How to Deal with Trauma in Sobriety

There is a very strong connection between trauma and addiction. One often leads to the other. People struggling to numb the effects of traumatic experiences in their lives will often self-medicate on drugs and alcohol. While this works as a quick-fix, continued abuse of these substances quickly leads to addiction, exposing the addict to additional trauma. On the other hand, trauma may be the result of a lifestyle of abusing drugs and alcohol.

Trauma and Addiction Co-occurrence

 

Trauma occurs as a result of experiences that are too disturbing that they overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. This varies from person to person, depending on their resilience. For example, adults are generally more resilient in the face of traumatic experiences than children. Examples of traumatic events include sexual assault, child abuse, military combat, domestic violence, natural disasters, car accidents, battling life-threatening ailments and any other events that elicit fear, intense pain, and dreadful memories.

Unresolved trauma may lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which presents symptoms such as nightmares, anxiety, depression, irrational fear, and a predisposition to addiction. Alcohol and drugs offer trauma survivors temporary reprieve and escape from painful feelings giving them an illusion of control over their lives and the world around them. Unfortunately, substance abuse does more harm than good in the long run. It soon becomes a problem and instead of helping ease the pain causes more harm to the already suffering trauma survivor.

Another possible explanation for the addiction and trauma connection begins with substance abuse. The lifestyle of an addict exposes him/her to dangerous neighborhoods, unsavory acquaintances, and dangerous behavior. It is no surprise that most addicts are victims of crime, abuse, violence, accidents, and other traumatic events.
Treating trauma and addiction

Drug and alcohol abuse is a valid coping mechanism since it effectively dulls the emotional pain and suppresses the memory of trauma. Evidence of past trauma can be so well hid in some addicts that many treatment centers end up not noticing it. Non-trauma-focused, addiction treatments set up alcohol and substance abusers for relapses or other addictive behaviors such as gambling, overeating, and sexual promiscuity, among others.

Regardless of which comes first, trauma or addiction, both have to be treated if the sufferer is to lead a healthy life. One cannot maintain sobriety while still harboring unresolved trauma. It is recommended that addicts first detox before working on recovery from addiction and trauma in an integrative and comprehensive manner with clear minds and stronger bodies.
Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatment plans that help addicts kick their addictions and conquer their trauma. These include medication and comprehensive therapies that teach coping skills, mindfulness, problem-solving, and relapse-prevention skills that lead to lifelong sobriety and improved quality of life.

 

Dealing with Trauma in Sobriety

Getting over a traumatic experience is easier said than done. Most recovering addicts prefer not to face the pain and fail to realize how it is intertwined with their addictions until it is too late. They choose to bury and ignore past trauma with the hope that it will go away and as a result, are unable to maintain their sobriety.
After a successful detox and a commitment to stay sober with the help of coping tools and skills, the next step is to heal from your trauma. Dealing with trauma in sobriety can be a difficult task which does not happen overnight. With the right attitude, however, you can deal with and overcome your trauma while maintaining your sobriety.
Healing from trauma is a process
When you’ve numbed yourself for so long with drugs and alcohol, the feelings may flood back and overwhelm you during recovery. You must recognize this as progress. The healing process may be tough, but as long as you are moving from one stage to another, you are making progress.

 

Drugs and Alcohol Abuse Will Not Help

It is important to realize that using drugs and alcohol may numb the pain, but once the euphoric state of mind has passed, the symptoms of unresolved trauma will still be there and are likely to be more disruptive than ever. While there is a temptation to take a break from the pain caused by the traumatic event, you must realize that escapism by way of substance abuse will not help.

 

You Are Stronger Than You Know

If you have survived a traumatic event and addiction, you are strong enough to survive the recovery. You must stop seeking temporary safety and face your trauma with the knowledge that you are worthy of love and redemption.

 

Your Habit Makes Perfect Sense

Trauma survivors have every right to chase after feelings of safety, worth, control, and to numb their painful feelings. Trauma changes you, and it is only rational to turn to substance abuse even if it is for the illusion of normalcy. You must, therefore, realize that even though your habits are bad, your intentions are pure. You only need a new coping mechanism that is healthy.  To make meaningful and lasting life changes while recovering from addiction, one has to change their thoughts, behavior, relationships, environment, and face the trauma that fueled their addictions in the first place.

 

Signs It’s Time To Stage An Intervention

Dealing with drug addiction can be the hardest thing to do. That is because most of these addicts don’t realize that they are suffering. For a drug addict, all they care about is getting their high, and this can be risky. Firstly, they will spend all their money on drugs without thinking about their basic needs. As we all know, drug addiction is a condition that gets worse with time. If you meet a drug addict miserable in the streets, know that they were once ordinary people with healthy lives until the drugs ruined them.

What does it mean to stage an intervention?

When someone is new to using drugs, they will look normal for a while, not knowing that they are a time bomb. When real symptoms start showing, however, even the people close to them will realize that something is wrong. This should be the right time to stage an intervention because the signs of addiction are now too apparent. For those who don’t know stage an intervention is, note that it is a way of helping a drug addict entirely. However, it requires the people close to the addict to come together and plot a solution.

What happens in a stage intervention group?

Usually, the people close to the addict decide to come together so that under the leadership of one of the members. The group first meet to discuss the condition of the patient then begin strategizing on what needs to be done. This is very important because the group needs to work in an organized manner. Drug addicts can be cunning, and without a proper plan, they can play games with you when you are thinking that they are recovering.

After the group is done and ready, the next move is usually to confront the addict. This also should be done with a lot of caution because you don’t want the addict feeling as everyone is fed up with them. The best time to confront the addict is when they are sober at least and can have a conversation. What follows should be according to the plane, and the group needs to stay intact and active until the mission is done.

The good thing with staging an intervention is that the addict gets to be helped by the people who care about them the most. Realizing this will drive them to stick to their addiction treatment because even an addict cannot stand breaking the hearts of everyone around them.

How to know when to stage an intervention

One of the main signs that it is time to stage an intervention is when you notice strange behavior with an addict. These can include a change in their schedule when they started coming home late and exhausted, avoiding everyone, including food. A change in behavior can be considered as an advanced level of addiction. That is because the body system is getting comfortable with the substance and taking control.

Increased tolerance to drugs is also not a good sign. This happens when the addict always wants a little bit more of the drug every time. They will want to have more bottles of beer whenever he or she is out for a drink with friends. This can get to a point where the addict wants to have more bottles of beer even if there is no occasion. That is how someone ends up drinking every day.

Short-term memory loss, is also known as mental fogging is another clear sign that it is time to stop the drugs. At this point, the addict will forget things so fast, and at times, cannot remember what has happened a few seconds ago. Among the worse addiction symptoms, mental fogging is the worst because the addict will no longer be useful to the community.

You can quickly point out a drug addict from the way he or she looks. They usually don’t care about their looks, and in most cases, they are untidy. No one wants to be around a smelly person, and for someone to allow themselves to smell, they must have a mental problem. Drug addicts don’t mind wearing the same clothes for even a week as long as at the end of it all; they have their drug.

Magnified emotions are also a sign of drug addiction. Note that addict is generally rebellious and will not want anyone to come between them with their drugs. They will get emotional when you attempt to stop them from doing what they want and will always be in a bad mood.

Conclusion

Staging an intervention does not entirely mean that the group is responsible for helping the addict out of the problem. Part of the solution can be convincing the addict to go for rehab. However, the group is a vital part of the recovery process because a recovering drug addict needs all the support they can get. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact us for help! Addiction is a serious disease and needs to be treated as such. At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we provide everything you need to start on the path to recovery.