Trauma and Addiction
The inability to cope with trauma and life crises has often got the person starting to self-medicate. This has resulted in the person becoming an addict.
Events that occur in an environment lived by a drugaddict usually lead to more trauma, such as assault, accidents, rape, etc.
Alcohol or drugs have suppressed the grief or symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress).
When you take away the drugs or alcohol the grief and symptoms come back.
In drug Rehab, it has been proven that the work alliance between the person receiving treatment and the person giving it is very important.
In order to be able to open up and tell someone about the things that are hardest to talk about requires building up a trust in each other.
This can take time. At the same time, the person has a hard time controlling drug cravings and the thought pattern that they develop as an addict.
Problem + Drug = no problem - problems later and when the problem or the tricky feeling pops up, you know that Problem + drug = no problem - problems later and then we have
the rabbit hole that is very har climbing out from.
In a treatment, it is important to give tools to the person and let him practice using these in a safe environment at first. I do not belive that an outpatient treatment with some therapy sessions a week could help. The person probably needs a longer treatment in a safe environment.
A very large part of these tools is the ability to confront ie encounter situations reminiscent of trauma without being so negatively affected by this so that he cannot cope with the situation. This takes time!
I have myself been involved in a heavy trauma 6 years ago where my former girlfriend was hit by a car that accelerated into us and missed me by a few cm. My girlfriend was torn out of my hand and was thrown up in the air and landed far from the place where the car hit her. The first thing I see while running against her is that one of her legs has been torn off. She died almost immediately. Killed by a drunk and drug-influenced person driving the car.
The days after I was not at all present, I could "wake up" in the middle of a street without being aware that I had gone out on it. I had no idea if it had been green light or if some cars were nearby.
After a while it got better but I still had a movie in my head that constantly played the event. Somehow I got stuck with some of my awareness in the trauma.
The grief that came was difficult to get through. I had sleep problems long after and a lot of problems with my mood.
If a person in this situation takes drugs or alcohol, some symptoms decrease and the grief may feel easier but you also get less aware, it is harder to get out of the emotions and pictures, they become stronger when you don't take drugs or alcohol, so the anxiety gets stronger.
Grief and trauma must be processed, drugs and alcohol just put a lid on it.
In order to handle this, the person needs to practice being here and now in the present time. Don't get stuck in the events of the past, such as the movie of the event being
played on repeat.
Make mindfulness resembled exercises where you practice being here and now.
Practice the ability to remember and watch the event and be able to handle the anxiety that comes up from it.
Learn to put your attention here and now.
Learning to let the movie play and then draw attention to things that are happening here and now. Get the distance to the trauma and don't get stuck in it.
At Narconon we have exercises that are called Objectives.
I felt these exercises helped me get the distance to the incident and the trauma. When you get distance to the traumatic events you will be able to start processing them in a better way and not be as much affected by them.