Many of us struggling with addiction and mental illness have a hard time being open and honest when it comes to discussing our traumatic experiences. We shy away from talking about them at all. We avoid the subject and change it as quickly as possible whenever it comes up. We keep our traumas a secret from even the people closest to us. We suppress our pain rather than confronting it. Talking about our traumas is something we don’t have much experience with, especially when we come from families who haven’t encouraged us to communicate our difficult thoughts and feelings. Many of us have been conditioned to think it’s a sign of weakness to admit we’ve been traumatized. We think continuing to be hurt and impacted by something that happened in the past means we’re inadequate, unworthy and inferior to other people who are happy and who have successfully moved on from their pain. Our trauma doesn’t just bring with it the weight of the grief and sadness we carry from the things we’ve been through, it also has within it all of the shame, regret, and fear we associate with it. We don’t want to look at these emotions and allow ourselves to feel them. It’s too scary and too painful for us. We don’t want to talk about it, lest it overpower us and bring us down. Our healing, though, requires we shift our approach to our trauma if we really want to make peace with it. Why should we discuss our trauma rather than avoiding it?
Confronting our pain is one of the most courageous things we can do for ourselves in our recovery. It enables us to access the power of our inner strength and our spirit. It allows us to be vulnerable and open, which lets us surrender to the flow of healing and transformation. When we’re facing our pain, it can help us tremendously to discuss it with other people, whether in therapy, in support group meetings, with sponsors, mentors, recovery coaches, loved ones, or all of the above. Talking about our pain helps us come to terms with it. It helps desensitize us energetically to the painfully debilitating emotions we’ve been avoiding feeling so that we can face them without feeling so afraid and so paralyzed by them. In other words, it helps take out the sting somewhat, so that we can address our pain rather than running from it and trying to escape it using our drugs of choice.
Discussing our trauma also enables us to receive the guidance, inspiration, wisdom, and support of people who can empathize with us and who understand our experiences because they relate to them. When we’re closed off, we can’t receive the abundance of love that surrounds us, but when we start to open up, little by little we allow ourselves to access it and feel the beautiful power of healing transformation.
Riverside Recovery understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.