carr dot com. And now it’s time for our special clip Chris behind is no stranger to the wild and rebellious spirit of rock and roll as the driving force behind the Pretenders. She has mesmerised audiences with her fierce attitude, raw talent and unapologetic authenticity, and Chrissie has struggled with her own demons. In this clip, Chrissie talks about writing for her new album and her experience with quitting smoking and alcohol to addictions that seem deeply ingrained in the rock and roll lifestyle.
But as we hear it was Allen calls revolutionary approach that change Chrissie Hines preconceived notions and rewired her relationship with smoking and alcohol. So sit tight and get ready to be inspired by one of the most successful singer songwriters of all time. And you can’t calculate how long it takes to write a song because it might be in your head for a while.
So but it was fast, and this is one of the songs I we just want to talk about some of the words, actually. Let’s just pick up with I Hate Myself. I mean, it’s a brilliant song, but just tell us a little bit about the sort of thoughts behind it, I think. Well, I can’t speak for other people, but certainly there’s been mornings when I wake up and think, Oh, I hate myself and, you know, often for eating too much for, you know, drinking too, much for still smoking, which I’ve stopped at the Alan Carr method, who stopped me from drinking and smoking and he has one on not eating too much, but that’s not
really my problem. But you know, it’s just a common thing to say. Don’t you ever look in the mirror and think, Why did I say that? I hate myself? Yeah. So, I mean, it’s not. And then I go on stage and do it and people are going, Oh, we don’t hate you. And I’m like, No, don’t take it too literally.
You know, it’s not the words are really, you know, I kind of know they’re not upsetting, you know, But the song is kind of more optimistic than that, actually, isn’t it? It is. Well, it’s saying, you know, on Judgement Day, when I make my way down to, you know, other places, I hope I’m not judged too badly here.
It’s told I hate myself and now it is my great pleasure to welcome Chris Haigh to the show. Chris is a highly skilled and accomplished therapist specialising in smoking alcohol and drug addiction. With his extensive experience, he has guided and empowered thousands of individuals on their path to recovery. Today, Chris will delve into the fascinating topic of addictive personalities and also share his insights on some of the very impactful elements of the Alan Carr methodology.
And he will shed light on how you can break free from the grip of addiction, leading to a healthier and more fulfilling life. So without further ado, I’d like to give a warm welcome to Chris Haigh as he joins us on the show. Welcome, Chris. Hi, Kelly. Thank you. I’ve got a note here from John Deasy and he says this about you, Chris.
Chris Haigh is not only a highly accomplished Allen Carr’s is a therapist whose work has spanned three decades, but also he possesses a brilliant mind which has been brought to bear with dedication, finesse and potency to help apply the method to a wide variety of addictions and issues. Chris has played a significant part in making Alan Carr’s easy way the global phenomenon that it is today, so that’s a pretty cool introduction.
Well, that’s very nice to hear. Yes, that’s lovely. So I guess why don’t we dive straight in? Sure. Well, I stopped smoking my last cigarette was, I think, about 5:40 p.m. on the 16th of August, 1993. And I heard practically taking a degree in Alan’s book. And it was all making sense to me. You know, I was telling all my friends how great it was with a cigarette on the go by God.
Yeah, I thought, I better get along to a session. I think I was probably one of the one of the last people lucky enough to have seen Alan himself. And it just absolutely clear to him there was just no desire to smoke from there on in. And I’ve never looked back since. And then. And then what made you want to become a therapist to get more involved?
Well, I, I had already quit a number of other substances and this made so much sense to me. And I started to think, why shouldn’t it also apply to all these other things? So I just became very interested in this. And this was the start of an ongoing conversation with fascinating conversation with Alan, became very interested in this area, applied to alcohol and other drugs and so on.
And yes, so I got involved developing the method for alcohol and other drugs and yeah, the rest is history, as I say. What was your history then with alcohol and how did you quit that? I basically walked into a meeting, a 12 step meeting. It was the 10th of November 1995. All these dates have firmly etched on my mind, and I just knew that I had a very serious problem with booze.
The feeling was that, you know, I was going to I was going to go insane and die if I kept drinking, you know, And I walked into this meeting, I had, as I said in retrospect, a very sort of Alan Carr insight in there, which was, you know, oh, boy. Chris like youth thought that you that you drank and drugs cause you have problems.
No, it’s the other way around. You’ve got problems because you drink and drug and that did it. I was very, very lucky. I never drank or drugged again, but I became very dependent on, on the fellowships and the insight for me when I, when I stopped smoking with Alan is, you know, why shouldn’t all this stuff apply to everything else?
Can I just not be a drinker anymore? Do I need to define myself in those terms any longer, or am I just someone who just doesn’t drink or drug? You know, much like a vegetarian doesn’t eat meat? You know, a vegetarian doesn’t need to attend meetings for the rest of their life just to remain one. They just get on with the business of not eating meat.
So that was the kind of insight that I had, if you like. Yeah, I didn’t have much of an insight into AA and the 12 step fellowship and stuff, but what what’s the school with that? You were to go every week. Are you you’re encouraged to go an awful lot so I would say every day, you know or five times a week.
And I think for me the crux of it is this idea that you could be born an alcoholic or born already an addict, just sort of waiting to happen, as it were, and that you need to attend meetings to sort of, as it were, almost shaped your own nature. It’s your nature to drink or drug. And you know, by attending these meetings, you can, as it were, cheat your nature.
Now, what I saw with nicotine was that, you know, it was the drug that was addictive, not my personality. Of course, some people take much more of the drug than others. And but yeah, yes, No, I saw that, you know, I didn’t need ongoing I didn’t need ongoing smoking sessions. I saw that, you know, Alan essentially explained to me that nicotine was a con trick and that once I’d seen through that con trick, I couldn’t be susceptible to it again.
And it just occurred to me that, well, I suppose first that that was nothing to do with my nature, that anyone can fall for that and anyone can see through it. So it wasn’t really anything to do with having an addictive personality. And I like the idea that I was born a smoker before I ever smoked would seem absurd.
So I just basically started to think, why shouldn’t the same principles apply to any and all other drugs? So at the time Ireland was only doing the smoking seminars and the weight seminars. And then and then you helped to develop the application of the method to alcohol and then other drugs as well. Did you? I did, yes. Initially the alcohol and I helped Alan with the alcohol books and indeed, as you say, developing them the the methods, the sessions.
Yes. And I absolutely loved it. It was a very, very happy period of my life interacting with Alan with that and, you know, trying trying out different approaches and and coming up with a with a method that enables people just to leave alcohol behind or to leave drugs behind and move on with their lives. I’m is it was it just a case really, of taking the existing smoking kind of content and basically just replacing the word smoking with alcohol?
No, no, no. It wasn’t. As I say, it’s one of the central sort of Allen Carr analogies that almost sums up the whole allusion about drugs in general. Is this cream analogy, the idea of an ointment that appears to relieve a very rash that it creates. And it seems to me that, you know, that works very well for smoking.
If you see the rash as the craving desire for a cigarette and all the withdrawal, I always felt with with all the drugs that that that is true. And there’s this other dimension which is that the drug seems to be helping you, if you like, almost in a psychological area where it’s actually causing the problem. So whether that is the heroin blocking out the misery that it creates or, you know, the exhaust to waiter who may be, he sees that the stimulant effect of the cocaine is getting him through a demanding shift.
But actually, in the long run, it’ll be, you know, regular doses of a toxic substance taken over the years that he’s actually exhausting. And that is turning a already demanding job into into an utterly exhausting one. So that that was kind of the insight for me that in every way, by the time someone’s taken enough of a drug to end up wanting to quit it, the drug is always its only ever giving in an area in which it’s already taken away.
Whether we can see that or not is another matter. What we can see that it becomes just a lot easier to get free of that drug. And what is can you explain the ointment analogy? What is the ointment analogy? So the ointment analogy is you is you’ve got a spot. I say try this cream, try this. I but it seems to work.
It seems to get rid of the spot and the following day you’ve got a rash beginning to spread across your face. I say keep the rest of my tube. It should work. It seems to do so by the third day. The rapture spreading and spreading to your body. Now I can see a really lucrative way of making money out of you here.
So I start charging you for my cream. You willingly pay up. And it does the trick. You discover that the cream is also a poison. Well, that doesn’t remove the desire to take the cream. It creates an intense desire to be rid of the problem. But it doesn’t actually solve the problem because you still know the cream. Say anything that will relieve your rash until you discover the cream is actually creating.
The rash never solved the problem, never even took away the original spot, just drove it beneath the surface. So every every dose of the cream doing the exact opposite to what it appears to be killing. That’s a cool analogy, that is. Yeah. What is the the initial spot representing a problem you have in your life when you go to a drug to attempt to solve that problem?
And as we all know, that’s a sort of, you know, that’s a journey where the the cure becomes worse than the disease, if you like. What did you think alcohol was doing for you or the other drugs were doing for you when you first started taking them? Well, I was a No. One. Does anyone have a very easy childhood?
I’m not sure. I was a somewhat troubled individual, and I think initially they give some sort of illusory escape. And then in quite a short period of time, I think, you know, you end up drinking and dragging on the very problems that drink or drugs are either creating or at least exacerbating. The trouble is we can’t always say that.
That’s why we need that’s why people need to take to talk to people. I mean, yeah, what are the people like? They usually come along to your seminars, you know, they are as varied as the human race. I would say one thing that I, I don’t necessarily agree with about the 12 step approach is that there’s a sort of a nightly addictive personality.
I think that that some people are more addictive than others. But I don’t think there’s any such thing as a completely non addictive personality. So I would yeah, you know, anyone who takes heroin can get hooked on it, right? Inherent is an addictive substance. So I don’t think there’s really a tie. The only thing I would say is that contrary to the popular belief, so often addicts are very intelligent, extremely capable people with a lot of drive.
There’s a line in one of the Trainspotting movies where Renton, the protagonist, says, you know, people think this is adults, like people, you know, people think this is easy. Being an addict is not. It’s like a full time business. And of course, one or the analogy to be used is that your addiction isn’t really you in in contrast to what, a 12 step fellowship, so that it isn’t an integral part of you.
It’s like a monster that gets hold of you but is actually a freeloader of the real you is actually an imposter. But it uses your brain and it uses your drive. So if you’ve got a lot of drive and a lot of, you know, brain power, you can either let that work against you and you can deploy the same kind of, you know, native cunning and so on, so forth in seeing through the scam the trick and getting free of it.
So I guess if you’re going to if you’re going to be an addict, big Bright might not exactly serve you well at first, but you can use those resources for good or ill. And, you know, maybe in the long term you can use your smarts to get free of addiction just as you kind of you know, it might have been the thing that accelerated you down the down the track faster than the next guy in the first place.
Makes sense. Yeah. And do you see people like from all over the world because you do 1 to 1 like online seminars, don’t you, with people taking certain drugs. Yes. 1 to 1. People from all over the world, online, in-person group sessions, 1 to 1. What the kind of drugs that people are seeking help with at the moment, Cocaine, a lot of cocaine.
There seems to be a bit of a not quite a pandemic, but certainly an epidemic of cocaine use at the moment. Cannabis, heroin, quite a lot of people I’m seeing where they will start using a drug for kind of bona fide medical reasons. And then it becomes, you know, so-called recreational or it becomes, you know, the drug has outlived its medical usefulness and is, you know, still hanging around.
So, you know, we help people with that. And fentanyl and God knows. Well, yes, yes. So no, we see I see quite a lot of people for that sort of thing. Absolutely. Codeine. It’s outrageous that you can buy codeine over a counter in England, you know, whereas there are some countries where if you even prescribe it as a doctor, you can be struck off.
It seems incredible is opiate is available over the counter in boots, but it does come with a warning. Right. Three days you said you might become addicted. Comes with a warning, but that’s never stopped me. Encouraged you if nothing else. Oh, yeah. That’s all part of the appeal. Yes. So if if you don’t mind me being personal and you don’t have to answer this.
But what drugs then did you take? Did you take all of those kinds of drugs? To be honest, the one that was the worse for me was the legal one on alcohol. I mean, that absolutely brought me to my knees. But yeah, I don’t know. I kind of feel a bit like Marlon Brando, the wild one. You know what?
What are you rebelling against? And he says, What do you got? You know, I was like, What are your dogs? I pretty much, well, I did take anything that was ever offered to me. I was, you know, that kind of guy, I guess. Oh, people quite incredulous when they come along to you to begin with, that the idea that they can be completely free of this drug after just doing one sometimes.
But so many of them have friends who have already experienced that. So the vast majority of people, we say, are, you know, coming on the recommendation of someone who’s experience shots, that they’re sometimes a little incredulous. I think the idea that you can do that in just a few hours, it kind of goes against culture, the way we think about drugs in this society.
But I would say, you know, what is the main to quitting a drug in a few hours? The belief that it can’t be done in a few hours, Why shouldn’t it be? You know, if you become a vegetarian, you do it in a moment. You know, a there’s a phrase I quite like. Recovery is a an event, not a process.
So, you know, it’s if you’re going to stuff out a cigarette, how long does it take to do that? Few seconds. People might think, well, you know, cigarettes. You know, cigarettes are different from me. Vegetarianism, you know, But ultimately, whether it’s a drug or not, if you have a change mindset about that thing, why shouldn’t it just take a couple of hours?
How long does it take to see through any other scam? It’s not really a function of time, you know, It’s a function of some people, of course, that smoke. You know, the world of nicotine is famous for some people haven’t had a smoked smoked a cigarette in 30 years. And it’s still saying, well, I could kill for one hour after every meal.
And other people just have a an epiphany and, you know, it’s over and done with for good like it was for. Yeah, I suppose the like the solutions for those drugs is usually like a rehab for a prolonged period of time or this AA 12 step thing where you say, you know, you have to keep going back regularly, make your feet melt for the rest of your life.
Right. And that’s why I suppose this is why it just takes one seminar one day and then you’re completely free. That really does fly in the face of the established understanding of addiction. So it’s it’s heartening to know that that’s not a big resistance that you get from clients that come along. What would you say is a big resistance?
That or one of the big resistances? Yeah, well, I would say essentially the cream and the rash gets to the nub of it to a cream user because the rash is there when they’re not using the ointment, it’s so looks like the ointment helps, you know, just because of the timing of it. So it’s, you know, if if and I always kind of see like in that analogy, the rash would be both the withdrawal and the craving and the mess your life might be in as a result of the drugs.
You know, that’s how you get your bit of sort of, you know, like you a little bit of tawdry escapism when you take the drugs, but it’s giving you escape from the very reality that it’s poisoning. So that literally the timing of it, the fact that it works that way around what Allan used to call the sort of back to front ness of addiction, the fact that, yeah, I’m gagging for a cigarette, what, I’m not smoking a lot.
And then you see so it looks so like it looks so like a pleasure, but ultimately that’s illusory. You wouldn’t put on tight shoes just to make it nice when you take them off. And I think with I think with mind altering drugs, this extra dimension that the drug the drug does have a mind altering effect. What people find hard to see is that that effect looks precious precisely because the drug has done the opposite to them in the long run.
So they exhausted weight. He sees that coke is getting improved a long night. You know, he doesn’t see it as causing his outer exhaustion in the first place. He sees his job is doing that well. He’s got it the wrong way round or although and his job might be doing that little bit, right? Yeah. No, sure. Yeah, absolutely.
So. So his job might be almost like a spa that the cream turns into a rash. He’s he’s much better off having a smoothie and getting a sleep and, you know, resting up quite often, like people are quite drinking and drugging and stuff with sun times and celebration and enjoyment. And I wonder whether they’re fearful that when they quit, that somehow life is going to be duller and a bit less, less of a sense of abandonment when they go out with their mates and they are fearful of that.
And, you know, to me a lot of that is a bit like like let’s say a footballer has played a really good game when she’s wearing some socks. She thinks it’s the sort. So it’s not obviously she’s a good footballer, it’s a bit like that that we tend to take these drugs in very enjoyable occasions. So it’s, you know, we often think of the drugs as like the cherry on the cake there.
But I would say it’s more that if you believe you can have a good time without a drink, you can, but not because the drink is this, you know, the socks on. Actually magic. It’s like so if she we could say this is quite a nice analogy for what the Alan Carr method does. It’s not just throwing away the socks, it’s throwing away your magical thinking about the socks along with assaults.
Then, you know, I’ve had a very social I’ve had a drug for 32 years now. I haven’t drunk alcohol for 32 years now. I’ve had a great social life. It’s whether you enjoy yourself without the drug is like 0% anything to do with the actual drug and 100% to do with with your thinking about it. I it reminds me of a time a story told a while back about how you went out with your friends from AA.
Was it? And then you went to a bar or you went to A Yeah, no, it was it was actually on the occasion, I think I was three years sober. No, it was must be two years sober. And we were all celebrating that we were in this bar pizzeria actually, and I think we were probably all behaving very badly.
I mean probably not a single person at that table had had a drink and they thought that we were out of it on something else. And they they tried to put a few extra sort of items on the bill. But of course, we were compos mentis, so we spotted it. Then they apologised vigorously and we all got a free dessert out of it.
So that was nice. It’s kind of a nice example of how deep the sort of brainwashing in our culture goes. Yeah, people who were being silly and having a laugh and have a good time, they like they can’t be doing that just straight, you know, without a drug kicking around the system somewhat. Yeah. And yet we put up, we put up with all sorts from kids.
You see kids walking down the street with you know, their, their bags on their heads or, you know, doing a little dance. And and that’s permissible, but not as an adult unless you’ve got some drug in you. Well, I was just going to say it’s fascinating how, you know, there have been so many experiments in which if you give someone a drink, for example, that’s mopped up to look and smell and taste like alcohol, they will horse around like that and be a bit silly.
And, you know, so that it’s, you know, like like that more than anything points to the fact that ultimately the sort of magic, you know, that that they’re having, you know that alcohol like if you think of it as a sort of ticket to enjoyment but actually you can have, you know, get rid of all the myths and you can have a damn good time without.
Yeah, a better time even. And you remember it, which is even even better. Yeah. So and so in your seminars and stuff. Chris, do you have, is there any particular moment where people kind of you see that their, their thinking is shifting or I wonder about the bit? Eugene The alcohol seminar where you put on the goggles and stuff, I wonder if that’s weirdly an eye opener for people.
Well, yes, absolutely it can be. And the cream analogy, you know, the cream analogy was it did it for me with the smoking and sometimes this picture plant analogy that we we use of, you know, people are in a sort of a pit, a bit like a carnivorous plant. And, you know, at some point, you know, it’s not so much that the flies eating the naturally the plant at some point the plant’s eating the fly and it’s kind of indeterminate where that might be.
You know, that’s a big one for people. And it’s it’s kind of fascinating. Absolutely. Sometimes you see the light go on in someone’s eyes and other times, you know, people just sit there, they take it, and then you get a lovely postcard or something from them saying, you know, I haven’t had a drink for a year or five years or whatever it might be.
So yes, it’s yeah, sometimes I think our thinking changes and then we stop and sometimes we get enough of a shift in our thinking to stop and then our thinking really changes. But those moments where where people see the light are worth their weight in gold here. Absolutely. And what do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t become an Alan Carr therapist?
Oh, golly. Well, I was sort of I was sort of on the road to have an academic career, really, you know, working in English literature. But I’m this is a much more interesting subject. Much as I love literature, this is a much more interesting subject. Let’s take a bit of acting as well. But and what if you hadn’t ever come across the Alan Carr book on smoking?
What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t discovered that? I’d probably be pushing up daisies, I should think. Really? Yeah. I mean, I was such a chain smoker, you know, I was a, you know, one of the appeals for me of Roll-Ups, as you did. You didn’t know how many you smoked, but, you know, I was getting through 40 or 50 probably some days more, you know, as I guess in a day, you know, and I suppose and I’d still be religiously attending 12 step meetings, you know, I guess if I was if I still managed to be above ground, which is a big if and meetings, you know, in that way.
They were great. They were lovely people. People say, listen to the message, not the messenger. I think in many ways I of got clean and sober more despite the message, you know, because of the lovely messages. You know, it was a bit of human warmth and contact but but this is a message made a lot more sense to me.
Yeah. For me, what we were saying before, how this could be described as unthinkable is easy way to quit AA. I think it hinges on, you know, whether or not you really buy the idea that there’s such a thing as an innately addictive personality as opposed to a non addictive one, I would buy the idea that there are definitely more addictive personalities and less addictive personalities, but I don’t buy the idea.
I don’t really buy the idea that there’s any thing as a non addictive personality. Yeah. So I think if you if you think this problem is in you as an inescapable thing, it makes sense to go to an awful lot of meetings. If you don’t it doesn’t want sides read Alan’s book and attended the seminar and stuff. What I understood about the addictive personality thing is that there are maybe like personality types, like where the individual is quite a determined and intelligent, and you know, forthright, stubborn kind of character.
And because of those traits, they might fall harder and faster into the trap. But so say there is a good trait. It’s just that they’re kind of that driven you up when it comes to addiction, perhaps. So in a sense, an addictive personality actually is a compliment rather than a disparaging kind of, Oh, you’re a weak individual. I think there’s a lot of truth in what Alan used to say.
And, you know, smart, bright, dynamic people tend to slide faster down the pitcher path because if you’re smart, you’ll have a smart monster. It looks it looks more like a matter of how you deploy those resources, you know, that you could use it to go further and further into the picture plant, or you can use those resources to get free, you know.
So I definitely think that there is such a thing as a more addictive personality. But but in contrast to a less addictive personality, not in contrast to a known addictive personality, the latter seems to be just nonsense. You know, I’d love to be a non addictive personality. I’ve never met one today. And what about like if people come off alcohol and stuff?
Because I’ve heard that if people come, it’s said in some places there people come off quickly that they might it might actually really damage them or kill them even I did nearly three years and I and as a loyal member and I did five or six meetings a week, so heaven knows how many ex drinkers I met in that time.
But, you know, 20 or 30 people in your average meeting and literally all the people who mentioned a withdrawal syndrome involve any discomfort. I could count on the fingers at one hand. So I’m not saying it never exists, but it’s so rare and the thing is, if you go to your doctor, they can give you something that completely negates it.
So it’s just a complete red herring as far as quitting is concerned in my book. So it’s not a reason to taper off. Well, tapering off doesn’t work, does it? For the simple reason that alcohol reduces self-control, including self-control about alcohol, Right. I mean, we’ve all tried tapering off. If we could all do that, we wouldn’t be solving it, try to solve the problem in the first place.
Don, I just remember a joke in The New Yorker where there’s a bloke at a restaurant leaning across holding a lady’s hand and he’s saying, Susan, I think it might just be the wine talking, but I think I want to order more wine. That’s it. That that’s why it’s impossible to control these things. You know, the drug reduces self-control, including self-control about the drug.
How can you win with a substance like that? But you don’t need fight it. You can get out of the ring, you know. And do you ever crave alcohol or any of the other drugs? Do you ever miss them? Never. No. Not even a little bit. Never? No, Not even a little bit, really. I mean, it’s like saying, can you go back to believing in the cream again?
For me, it would be like saying, you know, if I was a medieval sailor, I believe the world was flat. Someone takes me out in a spaceship. So I can see that it’s round. It’s like, could I go back to believing in a flat earth? Not in a million years. I think when you really get how drugs work, you don’t crave.
And that’s why I’d say there’s no such thing as a hopeless case. Because by definition, you know, there’s there can be such thing as a hopeless case. It’s like, is there such a thing as a medieval sailor who can’t see the world as round? No, because it is round. If what we’re saying is something that is already true about drugs, it’s always out there to be seen.
So there can be no such thing as someone who can’t get it. Yeah, because that can be a worry for a lot of people that they think, Oh my God, Well, I’ll sign up for this seminar or I’ll read this book and I’ll be the exception to the rule I’ll be the one person who can’t get it. But you don’t believe that there’s any such.
I’ve had people feel they were hopeless case. But there can be no such thing as far as I see it. Because if what we’re saying is true about nicotine and alcohol and these other drugs, then if something is true, it’s always out to be seen if the world is really flat. I’m sorry. If the world is really round, it’s flat.
You Know it. It it can always it can always the truth can always be discovered if it’s out there to be discovered. So there’s no such thing as a hopeless case, if that’s true, too. This is true. It’s true whether or not I’ve seen yet. So it’s not that it can’t be seen. And watch it for you is one of the really interesting things about addiction.
I remember hearing this quote, Human beings can think and thought and perceive it as real. So it’s the degree to which we make up our experience of the world. We create our experience of the world, and then that feels real. So, for example, if I feel I’m helpless in the face of drugs, that’s the experience I will have.
And have the felt experience of that. And it looks so real, but it’s not. It’s like a the tribe member who like the tribe who, if you draw a white circle around them, they think they can’t leave it. They’re capable of thinking about thought and experiencing it is real, but it’s never real. So it’s that capacity to to create a perceive world and then live in it as if it was true.
And I guess that’s why we need people to point out why we’re doing that. And isn’t it remarkable how people can change their beliefs, these life long held beliefs in such a short period of time? Yes, in a way, the interesting question is how is not how we can sort of make someone see that they don’t need to poison themselves.
It’s like the magic is how they can think that they do. Because with nicotine and alcohol, we there’s very obvious marketing at play and but what about these other drugs like cocaine, where there’s no you don’t see the same kind of adverts and stuff that promoting cocaine. So where does the brainwashing come into that? Well, I think there’s very sort of generic generic brainwashing.
You know, the what is the brainwashing that is very hard to quit drugs, that it takes an awful long time, that you’ll probably have repeated attempts and fail a few times. Either these are intrinsic truths or that self-fulfilling prophecies. But, you know, they played out so much in our society that they it seems to me they look like the former, while actually they’re the latter.
So other addicts, as well. I mean, if someone’s if we know someone who’s, you know, sold their soul to the devil for drugs, it looks like these things have tremendous power over people. But possibly they’ve just been brainwashed in the same way by someone else to believe that the drugs have immense power. And I suppose in films as well, maybe that it’s kind of presented as a glamorous, kind of cool thing.
And from the medical establishment, how they treat addictions, the fact that they keep coming up with Yes, yes. And new gimmicks and that Absolutely. All of which is predicated on the idea that it must be hard to get off almost every approach to smoking. Other than starts off by saying it’s very, very hard to stop smoking. But if you if you persevere, you’ll do it.
Yes, absolutely. And as Alan used to say, you know, the doctors, they have much better idea than we have about what these things these was physically. But in my experience, they don’t have much, if any, understanding of the psychology of addiction. And what do you think is the future for addictions? What do you how do you think things are going to play out?
I think they’re going in the right direction. You know, when I started doing the sessions, alcohol sessions 20 something years ago, it was 90% of the adult population who drink alcohol. Now it’s more like 85 less people smoke. Kids nowadays seem be much more aware of their physique and the value of their own bodies and the fact that, yeah, like when I quit drinking, it was almost something I quit in secret.
I didn’t want to shout it from the rooftops. Whereas nowadays you’ve got like one, you know, bare and dry. January, stuff like that. Whereas says much more mainstream kind of thing to do. So yeah. So you’re optimistic about the future? Very optimistic, yeah, very optimistic. I mean, it’s something I think as we as we speak. And what would you say to someone who is thinking about doing a drug seminar but was maybe worried not just about the prospect of never taking the drug again and what life would look like as a non addict, but also maybe who is worried about I don’t know that their family finding out or their employers finding out or like
who is nervous about addressing it because it kind of would make the problem real. Do you know? Yeah, well, I think quitting is quitting for the first year. You quitting is going to make, you know, people less likely to find out about me having a drug problem if I quit. You know, in my experience, every fear that we have regarding quitting turns out to be illusory.
But in the short term, you know, things might look a little more scary before they get a whole lot less scary. I would have thought, particularly if you’re facing up to having a problem. I mean, that’s that’s kind of 90% of the battle just saying, yes, I’ve got a problem. I want to look at that. That would be a classic example of an illusory fear, looking very real.
And when people come along to the seminars for drugs and not group seminars, are they for the drugs, but in the alcohol seminars, do they have to like kind of stand up and say, Oh, you know, hi, I’m and I’m an addict, or do that, do any of that? No, they don’t. They don’t they don’t have to say anything if they don’t want to.
You know, none that business. And because of a key aspect of our philosophy is that you are defined by the drug that you’re not you know, you’re not it’s not a case of my name is Fred, and I’m a cocaine addict. Five years since you’ve used cocaine, you know, because it’s not like that. You’re just you’re just Fred.
No, there’s no need to call yourself anything or describe yourself as an addict or as a recovering alcoholic or anything like that, or tougher. All the seminars are usually quite animated or are they usually quite pretty animated? I mean, we have a good laugh, you know, And, you know, bit of humour can be often a very, very helpful way of seeing the truth about something.
So I know there are a lot of fun. And what, what kind of feedback do you get? Very good feedback. You know, we get lovely letters and postcards from people saying, you know, it’s been a year, it’s been five years. Sometimes it’s been ten or 15, you know, one bloke who sends me a card every single year on the anniversary of of getting free of cocaine, which is great.
Yeah, we we see a lot of people who who are also have tried other methods where, you know, they feel vulnerable or that they need ongoing therapy and, you know, they’re very pleased just to be to not just be sober and clean, but but without the need for any further therapy. That really is very freeing. Is there anything, Chris, that you wanted to talk about, anything that you think would be quite an interesting point to make?
Or I think the most interesting point is, you know, it’s like that line human beings can think any thought an experience is real. So I would say that all the ideas that look like they hook you, Oh, I’m helpless. I can’t get off this or the drug is so precious. What if all of those were examples of just your thinking, looking real?
Well, we can help you to question your thinking so that it doesn’t look so real anymore. So that, yes, more than anything, there is no such thing as a hopeless if if what we say is true, it’s going to always be true. And so the truth is always out there to be seen. So I would say if anyone is thinking of coming along, you have you know, you have nothing to fear, nothing to lose, everything to gain.
I wouldn’t swap my three decades of freedom from drugs, you know, for all the tea in China. You know, what a fantastic episode. We appreciate all of your questions. And we were thrilled to have Chris and John as our guest today alongside Chrissie Hind. If you enjoy this podcast as much as we did, please help us to get the message out there by liking subscribing and rating us.
And don’t go anywhere because we have some amazing episodes coming up saying Keep listening and continue embracing your newfound understanding of addiction.