WHAT IS A TRAUMA-INFOMRED PHILOSOPHY?
Drugs and alcohol act as a form of armor, especially for those who’ve experienced trauma. Addictive substances fundamentally hide reality, telling a person everything’s fine and creating a comfortable, insulating layer, even when substance use is damaging everything around them.
Addiction itself is a traumatic state. A person caught in the cycle of substance abuse eventually hurts the people and things they value as they isolate themselves. Friends and family are neglected; jobs and other important life obligations are abandoned. Plus, a person caught up in drug and alcohol abuse also puts themselves at risk of serious injury and even violent crimes.
These acts and experiences are all traumatic, and people need time to recover from them.
Why Is Recognizing Trauma So Important In Recovery?
The combination of isolation and traumatic experiences is why it’s so hard for people to admit they have a problem they can’t solve on their own. Asking for help requires a person to admit they’re vulnerable; the word “vulnerable” literally means being in a position where you’re open to attack. and it’s why asking for help is often such a huge obstacle in treatment.
The Edge Treatment Center understands the important role vulnerability plays in recovery. Recovery is where a person’s deepest fears, truths, and thoughts are expressed in healthy, honest communication. To create an environment where real healing can take place, we took a carefully considered, two-pronged approach towards safety:
When people feel trapped, either by addiction, past experiences, or their current surroundings, they feel unsafe. The Edge firmly believes safety must be accompanied by a sense of freedom and choice. It’s why “no” is rarely an answer at The Edge. Instead, we listen and work with the people under our care to find the best way forward together.
Our value of freedom and safety extends to the unique way we developed our program schedule. Giving people the ability to choose their groups, their therapist, and even where they stay helps them re-establish a sense of control over themselves and their surroundings. Our staff plays a role here as well – by acting as companions, we’re able to make decisions with people rather than for them.
What Is Trauma?
The American Psychological Association defines trauma as exposure to threatened or actual events which involved serious injury, sexual violation, or death in these ways:
Studies have shown trauma is exceptionally harmful in children, resulting in substance abuse, mental disorders, and even chronic illnesses such as heart disease.
Trauma doesn’t always involve life-and-death situations, however. Smaller traumatic events include fights with family members, relationship problems, work conflicts, changes in employment, financial/legal issues, and more. While not exactly life-threatening, these traumas can make us feel helpless, particularly as their effects stack up.
Also, it’s important to note substance abuse and addiction can create many of these smaller traumas … and turn them into major ones. As we’ve said, drug and alcohol abuse doesn’t merely have negative health effects, the behavior can also put people at risk of traumatic, violent acts like robbery and assault.
Given the relationship trauma and substance abuse have to each other, a trauma-informed philosophy is critical to successful recovery.
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