Addiction comes in all shapes and sizes and isn’t picky when choosing its next victim. Although there are varying stereotypes surrounding what a “typical addict” looks and acts like, the truth is- it looks like all of us.
No, addiction doesn’t discriminate, but there are some factors that increase chances of falling prey to it. Trauma and abuse are two of the most common triggers; people try to self-treat their emotional pain through numbing substances. When we suppress our feelings with drugs and alcohol, our underlying issues are pushed aside and continue to brew even if we’re not in the mental space to acknowledge it. You may think you’re helping yourself by yourself because you temporarily forget about your problems, but in reality; you’re creating more.
Dealing with trauma and abuse through a sober mindset can do so much more- actually heal you versus just numb you. A sober mind and body have the potential to recreate your life- help you understand the trauma and abuse you may have suffered in the past- and learn coping mechanisms to move forward.
Why Substance Abuse Makes it Worse
After a long hard day at work, some people immediately reach for a beer or a glass of wine to relax and unwind. Alcohol is known for calming the system, and in slight moderation yes, it can cause calming effects. This is typically only true for low-stress individuals with no issues in controlling consumption. If you have built up stress or a history of anxiety and trauma, alcohol can actually trigger negative responses to these issues.
When we have built up stress and a painful past, we tend to bottle up the emotions and memories deep inside and push them away as a way to cope with everyday life. When we consume drugs and alcohol, our bodies let go of the tight wall we built around our issues and all that pain explodes, except we aren’t in the mindset to properly deal with it. Basically, we have an overflow of negative emotions and nowhere to put them. When we sober up, we bottle those emotions back inside and create a vicious cycle. The pain and trauma from the past have nowhere to go, nowhere to heal, and they intensify as we continue to leave them running in circles.
There are some cases were in the moment people feel better when under the influence, but this is short-lived, and once we become accustomed to our consumption habits, the effects will wear and our negative responses will be much stronger. The only way to heal from trauma and abuse is through a clear and sober mind.
How Addiction Recovery Can Heal You
Besides the most obvious recovery from substance, addiction recovery can mend other aspects of your life as well. Most people report feeling like an entirely new person after they recover from drugs and alcohol, many even different from before they started using.
When you treat your addiction, you learn skills to overcome a different form of trauma and abuse. Drug addiction, after all, is abusing your mind and body, and many of the experiences drug addicts find themselves in can be extremely traumatic. These coping skills, once applied to treat your substance addiction, will transfer well into other aspects of your life. You’ll be able to use these mechanisms to deal with your past and anything you went through that still affects you.
Learn the foundation of healing and it can be applied to anything in your life. Build yourself a safe and nurturing environment in recovery-and use this space to mend any wounds you have left over. It may be unconscious- but the second you start treating your addiction you start healing. The body is amazing in how forgiving it is, and as you watch it heal and reform itself, learn from it and forgive yourself. Let your mind follow your body and you will be on the journey to letting go of your past.
Techniques for Addiction/ Trauma Recovery
The most important thing to get started is finding a recovery program that works best for you. This could be inpatient or outpatient, long term or short, but surrounding yourself with professionals and individuals who have experience in treating addiction is crucial to making the first steps right.
Once in a program, take advantage of not only the treatments they offer but outside ones too, such as holistic therapy. Here are a few methods that can both treat addiction and trauma:
- Talk Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Support Groups
If You Are A Woman Who Is Struggling
If you have dealt with trauma and abuse, and have a problem with substance abuse, Wayside House can help. Our program is for women ages 18 and over who are looking for a new way of life.
At Wayside House, you are surrounded by support and safety, and in this environment, you can not only overcome addiction but heal from the past, too. This healing will set you on the path to the life that you have always wanted and deserved. Call 800-655-0817 today.