Trauma Disorder or Trauma Response? Part 2

In part 1 you learned that your body has learned mechanisms of action that are keeping you stuck in addiction loops, may have you diagnosed with a mental disorder, and probably have you feeling pretty hopeless. 

Part 2 provides hope by providing a new lens of thinking about the trauma loop you are in (even if you still don’t consider yourself as having had any type of trauma) and what to do about it next. 

Disorder vs response

When we receive a mental health diagnosis or realize we are an addict, often it feels like a long-term sentence. It becomes a label that we are stuck with that cannot be changed and we begin feeling powerless. 

Sometimes a simple language shift can provide a new paradigm of thinking that begins the process of healing. 

What if you could think of your addiction or mental health disorder as originating from a response to adverse childhood experiences? 

So instead of slogging the label around of bipolar disorder, you have a bipolar response to how your body and brain deal with triggering experiences. Instead of carrying the weight and maybe even shame of dealing with a major depressive disorder, this is simply your body’s coping mechanism for dealing with an abusive family of origin. 

What if addiction could be viewed through a similar lens? 

You have a substance use response to traumatic experiences. It is how your body has elected to regulate the triggers, trauma, and adverse experiences it does not know what else to do with it. 

Does the fact that it may be a response vs. a disorder get you off the hook from healing? Nope. Not even close.

What happened to you is NOT your fault…

Trauma that happened to you, whether it was in your childhood, teenage years, or adulthood is exactly that… it happened to you. Most likely, you did not choose it, embrace it, or will it to happen. Regardless of the mental gymnastics we put ourselves through, we do not cause our own trauma. Trauma is something that happens to us. 

And trauma is not your fault…

The trauma you endured is not your fault. 

Yet, you have an opportunity to heal that is in front of you. That work of healing is your responsibility.

Your body and brain have worked for decades to keep you safe, to help you find some semblance of regulation, and to survive. 

If you have a substance use disorder, or are flirting with the hem of a disorder, there are likely some traumatic elements in your past that need to be addressed. 

  • Needs that went unmet
  • Wants that were suppressed
  • Developmental circumstances that were non-ideal
  • A family of origin that was, well, a hot-freaking-mess

It’s ok. Most addicts show up in recovery with a suitcase full of trauma that they have to unpack on their journey through recovery. 

If you are in pain, you are not alone, and you have an opportunity to heal the trauma you have experienced with people who can walk with you and guide you into sobriety and help you stay there. 

You don’t have to feel like this for the rest of your life, and you most certainly don’t have to go it alone. 

If you think you are struggling with an addiction and you are ready to get help, call us, we have counselors standing by

(760) 459-5575

If you are not sure if you are an addict, take one of our quizzes below.