Living a Meaningful Life with Trauma

When our past is troubling or full of painful experiences, we can struggle to move forward with hope for the future. Trauma is a common underlying cause of addiction. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, approximately 59% of young people with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) develop substance abuse problems. Developmental trauma, a form of trauma that a person develops during early childhood, can create relationship issues into adulthood.

How can we move past these events and find meaning in life? Traumatic events can make people feel like something was “taken away” from them–their innocence, feeling of safety, confidence, trust in others, ability to love, etc. Can they get these things back?

Treating Trauma After Getting Sober

Trauma specialist Elizabeth Davis believes that trauma can be treated in phases to help a person gradually learn the coping skills they will need to face their past. Alumni of Fire Mountain might have stabilized from addiction during their stay at the facility. If they have a history of trauma or trauma was the underlying cause of their addiction, they should include trauma work as part of their aftercare planning. If underlying causes of addiction are not addressed, then we can set ourselves up for multiple relapses.

Moving Through Trauma to Move Forward in Life

Moving forward in life and cultivating optimism means addressing the trauma that has been holding the person back. Trauma can impact a person’s ability to connect with others and live without the perceived threat of fear. By being brave enough to move through trauma, they can regain their confidence and high quality of life. 

The Importance of Stress Management

Managing stress is a critical prerequisite for diving into more in-depth trauma work. Painful memories and emotions are addressed during deep trauma work. The person needs to be prepared and equipped to handle distressing feelings and thoughts. Trauma work involves a lot of techniques from exposure therapies. The person will need to re-learn that their thoughts and memories cannot harm them in the present moment.

Treating trauma can include a few different therapeutic modalities and might be an intensive process in the beginning. For alumni seeking trauma treatment, the best time might be right after addiction treatment. A trauma specialist or your therapist can guide you through the steps. 

Treatment Options for Trauma

Some traditional modalities, like talk-therapy, can help treat trauma. Newer techniques, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), have been shown to be effective at repairing the brain after trauma. Trauma alters how the brain functions; as a person is constantly in a high-alert state, EMDR can help a person overcome this damage and move on with their lives.

Other therapeutic methods can be useful as well, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). With CBT, the person learns to challenge negative beliefs and thought processes. People with trauma tend to have a distorted view of themselves and the world. CBT can help the person identify and expose these thoughts, then test them in reality. CBT can be beneficial for individuals struggling with self-esteem.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), a type of CBT, can also help those with trauma. Though DBT was initially developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), people with trauma can also benefit due to some similarities in symptoms. DBT specifically helps people deal with emotional regulation, relationship issues, and “black and white” thinking (i.e., everything is either “all good” or “all bad,” with no in-between). 

Getting Support and Learning to Trust Again

The ability to trust others can be challenging for people with trauma. While they are working through their trauma, they can look for supportive, like-minded individuals to surround themselves with. Attachment issues are common among those with trauma in their past. 

Attachment issues can create challenges in developing healthy relationships. Many with trauma tend to seek out people who might not be healthy for them. By finding supportive environments and genuinely caring individuals, a person with trauma can learn to trust again.

Finding meaning following a past of trauma is possible. After treatment at a facility like Fire Mountain, alumni with trauma might want to consider specialized treatment to build trust in others again. Trauma can take so much away from those suffering. However, they can learn to heal from their trauma and inspire others to do the same. Those who move forward from their pasts can find meaning in their lives by recognizing that they are stronger than the negative thoughts they encounter daily.

There is hope for alumni of residential treatment to overcome their trauma. By finding a trauma specialist, you can dive deeper into the trauma work that you need to live a healthy, fulfilling life. After treating addiction and gaining new coping skills, you might be ready to face the challenges of trauma work. The only way to move forward is by moving through the pain. It is crucial that you are stable and healthy to begin intensive work in trauma therapy. Many treatment modalities can help to treat trauma and help you heal. You deserve to live your life without the weight of your trauma dragging you back down. If you are alumni of Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center and need help connecting to support, we can help you. As you know, you are always a member of our tribe at Fire Mountain. Reconnect with us today by calling (303) 443-3343.

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