2 thoughts on “Addiction and Adverse Childhood Experiences, Part 1

  • August 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    what does “heal” mean and how does one do it?
    I am a child/adult of complex abuse who went on to be a drug and alcohol user. I’ve been sober now for a long time and had the help of a great rehab and counseling where I discovered my family roots and where all of my shit came from. A lot of acceptance happened for me, as in it happened and I can’t change it, I allowed myself to grieve and feel my pain. What’s left over is gratitude, a love of the simple things, but I cannot be around people who remind me of my family. There’s billions of them. I can’t be in the workplace with bullies and narcissists. So I wonder sometimes “have I healed”?

    • August 9, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      hi Kim, this is such a great question! Glad to hear that you have come so far on your journey. It sounds like you captured the essence of healing: You have felt the grief and the pain and the loss, and you’ve also come to a place of acceptance and gratitude. You haven’t skipped over the hard parts; you’ve come to a place of hard-earned peace.

      And yes, at the same time, it is possible to still feel triggered by people who remind you of your family. It’s not either/or, but both/and … you’ve healed a great deal, AND you sometimes feel triggered.

      If it’s helpful, perhaps you can frame these encounters with challenging people as the next step on your healing journey. To quote the Principles of Spiritual Psychology, “All ‘upset’ points to unresolved issues. Unresolved issues are not bad, rather opportunities for spiritual growth.”

      By all means, avoid unhealthy and dysfunctional dynamics whenever possible … but when you can’t avoid them, it’s a chance to offer kindness and compassion to the part of yourself that’s hurting. It’s a chance to apply love to the parts of yourself that hurt, and thus to heal on an even deeper level.

      In closing, this quote from author and trauma survivor Alice Sebold speaks to your question:

      “…Letting go of the notion of healing as a final destination is, ironically, the surest way to heal …. I like the name of Dan Savage’s project for struggling LGBTQ youth: It Gets Better. That’s the only level of promise I’d be comfortable endorsing, with the added bit that for periods of time, it can seem worse …. To heal from trauma means to face your pain and loss while simultaneously seeking solace and, at moments, finding joy. Doing this on a day-to-day basis is how you survive. Healing is an active state, not a destination. In that light, and no other, it’s a beautiful thing.”


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