Many alcoholics and addicts experience very traumatic events in their lives, either in childhood or during their active substance abuse. The resulting emotional scars must be healed in recovery if we are to stay sober. We repress these memories and emotions in order to function in our daily lives, but this repression prevents real healing and our moving forward in life. You get stuck on the trauma even if you never consciously think of it, as your repressed emotions affect your decisions and actions in life. What can you do to work through trauma in order to succeed in sobriety?
Your best bet when it comes to successfully addressing past traumas in your life is to work with a professional therapist. During your time in residential treatment, you will be participating in one on one sessions with a therapist. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to open up about your traumatic past so your therapist can help you process the events and let go of the emotions tied to them. Obviously the first step requires honesty and courage, as you disclose to your therapist what happened to you. Take a leap of faith and trust that your therapist has your best interests at heart, and will not judge you or look down upon you due to your past actions.
Once you depart residential treatment, you should seek out a therapist so you can continue to receive care and guidance as you address your traumatic past. A therapist is a key part of your success in moving past your traumas, as they will utilize various treatment modalities in order to ensure all of your repressed memories and emotions are brought to the surface and processed in a healthy manner. Left to your own devices, even with the help of a sponsor you may not complete this important step in recovery. This is no fault of yours or your sponsors, you are just not equipped to take on this task alone. Finding and working with a therapist after treatment is crucial for your success in recovery if you are struggling with the traumatic events of your past.
Trauma is often a contributing factor to a person’s developing a substance abuse disorder, as they struggle to repress the memories and emotions they find too painful to address. It is crucial you work with a therapist to bring these memories and emotions back to the surface so you may process them and let go of them, otherwise they will continue to pervade your thoughts and actions which would be detrimental to your sobriety. Honesty and courage are required here, as you face your past and come to terms with it, letting go so you can truly live in the present. The rewards are well worth the effort, as you make peace with your past and progress in your recovery so you may achieve a life beyond your wildest dreams!