Trauma is a 4 letter word…

…and that word is PATH. I bet you thought I was going to drop the f-bomb. Not for this entry. This is a quite serious topic of which has been haunting me for weeks. I heard Bob Forrest and Dr. Drew (This Life Podcast) talking about childhood trauma and addiction and it has awakened something fearful within me as I work my recovery path.hqdefaultWhen I watched “My Name Was Bette”, there were many good stats in that movie too but at the time I wasn’t focused on the bigger and surrounding picture other than my own path to addiction. So now that I hear more and more validation of early childhood trauma I am hyper-aware of what is happening around my son.  I am also pragmatic that not every thing I do is going to be right or everything I do is going to be wrong. Hopefully I can give him enough education and enough protection that he can knows right from wrong and can identify good choices as he gets older.

So I did a little research and found a more recent blurb on this subject in recovery.org. Here are the bullets and anecdotally where I fell.

  • Sources estimate that 25 and 75 percent of people who survive abuse and/or violent trauma develop issues related to alcohol abuse.
    • Experienced some verbal abuse, never felt good enough, felt shame and hid grades, eating, etc…at an early age. 
  • Accidents, illness or natural disasters translate to between 10 to 33 percent of survivors reporting alcohol abuse.
  • A diagnosis of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) increases the risk of developing alcohol abuse.
    • I was drinking for years before my PTSD surfaced, even though I worked through it with therapy, I had to use alcohol to numb the repetitions in my head and the fears. Some of my PTSD may have been directly connected to feelings of insecurity, abusive relationships and sexual misconduct on others’ parts at a young age. 
  • Female trauma survivors who do not struggle with PTSD face increased risk for an alcohol use disorder.
    • See above, last time I checked – I am still female and my PTSD surfaced after some time around the age of 28. Prior to that time, I was just socializing and being a general nuisance and danger to society and all my boyfriends.
  • Male and female sexual abuse survivors experience a higher rate of alcohol and drug use disorders compared to those who have not survived such abuse.
    • See all the above. I witnessed and experience pre-mature sexual exposure and abuse at a young age. 

Ta-da. Trauma for me equalled a PATH to alcohol abuse and as follows alcoholism. It changed from using alcohol as a mechanism to cope and socialize and hide; it became my dis-ease of effect, habit and just general need for survival. I didn’t know any other way.

Now I have taken a sharp right off of the path I was on and it is good but there is a reason at 12-step meetings they say “keep coming.” I was semi-lucky with the help of good therapy to deal with my trauma but for those who haven’t rooted out their path’s beginnings it fears me and makes me sick with worry about the weight and complexity of dealing with addiction #1, those trauma roots #2 and the pain of being real #3. I am struggling now just with being me in my job and my family. I am feeling all sorts of new feelings. Sometimes I want to just reach inside my brain and toss it out in the trash but I keep going back to the “cause” and I just tell it that it came into my life and almost destroyed me in crushing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Alcohol will not destroy me either.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. – Buddha

 

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