Dealing with Your Past Is Critical to Recovery
Though some individuals who struggle with addiction may fall into it seeking a good time, it seems many more fall into addiction seeking to escape deeper issues. These deeper issues, or “trauma,” can be looked at as problems that addicts lack the ability to solve, drugs and alcohol then become the solution and addiction results. As the cycle continues, addiction itself can result in further trauma, whether it is trauma caused by another’s drug use or trauma received due to being in bad situations from one’s own use. The inability to deal with the past bad experiences that make up the trauma each of us has experienced, without drugs or alcohol, is the root of addiction.
While some schools of thought focus on abating lingering effects of trauma through sedation (medication) or simply learning to live with the damage, this is not what I have personally found to be effective. Through my own experience, I found sedation was more of the same (as someone who once used those substances to drown out my own problems). On the other hand, learning to live with trauma without sedation, self-medicated or from a professional, was a similarly miserable way to live. Since I believed these the only two options, I had no real success path. I found however, that is not the case.
While these two routes may have been easier to face, neither one ever seemed to open a road out from under my addiction and trauma. I feel fortunate for discovering the way out.
Learning to solve life’s problems is hard but not harder than living the rest of your life using drugs and alcohol to run away or miserably living with the results of failed attempts to solve the problems. Hard but possible, I should add, though it takes professional help. It takes someone to help you push through it when you can’t move forward due to fear, anger, frustration, or even being unable to spot what it is that eats at you. This is what makes dealing with trauma hard and nearly impossible to face and fully resolve alone. I have heard so many claims they can “do it on their own” only to find out all their good intentions couldn’t overcome the internal demons they had to face. Resulting in relapse or worse.
Attempting to address trauma while either intoxicated or facing withdrawal symptoms can severely decrease the effectiveness of such an endeavor. Being intoxicated can make a person’s mental state shaky, and those struggling with withdrawal symptoms will often choose to simply say whatever they can to be done with the counseling. Not because they do not want the help. If you have ever been sick or getting over a cold that is mild compared to coming off drugs. Now imagine trying to discuss the bad things you had done and that had happened to you while all your focus was on how bad you physically felt.
Getting to the bottom of addiction by discovering the root problems is so important when it is left unaddressed it is not some distant memory easily forgotten. Instead, it lingers, coming to the surface whenever something presses on it. This could be stress, a new upset, or even boredom. If you have ever seen someone experience the restimulation of past trauma, you know how hard-hitting it can be. For those struggling with addiction, the restimulation of past trauma can be accompanied by intense cravings. Sending someone in recovery scrambling to get their drug of choice to alleviate the negative emotions accompanying the trauma, will once again bring those negative emotions to light.
Therefore, being in a secure location, hopefully, outside the area where one used in the past, is best for someone in this set of circumstances. If a therapy session ends before making headway or leaves the person in a state of being caught up in the memory of a said trauma, the person is at risk of relapse. It can actually be dangerous to dive back into trauma and face it, without fully resolving it especially when drugs such as fentanyl are accessible and have increased the number of deaths from a drug relapse.
While daunting, there is a way to escape this routine and trap and that is treatment to address both the mental and physical aspects of substance abuse. Addressing and repairing both will assist in making you whole again. Having a safe place to address the issues with no access to alcohol or drugs creates a successful path to confront and address the trauma and get all the way through it with no relapse. While the journey might be hard, it is worth it.
If your loved one has not had success in treatment, please give us a call.