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Alcohol is particularly effective at triggering negative thoughts during the withdrawal phase (once you have stopped). Because Alcohol has a depressant effect on our nervous systems it can have the temporary effect of reducing anxiety related symptoms while intoxicated. However, there tends to be a 're-bound effect' afterward with an increase in the more physical symptoms of anxiety and also distressing negative thoughts (including painful memories).
Obviously the most effective method in this situation is to reduce alcohol consumption, but in many cases this is not easily achieved (or desired) and so it can be helpful to use standard cognitive challenging techniques to manage distressing thoughts. Broadly speaking cognitive techniques will either involve disputing or rationalizing negative thoughts OR accepting negative thoughts and moving attention away from those thoughts. Either can be effective and it tends to be more a case of personal preference as to which one works for a specific individual. If you like and can describe the two therapeutic approaches that use both forms of cognitive technique?
Ok, two forms of therapy that use cognitive strategies are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).
CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. Treatment is technique driven, brief, direct and time-limited (normally 10-12 sessions). CBT is used in individual therapy as well as group settings, and the techniques are often adapted for self-help applications. As I mentioned earlier you could use the cognitive techniques typical of this approach to help and manage distressing thoughts and memories that occur after bingeing. Take a look at this self help guide here http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/SelfHelpCourse.pdf It will teach you about using CBT techniques in general and sections 4-7 may be particularly useful given your situation.
ACT is a variation of CBT with a focus on developing our ability to tolerate distressing experiences rather than trying to reduce them or make them go away. A core part of this approach is mindfulness practice: the technique of consciously moving your attention and concentration on to targets of your own choice. So, you may be able to use this approach to control your attention when painful memories are recalled. Painful memories tend to be quite fixed so this kind of approach may be a useful alternative for managing distress related to your childhood. I can highly recommend book titled The Happiness Trap as an introduction to ACT as a place to start.
If you decided you want some help using these approaches then I suggest you contact the American Psychology Association (APA) for assistance with locating aPsychologist; take a look at the APA locator service here. You can use this to findPsychologists in your area and there is a phone number you can contact if you want a referral arranged for you. Also, take a look at an article published by the APA here. It's an interview with a senior Psychologist and covers some of the things you should consider when you looking for a Psychologist.
I hope this has been of some help. If you would like me to clarify or elaborate on any part of my answer please let me know. If not.....then I wish you the best of luck!
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