Mailbag: Full Breath / Giving Up Alcohol

Atherton recently wrote to me asking the following questions:

Hey what’s up Edd!

I wanted to drop a line real quick regarding 2 things:

1) Have you ever heard of or read this book? Breatheology by Stig Avall Severinsen

I read it recently and was very impressed by it. Particularly the part where a guy mentions how you could save a lot of time trying to attain enlightenment by just holding your breath for a good amount of time while very deep underwater (with a guide). I’m not doing it justice in that description, but very interesting stuff nonetheless.

I haven’t read that book. However I use the principle of the “full breath” and I practise it daily as described here:

Abdominal tightness is a really serious issue, especially pertaining to emotions and how they are experienced, especially in anticipation of an event. A lot of our stress is held in the abdomen. In Reichian therapy this is known as emotional armouring.

How I fixed it was to lie down in the Alexander Technique position (knees up, head raised). I use a pillow under my head, and a stack of pillows under my knees so I can relax everything. Then I use the principle of the “full breath” which occurs in many practices, including Reichian therapy. How I do it is I try to breathe using my whole rib cage. I do it very slowly and really try to relax everything. With the full breath, breathing feels very “transparent”. A bliss state is almost always activated.

If you experience tremors from this, go with them. That’s the muscles unlocking themselves.

The full breath is extremely important for posture, too.

This has replaced my sitting meditation as it is a breath-focused meditation anyway.

2) I posted something about this on new masf forum a little while back, which I’m not sure if you’re still active on or not (I very rarely am), but it was about, for lack of a better term, seduction without alcohol. I’ve been trying, with varying degrees of success to quit drinking for good, and one of my biggest concerns was how it would impact my opportunities with women, considering the massive role it generally plays in that area. I was interested on your thoughts on how much of a handicap (or maybe a benefit?) it is to be a non-drinker with women, particularly one with the stigma of being a reformed alcoholic, and what you think a good strategy would be to tackle this, both internally and in action. I realize that’s a loaded topic, but figured I’d throw it out there if you have been missing the activity on the forum 😉

Hope all is well,

I don’t use any forums any more, and even the PPM forum is shut down now.

I use alcohol pretty much always while socializing, so I cannot really comment on the process of giving it up. However, when I have given things up in the past it has been as a result of incontrovertible evidence that that substance or habit is detrimental to my life. At that point I experience a “Well, we have no choice” mindset which results in a permanent strategy change. Examples are tramadol but also specifically ways I relate to women. E.g. I would never be monogamous again because I would never make an agreement one or both parties is not likely to keep. I follow Blackdragon as my women mentor now, and that came from seeing clearly my strategies and the effects they have. It takes a lot of conscious awareness and self-honesty. So I recommend you apply that idea to alcohol — if it’s not for you, initiate that strategy change.

Regarding the “stigma”, I can definitely help you with that: it’s entirely in your head. If anyone asks why you’re not drinking, just be honest. Everyone likes an underdog who bounces back. It shows you’re in control of yourself and your life. Women will find that attractive. If you’re with people who are uncomfortable being around someone who’s not drinking, find new people. But I highly doubt it will be a real issue for them. The issue would be with you, and so long as you stay true to yourself it won’t be an issue.

If you’re only comfortable meeting women in environments where you feel you need to be drunk, get new environments. I also recommend visualizing your life and meeting new girls without alcohol daily. Visualize it every night. Make it a completely positive visualization. You are confident, fun, and in control, and are having a great time with women. I cannot stress the importance of visualization enough. It is your direct gateway to the unconscious. Start noticing when your visualizations come true, and your belief in it will grow, making it more powerful each time. I have had insanely accurate visualizations come true sometimes within minutes. E.g. I visualized a girl texting me who I had not seen in three years, and she texted me thirty minutes later. Also, I noticed that all my fears come true, as I would visualize them on autopilot (non-consciously — think of all the distracting, fearful thoughts you have, and their tendency to come true). Once I realized this I began only visualizing good things. I’m still working on it. It takes a long time to realize you are thinking certain thoughts, making certain negative visualizations, and to stop them and change them to something better.

Visualize your positive alcohol-free life daily. Make time for it every night. In bed before sleep is the perfect time! Also — smile while you visualize! Call up the emotions you would want to experience when the time actually arrives. It may feel weird at first, like you’re lying to yourself, but that is just a habit of doubt which will be overcome by simply returning to the target emotion and having faith in the process.

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10 Responses

  1. Pat says:

    holy shit dude just tried that Alexander thing, and felt this weird tingly feeling throughout my body, though mainly in the abdomen and in my forearms/hands. Stronger relaxation feeling than even post TREs. Thank you.

  2. Illuminatus says:

    Awesome 🙂

    As you unlock, soften and stretch all the muscles in the abdomen including the ones in between the ribs, your breathing will start to feel very “soft”. This is then permanent. After even just one week of doing this, my breathing felt very “transparent” — like there was no effort or exertion even taking place, even while walking around and going about my business.

    This is also a remarkable meditation. As you are practising the full breath in this position, you will notice that certain thoughts cause specific muscle areas in your body (particularly the abdomen) to suddenly tense. By simply returning your awareness to your breath and breathing softly “through” those areas, thus relaxing them, the emotional response is “de-anchored” from the triggering thought. I have lost a LOT of tense emotional responses to things since starting this practice.

    It is amazing that so much is achieved just by this practice alone.

    • Pat says:

      Its ridiculous, I’d say this is definitely on par with TRE as far as relaxation goes, and stronger than the bow (though the bow is still good.) Only feeling of relaxation that might be stronger is possibly the feeling after completing one of the lessons of the Feldenkrais method, and those never seemed to create a lasting change for me.

    • Pat says:

      would it be best to combine this practice with the mountain pose (found it on sleazys website, I have no experience with yoga) for the best posture results?

      • Illuminatus says:

        Mountain pose while doing the full breath would cause a great number of “resets” in breathing/posture so you should definitely give it a try. I do this anyway since standing up straight is the goal (I adopt correct posture and do full breath which is basically the same as what you’re suggesting).

        One problem heavy computer users might encounter is the shoulders not sitting straight/comfortably when stood upright; this must be dealt with over time via stretches. There’s no easy answer for that.

  3. Pat says:

    oh and is this there a set amount of time I should do this for every day?

    • Illuminatus says:

      The full breath should be your “normal” breath. While doing ANYTHING one should be breathing correctly. So it’s whatever amount of practice allows you to restore this to your default state.

      • Pat says:

        full breathing makes my abdomen make bubbling noises, is this normal?

        • Pat says:

          Not sure if Im imagining this, but people seem to be treating me differently, for the better as well. Not that I was treated badly before, but it just feels like Im given more respect or something.

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