Reaction to Trauma

Originally Published at Pasadena Villa

The underpinning principles of recovery are about improving our spiritual condition. But what creates the suffering in life that breaks down our spirit and thus, our spiritual condition? And how are the soul and the behavior connected to the spiritual condition?  The answer can be found partly in trauma and a person’s emotional and behavioral reactions to it.

What is obsessive dependence?

Addiction could be best described as an “obsessive dependence” on something to help bolster our coping. The choices are many as to what the focus of the obsessive dependence is. We know a few of the options are alcohol and drugs, sex and relationships, eating and food, gambling, shopping, money, internet or social media, or gaming. I even read once on a Hazelden poster that talking is one choice.  But even so, how does a person come to find their coping strategies for life’s trials inside these repetitions and obsessions? How does a person’s mental and emotional life become so small and locked in that the darkness somehow feels like the light?  When we factor in trauma, we can find more of a broad answer than just looking at a person’s genetics and family disposition toward developing an addiction.

What is trauma?

Trauma can be best defined as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience”.  It creates a soul wound. So, what is the soul? It is a person’s will and desires, emotions, thoughts, and mental processes. A traumatic event can affect all these areas of the soul so deeply that the behavioral patterns of a person are at the mercy of the soul’s condition. The behavioral “giving in” to the soul’s demands for comfort from the object of obsessive dependence creates the regular repetitive giving over of the person to be hijacked by his or her own psychological responses to trauma. To get to the healing, we must get to the root system that grew the obsessive dependence. The roots may be a taproot system in which one primary trauma processed or it may be an entire system of roots much like a tree root.

Of the psychological responses to trauma, the Big Five are anger, worry, anxiety, self-pity or depression, these parallel the issues one intensely grapples with in early recovery and to lesser degrees as the healthy coping develops.  If one takes a therapeutic approach to heal these Five, we identify the feelings and validate them and try to get at the root and work.