I once picked a pill up off the sidewalk and popped it in my mouth.
I was just walking along. Not a second thought. Like Jack-in-the-Box. Pop. It could have been a dog-deworming pill.
I didn’t question my actions for a second. Instead, I remember being disappointed when nothing happened.
Many people turn to alcohol and other drugs to escape reality. It may be a way to find relief from issues related to work, relationships, finances, or a myriad of reasons.
But what lies underneath?
After years in recovery and as a recovery coach, I cannot remember a single person who did not experience at some point in life, and very often in childhood, either through abuse, neglect, or some other trauma, that the world was unsafe.
Not all women with addiction have experienced trauma growing up. But there is a significant correlation between addiction and trauma. Research reports an astounding 90 percent of women in treatment for alcohol problems at five Canadian treatment centers had abuse-related trauma as a child or adult.
Researchers have found that trauma increases a person’s risk for substance use problems. It is known as self-medicating when you want to escape or numb distressing symptoms like depression or anxiety. Alcohol may temporarily numb painful feelings, but the consequences perpetuate isolation and feelings of loneliness and can create further distance between you and your loved ones.
Many women who have experienced trauma are shallow breathers. You know -- holding your breath -- waiting for the shoe to drop. This is very often a response to trauma. Over time, shallow breathing becomes a lifelong habit without you realizing it. This robs your blood and organs of life-giving oxygen and hinders your healing by helping to keep your emotions suppressed. In my GendHer® course, I teach “effective breathing.” Effective breathing means breathing in and out at a rate that is comfortable for you. Let’s try it. It does not matter if you breathe in through your mouth or nose. However, when you breathe in, let your tummy expand, and then contract when you exhale. Think about how a baby breathes. It may help to count to four on inhale and four on exhale. Get into the habit of stopping to do this several times throughout the day. Set a timer if you need reminding.
Feelings of unworthiness
Trauma has a way of making you not feel good enough. If you grew up in a dysfunctional home, adults tend to be preoccupied with their own problems and cannot give their children the time and attention they need. When children feel ignored and unimportant, they internalize this as “I don’t matter.” This damages a child’s self-esteem and makes them feel unworthy of love and attention. If the cycle is not interrupted, children carry these self-limiting beliefs into adulthood and attract relationships that support these lies. The truth about feeling unworthy is that there are no qualities about you that exclude you from attaining the things you desire or deserve. It is a matter of FEELING deserving. Unworthiness is a deeply ingrained, self-limiting way of thinking and lives in a culture of shame.
If you can relate, please be kind to yourself. I welcome you to comment below or email me back and tell me which part of the article resonates most with you.
Do you need help dealing with the affects of trauma? My GendHer® program will help. Click here for more information on my next course.
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