Not Letting the Past Define Me

Sober woman
Photo by Jakovo/

Many addicts have struggled with some sort of trauma in their life. They use drugs and alcohol in order to escape from it and try to forget about it. While working here at Narconon, I have run into different stories of trauma, yet some have the common denominator of being in an abusive relationship. Another former addict shared their story of an abusive relationship and how they ended the abuse after six years of struggling.

“During our relationship, my ex and I were never really close. He always had an ulterior motive and thought of me as a possession. He believed he owned me, or that I was simply his ‘puppy.’ Over time, I grew to love the man, even though, as I grew, I realized, that love stemmed from fear and lies.

“We met on a dating app and he told me a fairy tale and intrigued me with his partying habits. We talked every night, but he was always busy till 3am and I didn’t know why. There were many unanswered questions I had, but ignored them. I took a drastic measure to get his attention, and it worked. I ended up in a psych ward and no one would come get me until I called him. From there, we moved in together and I was on cloud nine. When I first moved in with him, he seemed like the man I wanted to marry. After a while, the puzzle pieces came together and all of my questions were answered. I realized the partying was much more serious than he led on and the fairy tale had ended and was a part of the past.

“I started drinking every night and doing massive amounts of cocaine. After that, I started sneaking around to cheat on him and added meth to my routine. He wanted me to be under his control so he eventually showed up with meth and cocaine to get me back in his pocket. The drugs he brought me almost took my life. He would hit me, threaten me and everyone I know, and manipulate me to push away those who cared about me most. This went on for years, and it got worse as time went on. I tried to make things work, but nothing I did worked. I ran away to treatment center after treatment center, but would end up right back where I started. Every time I got out, I reopened the gateway I so desperately wanted to close. I just didn’t know how. I believed he would eventually change even though he showed me time and time again it would not happen. He would tell me that no one would love me like he did. I believed it. I believed all of his lies and was still hoping this man I so desperately loved would change into who I hoped he would be.

“I knew I needed help, and I didn’t know where to turn. It wasn’t till my parents offered to send me to Narconon that I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I finally grew tired of fighting and trying. I ended up purposely letting myself fall flat on my face and destroyed the light within my soul. When I was doing drugs, even after my overdose, I hoped I would soon be free. I knew I needed help, and I didn’t know where to turn. It wasn’t till my parents offered to send me to Narconon that I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I arrived Narconon still attached to him. It wasn’t till they showed me I was worth something that I realized I had more potential than I was giving myself credit for. The staff showed me they cared and wanted me to succeed and be happy. I could never figure out why the other treatment centers didn’t work till I was asked myself, ‘what was holding you back from staying sober?’ Immediately, I realized I was allowing him to hold me back and control me. I realized I was looking for validation and love, but I needed to learn how to love myself. I was holding on to something that was dead, desperately wanting it to work, and the staff gave me the courage to let it go.”

—O.L., Narconon Graduate

We as addicts get used to a routine of going on hoping and settling because we believe nothing can help us. Those of us who have struggled with trauma believe the lies we were told, and avoid facing those problems with drugs and alcohol. Some people hide their trauma, and some wear it on their sleeve. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and trauma, know you are not alone. Narconon is a residential treatment center where you can open up in a safe environment, let go of the past and work towards a better, brighter future. When something traumatic happens you have two choices. You can let it define you or you can overcome it.


Alina Snowden

Originally from Kentucky, Alina decided after changing her life that she wanted to help others understand the dangers of addiction and help families know what to do if their loved one is struggling. She now writes articles to spread awareness and positivity about how those with addiction problems can turn their lives around.