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Trauma Drama – How to Handle the Next Crisis

We all have to deal with trauma at certain times in our lives. However, many of us are more sensitive to traumatic moments in our lives or in the lives of those around us. For many that have experienced abuse or trauma, whether in childhood or adulthood, dramatic or traumatic events can cause serious psychological stresses that can push them back into the vicious cycle of substance abuse. Whether it is emotional, psychological or physical trauma, we have some tips to deal with one of the most common issues affecting recovering addicts…

  • Build a support structure. Giving yourself the foundation upon which to build a crisis management mindset is critical. This means pulling together all of the support tools you have built over your time in and since recovery. This may include supportive family, your recovery facility, friends, your sponsor and support group peers. Having these people around you and being able to rely on them is an important part of long-term recovery.
  • Have an action plan. It may be a call to your sponsor, speaking to friends or loved ones that understand your needs and can help, or a plan for coming back to rehab for inpatient or outpatient therapy. Developing your plan during times where you’re not under stress offers a better chance to implement the plan during tough times. Further, knowing that support and help is out there makes dealing with crises far less daunting.
  • Have a safe place. While having a safe place to go to during a crisis event is particularly important for physical trauma, it’s helpful for psychological and emotional trauma as well. Having a “safe place” can offer refuge from the stresses and dangers of the situation you find yourself in.
  • Accept that bad things happen. Many of us go through life hoping that bad things won’t happen to us and lamenting our situation when something doesn’t go our way. Rather than sticking our heads in the sand, we must be masters of our own destiny by accepting and appreciating that life has its ups and downs. With that being said, we must also recognize that certain things are out of our control and while it would be great for life to be perfect, we have to let go sometimes.
  • Volunteer. Spend time volunteering at charities or organizations that deal with other people’s traumas. For example, shelters for victims of domestic abuse or programs addressing PTSD in military and non-military people often need volunteers to help. Understanding that there are people who worse off and appreciating what you have is a great byproduct of helping others get through the most difficult times of their lives.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the thought of a possible crisis or that you are not able to cope as well as you would like, there are specialized programs and therapeutic protocols to address these issues. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to take advantage of these programs as they can offer individualized target treatment that really works.

And of course, if you should relapse during a traumatic event, know that recovery is a fluid process and virtually everyone in recovery has lapsed or relapsed at some point in their lives. Seeking out the appropriate support system and having caring people around you to help you through it is the best way to manage your next crisis.