Getting Past the Trauma that Led to Addiction
It is common for an addiction to stem from a traumatic experience in a person’s life. For some, it is a way to stop feeling sadness or anger over a loss. For others, it is a way to block the event out of their minds, at least for a short period of time. This self-medicating can become destructive, not only to a person’s mind, but to their bodies as well. Counselors working in substance abuse treatment in Port St Lucie can help individualize care plans to help their clients deal with these events and learn to live life without drugs and/or alcohol.
Opening Up About the Traumatic Event
One of the most difficult steps in addiction treatment where trauma is the main event is opening up and talking about it. For someone with a fragile state of mind when it comes to what they went through, it is not easy, especially with someone new. It is important for the addict to feel comfortable speaking with the counselor about the trauma and how it has affected their life.
Trust is something that most people need to build with another in order to speak about intimate and personal details. It is okay for the client to be cautious and start with only small details. It is a coping mechanism that helps build trust. The idea of this type of exercise is to help the client realize that they can live life, even with painful memories, without having to use drugs and/or alcohol to mask the pain. There are healthier ways of dealing with those events.
Discussing the Real, Raw Feelings
It is important for a client to be very candid and descriptive with their feelings when discussing the traumatic event that led to their addiction. Some feelings are unexplainable, but a description of the feeling helps a counselor determine the raw feeling behind it. It is important to realize how the event makes the client feel in order to develop a strong, individual treatment plan to help them work through the anxiety, sadness, anger and other raw emotions that they have covered up for a period of time.
Feeling is important and can be overwhelming. Drugs and alcohol come into play when the person struggling through a trauma just does not know how to handle the thoughts and feelings associated with the event. It is difficult for them to focus their mind elsewhere to stop the thought process of getting high or drunk so that they do not have to feel what they do not want to.
Remembering the First Time Using the Drug
Recalling the first time that a client used their drug of choice is important. This helps a counselor understand the escape that their client felt when the effects of the drug or alcohol began. Remembering the setting, amount and type of drug used is important. It is also important to discuss how the frequency of use became more frequent as time passed. This step aids in determining the severity of the addiction along with the severity and speed of the increased usage.
Addicts that find peace while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may smirk or smile while talking about how the drug/alcohol makes them feel.
Learning How to Live Life through Traumatic Memories
Without knowing how to deal with life after trauma it is difficult to know which path to take. When in treatment, learning healthy behaviors is important. For instance, if remembering a serious domestic abuse incident may lead to drug use or alcoholism. Rather than using the drug, looking for drugs or drinking, a different activity or hobby should be entertained. It is not avoidance, it is redirecting energy into something positive and uplifting. Doing so helps avoid relapses.
Continued Support after Treatment
Treatment does not stop when a client walks out of a treatment center. Aftercare is a must. This includes attending Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. It also includes continued counseling and having a strong support group to surround the addict. Without a strong support system, and an attentive sponsor, the likelihood of relapse is much higher. Positive reinforcement and just being there for a recovering addict is a must for continued sobriety.
When a friend or loved one enters into treatment for an addiction, it can be emotionally and physically taxing on their bodies. Continued encouragement is important, especially to help keep them in treatment. Remind them that they have goals and dreams that they want to achieve in life, and sobriety is a must if they wish to see those goals met and dreams come true.