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Trauma is very often a primary contributor to the development of addiction. Addiction’s causes are wide-ranging and rarely identical between two people. Genetics, social conditioning, environment, the presence of mental illness, and trauma can all play a role in the development of addiction. Choosing to recover from addiction often means choosing to recover from trauma. Coming to recovery from addiction can itself be traumatizing.

Everyone comes to recovery from addiction differently. Not everyone hits what is called “rock bottom”. Rock bottom is arguably a mythological point in someone’s life where circumstances can’t possibly worsen and the only direction left to go is up. There is a problematic stigma in mental health treatment that until someone hits their rock bottom they are not yet ready for treatment or recovery. For some, their “rock bottom” comes with a blaring neon sign, telling them to turn around and work their way out. For others, however, “rock bottom” comes with a shovel, and the depths seem to exponentially deepen.

Whichever way someone finds their way to the pivotal moment which inspires them to recover, the journey is typically a rough one up to the day they finally get sober. The final days, weeks, or months can be a traumatizing time in someone’s life. One’s recovery date is an important date, serving as a reason to celebrate each continued year of sobriety, as well as a sobering reminder of what it took to get sober and what it takes to stay sober.

The “Anniversary Effect” is a term used in the trauma treatment world to describe a peculiar phenomenon in which trauma symptoms have an annual onset at the time of a trauma event. Sometimes referred to as an “anniversary reaction”, the feelings can be unsettling and last for a few days to a few weeks. Many people in recovery from addiction describe feeling uncomfortable, having cravings, or being emotionally distressed in the weeks before their sobriety date and the weeks immediately after. Symptoms do not last long, but can be frustrating while they are present. Without understanding the normalcy of the anniversary effect, having a sudden onset of cravings or emotional distress can take someone by surprise. Due to the stigmatization of both addiction and recovery, someone may mistakenly think that these thoughts and feelings are indication of their “failure” in recovery. Often, people in recovery see cravings as a foreshadow to relapse.

Life falling apart is often a necessity for recovery. Life coming back together, doing the work, and fighting to stay sober, can be as difficult as when things fall apart. Above all else, experiencing the “anniversary effect” offers an opportunity for one of recovery’s most important practices: gratitude. Find gratitude where you can for everything you’ve been through to get you here, where you are right now, and where you’re going in life. Recovery is the opportunity of a lifetime.

The Guest House Ocala specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Clinical expertise, a compassionate team, and an outstanding attention to detail ensures each guest’s experience will be customized to their needs. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs: 1-855-483-7800