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Why Does Trauma Lead To Substance Abuse?

If you were experiencing the worst pain in the world day in and day out with no explanation and no relief, you’d look for any solution you could find. If doctors, lawyers, professionals, or scientists couldn’t give you an answer for your pain, you’d become exasperated and willing to do just about anything to find just an ounce of reprieve. The cycle of substance abuse starts and ends in precisely this way- desperately needing to treat some kind of pain from a deep, soulful wound.

Trauma is just that- a deep and soulful wound. In her book The Trauma Heart, Judy Crane defines trauma as “any life event or series of life events or ongoing life events that create a negative impact on your life that changes or distorts your vision of yourself and your place in the world.” Experiencing trauma is experiencing a deep blow to our sense of reality, love, acceptance, freedom, peace, and hope. Trauma takes everything we know and turns it upside down. Deep feelings of betrayal spread throughout our entire being and live within us cellularly, viscerally, and spiritually. The pain of trauma is so intense that we may not be able to call it by its name for fear of having to relive its events. With an unseen, unamed, untreated open wound constantly bleeding and festering, it feels as if we have no choice but to turn to whatever takes the pain away. For many of us, that manifestation is often through the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Substance abuse only numbs the pain of trauma for a time until substance abuse does what it always does. Eventually, substance abuse stops working. A tolerance is built, a chemical dependency is developed and the body becomes so sick, the substances simply stop working. We can’t get high. We can’t get drunk. We cannot find even the smallest mustard seed of intoxication which used to take us away from our problems. Whether we are aware of our trauma story or not, we come to realize one thing. In order to be rid of substance abuse, we have to be rid of all the reasons why we abuse substances. We have to find them. We have to heal them. We have to do the work to live with the reality of them in a way which no longer brings us to the dire necessity of finding harmful ways to relieve our pain.

Everyone’s story starts before treatment. Everyone’s story changes the minute they arrive to treatment. The Guest House Ocala offers residential programming for trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues, customized to meet your unique needs. Call us today for information on life at the estate: 1-855-483-7800