What you do not know about recovery

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There are multiple signs that can help you identify and determine if it’s time to help your loved one begin their recovery journey. Knowing what to look for when you suspect a loved one is in danger from addiction can be extremely difficult if you are not familiar with this disease.

Addiction is a disease; the medical community has been able to label it as such given the research that has shown actual differences in the addictive brain versus the non-addictive brain. It’s progressive, chronic, and potentially fatal if left untreated. Recovery cannot be accomplished without outside help, even though it is common for many struggling with addiction to ‘bare knuckle it’ meaning to try to recover with only their will as the driving force.

Entering into a treatment program is an essential step in the journey towards recovery. Treatment provides the tools, steps and support necessary in ones road to recovery.

What many do not know about recovery is how treatment works and what needs to be focused on in order for an individual to be successful. A common misconception for those entering treatment for addiction is that success in recovery is defined singularly by sobriety (getting clean from substances). It’s often assumed that once the drugs and alcohol have completely left their system they will get their life back again. Unfortunately, that is not the only part of the equation and sobriety does not in fact equal ‘recovery’ or the achievement of the life they have desired for so long. This is actually a common cause of relapse in many cases. As you can imagine, it is incredibly frustrating and depressing to go through the difficulty of getting sober and going through withdrawal only to find that the misery, shame and lack of value in those struggling is still present. Sometimes this can cause a complete lack of hope for any chance at true recovery. So, what is the missing piece? How can they accomplish their goals and fulfill their desire to live in recovery as a happy, healthy and whole individual?

One of the major sources of continued addiction is childhood trauma. In fact, according to the Gateway Foundation, people who have experienced trauma as children are five times more likely to suffer from alcoholism. The missing piece of the puzzle is actually digging in, dealing with and resolving that trauma. While not everyone struggling with addiction has experienced trauma in their lives, the percentage of those who have represents the majority of this population. Unresolved trauma keeps people ‘sick’; it keeps them from finding happiness, freedom and a sense of feeling whole as a person. A common agreement is that this disease is more than drugs and alcohol. It is so much more than a physical dependence or an increased tolerance. The addicted individual must get sober and deeply commit to resolving their trauma and releasing its hold on them to accomplish their goals.

There are several ways to treat trauma effectively, though it takes fortitude, emotional courage and commitment from the person going through treatment. A few of these include:

- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)

- Narrative therapy

- Cognitive therapy

- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

This list is comprised of treatment approaches that are used in talk therapy. In some cases, medication might be considered as an option as well. A new approach to resolving trauma is called accelerated resolution therapy (ART), and this option departs somewhat from what we typically think of as talk therapy. This evidence-based technique is known as the art of rapid recovery. A common quote from ART is ‘keep the knowledge, lose the pain’. One of the more unique aspects to this therapy is its ability to treat trauma, and other mental health struggles so quickly. According to the ART website, studies show that clients are experiencing relief in as little as 1-5 sessions. This treatment utilizes eye movements in order to change the negative emotions associated with traumatic memories; the result is that the memory is still intact, but no longer has the emotional and mental impact on the individual.

Luckily for Kentuckians struggling with addiction, this treatment option is available here in the Bluegrass. Roaring Brook in Lexington, Kentucky, focuses on treating the entire picture and is dedicated to helping resolve those traumatic experiences. To begin your journey to recovery through treatment like ART and/or several other trauma treatment options, click here to speak with one of our team members or make an appointment.