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Friday, October 11, 2019

The Benefits of Compassion in Addiction Recovery

During addiction treatment, you will develop many new skills that will provide a solid foundation for your recovery. These include patience with yourself and others, perseverance, self-confidence, inner calm and optimism. One trait that might not immediately come to your mind, but that will serve you well in combination with the others, is compassion. Here’s a closer look at how compassion can improve your recovery.

Rebuild Damaged Relationships

Addiction can undermine even the strongest relationships. The compulsion to continue using substances, despite the negative consequences, can lead you to do completely uncharacteristic things like lying, stealing, missing work or school and being generally irresponsible. This behavior can hit friends and loved ones hard because they have every reason to believe drugs or alcohol have become the highest priority in your life.

When you finally seek help for your addiction, you may feel intense, lingering guilt for the way you behaved, and simultaneously frustrated when your family and friends are slow to trust you again. Compassion can come in handy here because it enables you to put yourself in their shoes and understand everything they have gone through because of the disruptive presence of addiction. Caring about their suffering allows you and your loved ones the space to heal alongside each other.

Forgive Yourself So You Can Move On

Even people who agree about the benefits of showing compassion for others may not think they deserve to have compassion for themselves. If you have reasons to be ashamed of your past, you may feel as if forgiving yourself will prevent you from making future progress. However, constantly tormenting yourself over the negativity in your past is futile. It keeps you trapped in a cycle of shame, instead of working on your self-improvement.

Many times, it is easier to have compassion for others, so it might help to picture your addicted self as a different person. Think of the hopelessness and desperation addiction causes, and be compassionate toward the woman who is going through that difficult time.

Do Your Future Self a Favor

Research has proven a link between self-control and empathy. Whenever you are facing a choice between an immediate payoff and a significant long-term reward, you are choosing between your current self and your future one. One way to think of self-control, then, is as showing compassion for future you. The ability to envision who you will be a month, a year or a decade into your recovery improves your chances of success at staying sober.

Compassion for your future self is invaluable. It helps you stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even when you’d rather sleep in. It gives you the willpower to consistently attend 12-step meetings, when you’d prefer to do something else. If you view every decision as a small act of compassion, you can create a brighter tomorrow for yourself.

Start Your Recovery Today

At Canyon Crossing, our mission is to help women get in touch with who they can be without drugs and alcohol weighing down their spirits and eroding their relationships with others. We accept most major insurance plans, and we offer many of the most innovative and in-demand treatment programs available in addiction recovery. Reach out to us to learn more about our women’s-only rehab center in Arizona.

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

Committing to a program of drug and alcohol recovery requires you to address the root causes of why you developed a substance misuse disorder to begin with. Those reasons are different for everyone, but for many people trapped in the cycle of substance abuse, there is a clear-cut connection between trauma and addiction.

How Does Trauma Lead to Addiction?

To begin to appreciate the link between addiction and trauma, you need a clear understanding of what trauma is. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration describes trauma as any event or set of circumstances someone views as dangerous or life-threatening. This trauma has lasting effects on their ability to function socially, mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally.

It’s essential to note that an event you perceive as traumatic may not deeply affect someone else. Understanding the definition is different for everyone can help shift the public stigma that still surrounds trauma. Domestic abuse, sexual assault, robbery, natural disasters and the loss of a loved one are some examples of traumatic events, but there are many forms of trauma.

Why Do Some Trauma Victims Turn to Substance Abuse?

Because of how trauma affects sufferers over the long term, it can be challenging to cope with the negative emotions and stressors that accompany it. This struggle can lead people to turn to unhealthy outlets, including substance abuse. In one study, 90% of residents in a behavioral health care setting reported having experienced trauma. For many, this trauma is often chronic and recurs over several years.

After experiencing a traumatic event, many people may view drugs and alcohol as a way to help mask symptoms like hypersensitivity, social withdrawal, depression and insomnia. At first, these substances may give you some semblance of control, but addiction will gradually inhibit your ability to heal and move forward. Over time, the would-be “cure” causes you just as much physical and emotional damage – if not more – as the original trauma itself.

How to Treat Trauma and Addiction

Trauma and substance abuse are co-occurring disorders that require simultaneous treatment to make a full recovery. In recent years, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has emerged as a promising way for addressing trauma. During EMDR sessions, your therapist will ask you to briefly relive stressful or triggering memories while they direct your eye movements.

The prevailing hypothesis about what makes EMDR effective is that remembering troubling events can be less distressing while you are focusing your attention elsewhere. Over time, the technique helps desensitize you to the impact the memories have on you.

Other effective techniques for treating trauma include dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.

Trauma-Focused Treatment for Women

A trauma-informed treatment program is the ideal choice for anyone dealing with the dual diagnosis of addiction and trauma. In providing women’s-only rehabilitation, Canyon Crossing’s mental health professionals create a space where our clients can learn to feel comfortable being open about their struggles.

If you need to rebuild your life and feel empowered again after experiencing the emotional and physical ravages of trauma and addiction, contact us today to learn more about our holistic approach.