incredible-marketing Arrow
How Can Trauma Lead to Addiction?

Our addictions can have multiple causes and contributing factors, among them the traumatic experiences we go through, often during our formative, childhood years. Many people who have experienced trauma do not go on to become addicts. Trauma, therefore, does not always have a clear causal relationship with our addictions. It can, however, contribute greatly to how we relate to our thoughts and feelings. It is often our relationship to our trauma, rather than just the specific trauma itself, that can be the biggest contributing factor to the development of our addictions.

Many of us have a relationship with our trauma that is fear-based. It revolves around trying to avoid thinking about and processing our trauma as much as possible. We deny it ever happened, both to ourselves and to other people. We desperately want to feel normal. We want to pretend we’ve had normal, healthy, socially acceptable lives. We don’t want people to think differently of us or look down on us. We don’t want to be judged, shunned, rejected or ostracized because of the traumas we’ve experienced. Our avoidance, denial, secrecy and silence cause us to never fully heal from our trauma. We never actually confront it. We suppress and bury it deep down within us, where we hope it will subside on its own.

Rather than facing the difficult thoughts and emotions that accompany our trauma, many of us resort to methods of escapism and distraction. That is where our addictive substances and behaviors come in. We are desperate to forget our pain. We want to numb ourselves from it. In order to self-medicate our pain, we use drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling and anything else that brings us feelings of pleasure, detachment and release. That high feels so much better than the depression and anxiety we’re desperate to avoid. It feels worlds better than the fear, sadness, shame and grief that we’re still grappling with, that we never healed from.

The traumas and losses we’ve sustained create deep wounds within us. Nothing can fill those wounds or heal them for us except our own inner healing work. This means confronting our pain head on, exploring and examining it, asking our internal guidance systems what we need to heal. We can find healing in creative self-expression, in writing, music, art and dance. We can find healing in being of service to others. We can heal by opening up to other people, being heard, understood, listened to, and supported. We can heal by approaching our recovery journey with courage.

The way we handle our trauma, namely the ways in which we don’t handle it, the ways in which we run from it, can contribute greatly to the development of our addictions. The answer to our recovery lies in summoning the courage to finally face our pain head on.

At The Guest House Ocala, you will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.