Trauma is the word you give to a vast number of painful experiences that leave you emotionally wounded and scarred. Those wounds and scars are often the impetus for substance use, trying to escape or numb the pain, which often leads to addiction. During active addiction, it is not uncommon for more trauma to occur, continuing to ensnare you in the web of addiction and trauma. How can you make it stop? How can you untangle the web of trauma and addiction?
Acknowledging Your Past
Past trauma can be glaring and remembered in every little detail, or it can be a pain inside that is unidentified. Whether or not you remember why you hurt, the result is the same: trauma is painful. Trauma can be from childhood or more recently and comes in many forms, including:
- Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- Physical neglect or abandonment
- Loss of a loved one
- Serious illness or surgery
- Natural disasters
- Violence or witnessing violence
- War or terrorism
- Suicide attempt or psychiatric hospitalization
Pain from trauma can manifest in so many different ways. Sometimes, it is just a gnawing, emotional pain that is always there. Or it may be that you have vivid flashbacks or replay the trauma in your mind. You may also experience other emotional or physical responses to sensory experiences related to your trauma. When left unresolved, trauma can become post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Learning to find the source of the pain and acknowledge it is the first step in the healing process. Discovering the origins of your pain, especially if the pain is what led you to begin drinking or using drugs, is crucial to know how to begin addressing the trauma and healing from it. As you begin to untangle the web of trauma and addiction, addressing your trauma is also part of the treatment for substance abuse.
Making the Choice to Heal From Addiction
Admitting that you have an addiction can also be difficult. Often, your life has to spend too much time in self-destruct mode before you are willing to make the choice to heal from substance use disorder (SUD). This can take even longer when the twisted web of trauma and addiction can run in the family.
Making the decision to seek treatment for addiction can be life-changing, but it requires commitment and hard work. The treatment process is more than just becoming sober. Treatment also involves therapy to heal emotionally and find the root of the cause of your drinking or drug use, which is often trauma. Just like an actual web, the web of addiction and trauma can be sticky and difficult to remove yourself from.
Facing Your Trauma to Initiate Change
Where the web intersects is when you seek treatment and therapy for both trauma and addiction. Therapy during treatment addresses the deep wounds and scars of trauma. One of the more effective methods of treating trauma, even childhood trauma, is eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR). This treatment modality helps to reprocess the traumatic memories and helps you to feel safe around them through the use of specific eye movements or tapping. The method is an evidence-based treatment that works quickly and effectively.
Whichever form of treatment modalities you end up using to heal from your trauma, when the trauma is healed, you also initiate the change psychologically from addiction. This change becomes more lasting and permanent when you address the trauma simultaneously. Removing the trauma removes the root cause of the substance use, which helps to decrease the future triggers and cravings for substances. Your chances of relapse go down significantly when you heal from your trauma in treatment.
Working Through Treatment Toward Recovery
Unfortunately, addiction does not just disappear when you heal from trauma. Working through treatment for substance abuse is necessary to completely untangle that web of trauma and addiction. However, working through therapy for both trauma and a substance use disorder will help free you from the sticky web and help you onto the path of recovery.
Maintaining a Life Free of Trauma and Addiction
Not unlike having been caught in a web and then being freed from it, recovery offers you the promise of maintaining a life free of both trauma and substance abuse. Healing from trauma that you may have carried around for years is only the beginning. Learning how to live a life free of substances allows you to be free to explore life more fully. Untangling the web of substance abuse and trauma changes your life from living in pain and addiction to living a life on your own terms.
Untangling the web of trauma and addiction allows you to be free from the scars and wounds from your past and live life on your own terms. Since trauma and addiction are so intertwined, much like a sticky web, they must be untangled together in treatment. As you heal from trauma, you can step onto the path of recovery without the scars of past years. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we are committed to helping you heal from both trauma and addiction by treating both simultaneously. We offer truly individualized trauma-informed care with both evidence-based and holistic modalities for you to experience and choose from so that you have choices in your treatment. Our goal is to empower you to transition back into healthy routines through our outpatient care environments. Call us at (760) 492-6509 to learn more.