Addiction recovery has long been a sort of weird blind leading the blind down the rocky path of religion and sobriety until the passengers stop falling off the wagon.
While there are thousands of brilliant minds looking at the conundrums of addiction and coming up with ever more efficient and effective means to treat addiction, there are still so many shortfalls in the communication of these breakthroughs as the continues to perpetuate itself through the thousands of faith based rooms of anonymous recovery.
Addictions do not start on their own. In almost every case encountered there is a catalyst or a pain or trauma that is driving it. These traumas frequently clock back to events in childhood or formative years that began behaviours that echoed into the present day and still plague the subconscious mind. While many of these events may be out of memorable cognisance there are frequently more real and every day events that have and cause people to abuse substances and behaviours as a coping mechanism or to “self soothe” using their self prescribed medication (whatever that may be).
The task of any addiction rehabilitation professional would be to work with their client to help them identify these past breakpoints and then to facilitate and mediate an argument in their clients subconscious and conscious mind.
The ultimate goal in the therapy is NOT to try and forget the trauma process, but to develop the clients ability to understand, learn to manage and then finally accept their “triggers” and then to choose a self soothing strategies that serve toward their personal growth goals.
This learning to self sooth through the emotional triggers process is initially the hardest task to endure and the cause and reason so many people relapse back into substance abuse scenarios.
It’s hard to ask for help but it is a necessary. We cannot rely on our own fortitude to deal with an chemical problem driven by the irrational and emotional forces of our own minds.
Trauma is the sudden event that explodes into your life. A death. A tragic accident. In the aftermath, there is certainly the grief itself—the fear, the physical pain but also the struggle to understand and make sense of what happened. While these events are obvious identifiers there are also many more subtle traumas that most people are exposed to and experience throughout their lives. Complex trauma or CPTSD inability to emotionally cope with these more subtle trauma events that may even still be occurring and causing any number of adverse reactions. Even though you may not think you have any trauma buried in your history the truth is that you are more than likely sinking or have sunk the memories. It is important to honestly evaluate this events as they are the limitations that claw you back into addictive behaviours. Identifying these things in your own is an unlikely scenario. Spend some time with a therapist to actually get to the bottom of your trauma list.
Intense emotions can often narrow your train of thought leaving you feeling somewhat dazed, out-of-control and isolated. Repeated or unexpected exposures to traumatic triggers will result in exhaustion and with increasing stress levels comes avoidance. In order to deal emotionally hurtful events individuals frequently find themselves avoiding any form of trigger and constraining their day to day activities and thoughts.
If you avoid triggering events out of fear, the fear does not simply decrease over time. In fact the fear of the events intensifies and becomes obscured as time goes on. The only way in which to gain experience in confronting these fears is to incrementally approach them within safe boundaries and take stock of the rampant emotional triggers. Once you expose yourself to the feared situation without negative consequences, you begin to learn that you no longer have to avoid.
By repeatedly confronting fears in safe environments you will eventually learn to regulate and dissipate your past traumas with each experience.
Once we have come to terms with what has happened to us and accepted both positive and negative experiences, it is time to let go. The art of surrender involves letting go of all resistance and handing your struggle over be it to a higher power. It is not so important that we understand intellectually why something happened but rather that we are able to accept it has happened and then set it free.
Acknowledging events or accepting that they have happened enables traumatic experiences to move from our subconscious mind to our conscious mind, a prerequisite for healing. Getting honest is essential to recovery and through the courageous and clear acknowledgement of events we are able to set the process of healing into motion.
Scott Fitzgerald said “it’s never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be” and he was right. You can turn your life around by changing direction and steering towards a new destination. Often a change is exactly what is needed to revolutionise your life and move away from trauma. When you change direction it is only natural to feel things are a bit “off” but soon they fall into place.
Decide where it is you are headed. Make sure the direction you are going in is towards the things you want and enjoy and will bring you closer to personal fulfillment, not further away from it. Make this decision by getting in touch with your intuition. This can be done by taking time to meditate on it and feeling which decision resonates with your inner being.
Take action. When you know where it is you are going, commit to it and take action. Life only changes through massive action, not mere thought. So take action! Propel yourself towards the goal you set in Step 1 and move tactically towards that objective. Nothing changes if nothing changes so set yourself up to achieve exactly what it is you envision.
Reflect. Take time to look back at the process of deciding, committing and taking action. Acknowledge your efforts and reflect on the emotions you experienced during your journey. Appraise yourself for following through and repeat the steps in another area of your life.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life” - J.K Rowling. Personal transformation begins with a decision to change. We are all born with infinite potential; however we need to be willing to see ourselves in a different light in order for this to manifest. No matter what has happened in the past, we can begin again and create a new future. You will find that change leads to insight more often than insight leads to change so be willing to transform yourself. This is how you can do it:
Examine your life. The first step toward personal transformation involves doing an inventory of your life: your relationships, career, health, spirituality, current circumstances and all the aspects that make up your existence. While you look at these different fields of your life, rate the level of satisfaction and fulfilment you feel in these areas (1 being completely dissatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied and content).
Set goals in each area. Once you have done an inventory of your life, break it up and set goals on what you would like to achieve in each area. Make sure these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Goals set you up for personal transformation because they are direct affirmations of what you would like to see happen in your life. There is immense power in writing goals down - the act of putting pen to paper makes these goals materialise faster.
Act on your goals. Whether your target is to become fit or start an exercise regime, take the first step towards making that happen. Sign up at the gym, commit to running a 5km race, phone a friend and ask them to start walking with you. If you’d like to advance your career, begin networking, speak to people in the industry you’d like to get involved in, make a list of contacts to reach out to and improve your CV. If you’d like to improve your relationships, start listening and becoming more mindful of the needs of your partner/friend/family member whoever you wish to establish a stronger connection with. If you’re trying to kick a bad habit, distract yourself through physical exercise, picking up the phone and calling a friend, seeking the help of a professional or replacing the bad habit with a healthy one.