The Marriage between PTSD and Addiction
About the photo: When Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize (increase the status of) the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful!
With so many of us who became addicted, we are also, survivors. Going through a trauma, or a life of traumas has truly changed the neuro- pathways of our body and mind. It was not out of weakness, that the addictions came to invade, rather it was because of our amazing strengths that we survived the trauma, but were left with the residual effects of an altered body. Our amazing protective system of Fight or Flight, did it’s job, and ‘got us through’ the turbulence that threatened our safety. And for that, we got to live through it and be alive. Yet, for many of us, the next steps of healing did not happen. And that shift in body chemistry and neurology shifted how we then saw and experienced the world.
With this in mind and in my experience, I researched and wrote. The next paragraphs is an introduction into my recovery of PTSD and addiction, including some new science and medication that can help ‘cure’ addiction. Please read on…….
It is said that growth and evolution happen out of need. I know that to be true for me ........ now, and through other times of my life. As the pendulum swings .... I get to feel life's joys because I have learned to feel and process life's pain. Yet letting the pain be felt and assimilated has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. In fact, I have gone to enormous lengths to not feel the pains that life brought me, learning to numb, escape, and mutate my emotions, which created a deadened state within. My line of defenses came at a very young age and has wreaked havoc as the defense system took command. The system that once helped me survive the negatives ....... the childhood abuse and family addictions, began keeping me away from feeling the positives. I learned, as a child, that the world was not 'safe', so I did what all people do .... I sought after safety. I eventually found it when I found and fell in love with my soul mate, Jim.
Jim gave me safety in life, so I could focus on the tasks I had undertaken .... parenting, education, and career. We found each other, bringing together our families. We were a family structure, which had two strong pillars as part of the foundation. Yet the foundation was built of fragile material. That material fabric was PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - a diagnosable mental health issue). Mine originated from childhood traumas. Jim's came from some extreme childhood challenges and being 'boots on ground' combat in the Vietnam War. For us both, as the PTSD took command, we compensated the physiological shifts that happen from trauma, with use of substances (namely alcohol) to feel 'normal'. The use to feel 'normal' slowly, over time, crossed over and took up residence in the land of addiction. Exactly how and when this bridge was crossed is unclear. I believe we each had many years where we lived on the bridge between the lands, but in that time, want became need. We both became addicted. There was a time in our marriage where we sought out couple’s therapy, as we were going through some tough times. The 'couples therapy' part of therapy lasted a couple months, yet the therapist wanted to work with Jim on his PTSD. He agreed to try, even though he had huge reservations of the prospect of opening that 'can of worms' after 42+ years. He complied, yet wanted me to be present during the sessions. I asked him his reasons, and his reply was that he felt I was his rock, and that if I could hear and know what he had a hard time with, then it would bring us closer. ....... He is my hero, my soul mate. And we got closer.
In September of 2014, I lost my soul mate and safety to an untimely death. He left this Earth, transitioning back to the soul's realm. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. My safety was gone, and I was alone. I struggled daily with staying here on the planet, wanting to die and join him. A tragic accident a month after Jim's death, brought me cause to have to face my own level of addiction. This book is about my journey ...... of loss, PTSD and addiction recovery. Much of my story will ring true for many people who have found themselves battling PTSD .... and many who are also battling the co-morbidity of addiction.
Along with my story of recovery, I will share what I have researched about trauma, how it changes the physiology of the body, how it creates and perpetuates the use and abuse of substances that helps make that shift of body physiology feel 'normal'. I will share what I have learned about how to heal from these two diagnosis' together, and what to look for in a treatment program. I will share what I discovered in revolutionary treatment that ‘cures’ addictions, after the psychological wounds have been healed. I feel I was ‘gifted’ this treatment ‘lead’ from ‘the Heavens’. I had done so much healing with the help of my spiritual guide, Cindy, that it makes sense that the Divine Order felt I was ready to learn of a potential ‘cure’ for addiction. This lead provides a punctuating end to the journey of my addictions, and the rebirthing of my self.
My trek includes my spiritual growth and its influence on healing my PTSD and my tremendous loss ......... of Jim, my childhood innocence, and the lifestyle I had grown accustomed to in its familiarity. All who are reading ...... our stories are unique, yet the themes of PTSD, addiction, and loss, are universal to the condition of being human.
I hope my book can inspire you to gain your own healing. The book is titled Journey to A Safe Harbor, A Mind, Body, and Souls Journey of Healing Loss, PTSD, and Addiction, by Jeanette Orme. You can buy it at Amazon.com.
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