Trauma therapy is something that no one ever wishes to go through. Unfortunately, many people go through various traumatic situations that affect them deeply. Often, trauma leads to addiction to drugs or alcohol, which is why addressing trauma is an integral part of addiction treatment. The idea of facing trauma head on may scare you, but while it isn’t an easy road, the outcome is a much better place to be than where you are now. It is a necessary step in your recovery process, both for recovering from your traumatic situation and from your addiction.
Trauma Therapy Explained
When you come to rehab, the first thing that happens is that you will meet with your team of doctors and therapists who will assess where you are to establish a baseline for your treatment. It is essential to be as upfront and honest with them as possible so that they can create a treatment plan that is right for you! This means that any kind of trauma you have experienced needs to be brought to light.
While this isn’t easy, it is necessary. It may seem daunting, but even getting your trauma out into the open will lift a weight off of your shoulders. Often, addicts keep these kinds of feelings bottled up inside, which results in excessive drug and alcohol abuse to mask the pain. It is important to keep in mind that traumatic situations are different for different people. Trauma can include anything from rape and assault to divorce or the loss of a home.
Once your evaluation is complete, you will be assigned to trauma therapy as a part of your recovery treatment plan. It is absolutely normal to be nervous about this, but it is important to remember that like everything in recovery, it is difficult but possible. Once a week or more, you will meet with your designated trauma therapist, and any past trauma will also be addressed in your daily or weekly regular therapy sessions.
How to Confront Trauma
The reason people ignore trauma and keep it bottled up is that it can be just too painful to face. When memories of a bad situation surface, people grab drugs or alcohol to numb things out. This causes addiction. The best way for you to confront past trauma is in a regulated, medically supervised setting. During trauma therapy, your doctors will be on hand to prevent a relapse and to talk you through healthy ways to cope.
Confronting trauma starts with exactly that – bringing the event to the surface. Yes, it is scary, but it is a necessary hurdle to get better. Talking about the event, whatever it may be, will bring your emotions to the surface. Without drugs and alcohol as a crutch, you can express your true feelings about your past. So will the depth of how much it affected you, that you may not have been aware of. Your therapist will be there to guide you, comfort you, and make sure that by the end of your first session you have a healthy way to express your anger, fear, or sadness.
As part of treating trauma, many doctors will suggest a hobby like writing or drawing. The idea is to become focused on the present and occupy your mindfully, so that you have a healthy way to “escape” the thoughts surrounding your trauma. It is an outlet to occupy your mind that doesn’t involve drugs and/or alcohol. Other great options include yoga and another gentle exercise.
Identifying, confronting, and conquering emotions that associate with trauma is what therapy is all about. When you realize that your past situations don’t need to dictate your future, it is a huge release. You are capable of overcoming anything that happened to you in order to facilitate a better future. For many, addiction is merely a symptom of emotional trauma. In order to conquer addiction, trauma must be addressed. During trauma therapy, you will get the tools you need to move forward safely, confidently, and without drugs and alcohol.