By Nathaniel James
Many individual’s voices are quieted after a traumatic event and out of intense feelings of fear, shame, guilt and/or anger their voices are reduced to a mere “peep”. Quieting the voice of these painful memories pushes you into the dark abyss, leading you to believe that you are a black sheep, an outlier, strange or even deserving. However, at the same time “helps” you to maintain your composure, to endure and to carry on. Studies have revealed that early traumatic events can place those at a heightened risk for substance abuse (Fletcher et. Al 2014). The early trauma contributes to interpersonal difficulties, making it difficult for you to establish safe and trusting relationships. This lack of healthy relationships, the perceived inability to voice your story and inevitably intense emotions creates a need for an “out” through substances to manage the unmanageable, to cope while being alone.
Finding a therapist that is genuine, empathetic and that will hear your story to bear witness to your survivor narrative creates empowerment and brings to light that you are not alone. You are guided to understand your resulting behaviours such as the unhealthy ones (addiction) and the healthy alike, giving you a sense of regaining control in a healthy manner. A good therapist will help you to become more aware and understanding of your attachment styles, purpose and shortfalls, as well as will help you to develop strategies of self-care and identify healthy safe zones that are both emotionally and physically safe (Bryant-Davis, 2011). By recognizing that you are not alone will you finally allow yourself to heal.