Addictions, relationships that don't seem to work, unexplained fears, constant feelings of being different or just not belonging anywhere in this world; these are some of the many things that can stem from childhood trauma or from growing up in a less than functional family. As adults, we sometimes fear that we are stuck with the baggage we ended up carrying from our childhoods. Patterns that we inherited from our families can be so strong that we feel we are doomed to keep playing those patterns out in our adult lives. This is not true.
'Twas the night before the holiday, when all through the house
Every creature was stirring, even the spouse;
Tossing and turning, sleepless with fear,
In hopes that there will be no family drama this year;
Addiction encourages trauma and trauma can encourage addiction. This process becomes a vicious circle or negative feedback loop, with trauma contributing to addiction, which in turn fuels more trauma, which encourages still more addiction, and so on and so on. The Claudia Black Young Adult Center treats substance and process addictions, recognizing them to be primary disorders which reinforce each other and are often fueled by traumatic experiences. Here are some examples of how this process plays out:
I remember as a twelve year old, sitting alone in our living room after one of our by then typical family meltdowns …….trying to make sense of the pain and general devastation of our once very happy family……trying to understand how kind, decent and loving people could cause each other such unrelenting pain, how we could say the things we were saying, hurl insults, act out in anger and rage……I recall saying to myself “wars do these things to people, separate loved ones, wound hearts, tear families apart. But somehow we’re doing this to ourselves.”
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