Trauma and addiction very often go hand in hand, with one feeding into the other and causing a situation that spirals out of control. Sadly, many people never acknowledge trauma they go through, so they end up using addiction as a way to mask the pain. All that does it make it resurface eventually and cause even more harm than it would have if it had been treated correctly.
For this reason, it is vital to address trauma when you are being treated for addiction. The longer you let past trauma stay under the surface, the more it has a chance to bubble up and manifest in negative ways, like addiction and relapse. In order to successfully become sober, your trauma needs to be faced head-on so that it can be moved into the past.
Treating Trauma and Addiction
You may be fearful of looking your trauma in the eye. There is no doubt that it is painful to do and requires a lot of strength and support. Hence, trauma and addiction can get address hand in hand in addiction treatment.
When you first arrive at treatment, you will undergo an intense physical and mental evaluation to establish a baseline for your course of treatment. You’ll also be asked questions about your past and major things that have happened in your life. It is important to be completely honest with your therapist and doctors about any past situation that strongly affected or traumatized you. Remember, trauma is different for every person, and it can include anything from divorce and abuse to witnessing a horrific accident and the death of a loved one.
What one person considers trauma may not be the same to another, and that is ok. If the situation from your past brings you down and causes you to abuse alcohol or drugs, it simply must be brought to light as part of your treatment.
Looking your past trauma in the eye is frightening, no doubt. Luckily, when you do so in treatment you will be given all the tools you need to get through it without the crutch of drugs or alcohol, Also, you’ll be in a supportive environment with doctors and nurses around 24/7 to help you if things get tough. It is the best possible place to process a traumatic situation.
You may wonder why you can’t just skip that part. Well, if you keep pushing trauma down, you’ll always be running away from it, and often running away from it means using drugs or alcohol to do so. It is important to remember that it is ok to feel emotions, even if they are negative. It is part of being human. So, processing your trauma and facing it head on is a necessary step in moving past it.
Once you have pulled your trauma out of the depths of your mind and put it all out on the table, you will be given time to grieve, process, and understand the situation. You’ll be guided by your therapist, so don’t ever think you will be alone. After that, together you will come up with a plan for putting this trauma into the past using various tools. This way, you will eventually be able to acknowledge that it happened, but your present and future doesn’t need to be driven by it.
By facing your trauma and learning how to cope with it, you’ll no longer need to turn to drugs and alcohol to numb and mask your feelings. You’ll be able to logically recognize it is a part of your past, but that it doesn’t need to influence your future. By treating trauma and addiction together, you’ll have a much better chance of staying sober long-term.