If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll go through life without experiencing a traumatic event. Unfortunately, though, about 70% of the population will experience trauma at least once in their lifetime(https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Trauma-infographic.pdf?daf=375ateTbd56). Trauma comes from hurtful events that create a lasting negative impact upon your psyche. It can come in many forms, such as experiencing a death, car crash, or abuse — what we call “big T Trauma” — or something “smaller,” like being humiliated in front of a group of people. Either way, trauma can lead to a series of mental health disorders, including addiction.
There are many factors that contribute to addiction, of course. In recent years, scientists and clinicians have come to discover the role that trauma plays in addiction. Individuals who have undergone traumatic experiences often utilize drugs or alcohol in the hopes of numbing the pain, only to find that it exacerbates their problems. Worse, the cycle of addiction itself is likely to lead to an increase in traumatic events as well. Breaking the cyclical nature of trauma-fueled addiction is difficult, but possible — and especially with the help of an addiction treatment center.
At Acqua Recovery, we believe in taking a trauma-informed approach to addiction treatment. That means that rather than seeking to answer the question of, “What’s wrong with this person?” we focus on exploring “What happened to this person?” We understand that for each person, the answer is different. There’s not just one path to addiction, and there are many paths to recovery. By helping you empower yourself and work through unresolved traumas, we will help guide you to a better life without drugs and alcohol.
So, how does empowerment help treat trauma-fueled addiction? Here are three key tools that will help you heal:
A key element in empowering yourself to overcome the cycle of trauma-fueled addiction is using powerful language. Although you have been a victim to an event out of your control, replacing victim language with powerful words — in thoughts, physical speech, and actions — can help you reposition yourself from being a victim to being in power. It may seem impossible at first, but the more you practice, the more naturally the powerful words will come. Soon, you’ll be using those words without even trying. For example, instead of thinking to yourself, “I can’t or couldn’t…” change your language to, “I choose to, or not to…” thus placing you in the position of power. We will help you build resilience through a growth mindset, shifting your perspective from what happened to you in the past to what you want for your future.
Setting boundaries are a great way to heal and empower yourself as well. What does that even mean? First, you need to decide what actions you’re comfortable with experiencing from the people around you. Then, you’ll have the ability to create metaphysical boundaries to talk and actions. For example, you might say, “I can’t hang out with you if you are drunk or high.” “If you keep talking to me that way, I’m going to leave.” Or, “If you call me during work, I won’t answer.” Setting boundaries can be extremely challenging. With the guidance of an Acqua Recovery therapist specializing in trauma and addiction, you will find the strength to identify words and actions that cross your boundaries. Every time you reinforce your boundaries, you’ll gain a little more empowerment and self-esteem, knowing you are now responsible for your own safety.
Trauma Therapy / DBT
At Acqua Recovery, we use DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), along with a variety of other methods, in treating trauma and addiction. DBT is used to change thoughts and behaviors directly caused by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other triggers. By rewiring your reactions to negative events, you can begin to stop using alcohol or drugs as suppressants.
Your specialized trauma-informed therapist can help you find new coping mechanisms that will allow you to not only work through past traumas, but also, to cope with future issues. Through emotional regulation, distress intolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness, you will move into a new space of confidence, safety, and power.
At Acqua Recovery, we use DBT as well as a combination of other modalities to treat not just the addiction, but also, the unresolved traumas that fuel it. We will help empower you to renew your hope, reconnect with yourself, and rediscover a better life.