Transcending your Trauma

One step at a time

As an addict in recovery, I know a few things about trauma. I’m no expert on the subject because someone has always had more traumatic experiences than I have, but it’s not a competition. I think we all lead hard lives to some degree, whether in recovery or not.

When trying to overcome my past, I realized that this was going to be an inside job. No one else was going to “fix” me but me. Therapy only goes so far. I have to do the work to promote my own inner healing ~ and it’s an on-going process.

First, I had to accept the fact that I was traumatized. A lot of us refuse to eat this slab of acceptance pie. Sometimes, we don’t remember the exact details or we have blocked out the truth because it was just too damn painful to acknowledge. Sometimes we don’t see it as trauma at all because it was normal to us because we had nothing to compare it to.

What is trauma anyway?

Trauma often stems from events that take us away from feelings of safety and security. Many times we first experience trauma as a child. I think all children need structure and security in their lives. Just because I know that now, doesn’t mean I’ve always practiced what I preach.

As an addict in recovery, I traumatized my own four children with my drug use. I fooled myself into thinking that because I didn’t do drugs in front if them, that they would be none the wiser. With drugs, often comes domestic violence and crime. Check. And check.

My children deserved better. When I eventually went to prison for a drug motivated theft, they were placed in the custody of their paternal Grandmother. They were uprooted from their lives and their homes and moved to a new state. This was traumatic for them. This is trauma that they’ll have to confront as they grow older. Trauma I caused.

That’s a hard pill to swallow. … yuck.

Children especially have a hard time discerning trauma because they have an innocent unconscious desire to see everything as being all right. Children process pain but feed on a mechanism that suppresses the reality of their enviornment. This is how they survive day to day life emotionally.

As adults, we have to break through the magical curtain of belief that everything in our childhood was “all right”.

Once I stopped denying my own trauma, I had to identify the nature of it. JFC. Seriously?! Ugh. I was mentally combative at this point.

Was it on-going or intermittent? Was it at home or at school? Was it physical abuse? Verbal abuse? Neglect? Who was involved?

O.M.G. … Enough questions already. It’s a process and it’s not easily confronted. *sigh* Once you do find the answers to these or your own questions, then what????

For me ~ it’s …

Acceptance and Amends.

To move past the trauma I’ve experienced and the trauma I’ve caused, I had to accept that things are what they are and my addiction will keep me stuck in my guilt if I don’t move towards daily amends.

What does that look like?

I don’t know.

It changes day by day. It’s personal and it’s ever morphing into something new. As long as I do the next right thing or at least strive to, then it’s progress.

Maybe you have no amends to make. Maybe YOU didn’t hurt anyone. Maybe you were just a victim.

Hey, it happens. We don’t have to take responsibility for the pain someone else caused. Nor should we.

Let me be clear.

We should NOT take responsibility for the shame that lives within someone else.

So now what?????

Talk to someone you trust.

Talking is part of the healing process. Don’t want to talk? Journal. If you’re comfortable sharing, write here on Medium. It’s an outlet. Sharing your deepest pains brings those fears out from the world of the unconscious, into the conscious. Once this happens, healing can begin.

We are all in this together.

One hand washes the other.

I’m here for you.

Thanks for reading!

*photo by artist Davide Ragusa via Unsplash