Trauma and Addiction

Childhood Trauma and its link to addiction….

I have to say I find it shocking that in the last decade these two disorders are just being connected! The two have very tied links as most trauma survivors have a predilection to addiction to say the least. I am not a counselor, but as someone with a family tree full of addicts who can attest to the fact that most of their addictions began after a major trauma, I can say they are linked. But seeing as how my personal journey has involved childhood trauma I would like to focus there.

Early traumas affect the ways adults process and deal with stress. Abuse affects the same areas in the prefrontal cortex that provide the want for addicts to use. This part of the brain is greatly developed by your environment. The negative disruptions from continuous stress on a child, over time, can cause disruption in the development of the brain instead of growing properly. These misgrowths leave us vulnerable to a substance use disorder. It’s important to remember that children are limited in their ability to make contextual inferences that would likely allow them to process these experiences more effectively.

From personal experience, I can tell you, as a child I could not process or understand what was happening to me or why. I could not process it so I medicated myself with drugs and alcohol to just be ok with the things that had taken place. As of now, I am almost 40 and just beginning to understand after nearly 7 years of sobriety, how the 2 were intertwined. I should have sought help long ago for both issues. Not that it sincerely matters when you decide to make these changes, to reopen Pandora’s box and allow all these dark images, memories, and feelings to surge through you finally, it just matters that you do. And please don’t feel as if it’s too much. There are so many more of us out there who have done this, who are doing these things to rid themselves of the demons left behind.



CPRS Certified Peer Recovery Support

CPRS – Certified Peer Recovery Support

I took a few days off from writing! I found something I absolutely do not get enough of! I went down a rabbit hole because dealing with addiction and trauma has been a lifelong battle and yes I’m in a great place but I can personally say that I needed one of these! There were so many choices and I had no clue how to heal myself and when you have addiction or trauma, the shame keeps some silent until their last breaths.

So I’m going to start off with the perks of using a peer. First, they do not tell you how to get sober! This is awesome because for sobriety and change to really affect you must have ownership of both your addiction and your choices. This sounds counteractive but it is the only way I’ve truly seen sobriety take hold. This allows the peer to choose, have control, and use what works best for them. Which builds confidence in the choices their afraid of as well as not feeling as if someone is “making you” do something.

Secondly, YOU can choose what works best for you. This is way bigger than most people realize. EVERY person is different. From life experiences to culture, etc. So there is no one way that works for everyone. This single thing to me would have to increase true recovery rates, even though I don’t have data to back it. The hardest thing was trying something, it not working out, and then completely feeling like a failure when it didn’t work. Ultimately making me feel as if I could never escape this.

Thirdly, they do not advise. They keep their opinions to themselves to safely get you to YOUR decision of what to do and your goals. This is so important because most addicts have diminished decision-making skills, coping skills, and self-esteem. This teaches them how to move forward, make plans, commit to them, and have the discipline to continue.

Fourthly, they share their recovery story as well! When in the beginning stages of recovery you feel so alone in what you’re facing. Like you are the only person who’s made the mistakes you have. Simply knowing that there are more people who have faced this and beat it, is more powerful than you could ever believe. Also, for me personally, you can not sit me down and have a discussion with me about something you have only read about. Not saying that there is no knowledge formed, but because of the alone feelings that come with this, you feel more judgment from someone who has not been through this.

Fifth, they don’t just focus on substance abuse they also support mental illness as well. Again so many people who struggle with addiction struggle with mental illness and trauma. This means they are not only getting rid of the substance abuse but getting care for their mental health as well. This is awesome because so many doctors will tell you what mental illness you have, some practices, and books, but if that doesn’t work it turns into here’s a pill. Not saying medication is bad or wrong (I personally am on meds for anxiety and depression) I’m just saying where in that did the person learn to not repeat the behavior or pattern.

In conclusion, I am not saying everyone needs CPRS, I’m just saying that from most models of sobriety I’ve seen this seems to be the most concerned about long-term sobriety as well as holistic health. I am so excited and believe in this so much, I personally have begun the process of earning my certificate of completion for the course in the state of Ohio.

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