“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”
— Pema Chodrön
Substance use disorder can begin with occasional alcohol use, experimental use of a recreational drug, or even prescription medications, often as a way to escape from emotional or physical pain. If you start using the substance more frequently, you can end up unable to control your use, even if it’s causing you harm. Over time, you may find you need larger amounts or combinations of substances to get the same effect. Trying to stop substance use can cause withdrawal symptoms, like intense cravings and illness. Overcoming substance use disorders requires a commitment to your recovery process, help from health professionals, and your support network.
There is a reciprocal relationship between the mind, body, and brain, and working on all three is essential for lasting recovery. At Hills, we assess your brain function and target the underlying symptoms of your substance use disorder to help you stop taking substances. Then, we use multiple therapeutic techniques to help you change thinking and behavior patterns, as well as to help you build physical and emotional flexibility and connect with nature. The result is that you can break free from substances, live a life based on what is meaningful to you, and make valuable connections with nature and community.
Following trauma and adverse life events, some people seek relief from emotional pain through the use of alcohol and drugs. Substance use temporarily relieves discomfort, but eventually, you need more of the substance. Withdrawal symptoms cause emotional and physical symptoms, leading to more substance use. Often, substance use leads to further losses, emotional and physical pain, but now your brain, body, and mind are less able to cope, causing additional substance use. Approximately one-third to one-half of severely traumatized people develop substance use problems (Sokhadze, Cannon, Trudeau, 2008). The healing starts when the trauma and substance use disorder is addressed. Therefore, at Hills, we focus on recovery from trauma and addiction to break this painful cycle. Free yourself from the past by living fully in the present, one hill at a time.
Trauma causes emotional and psychological pain and shame.
Person self-medicates with drugs, alcohol, food, etc.
Unresolved trauma and drug use control the inner world and negatively impact relationships, work, and happiness.
Emotional and psychological pain and shame worsen, and drug dependence weakens the ability to address issues.
Increased physical tolerance creates a need for larger amounts and combinations of substances.
Substance use controls a person’s life, and challenges get more overwhelming and harder to address.
Adapted from: Dayton, T. (2000). Trauma and addiction: Ending the cycle of pain through emotional literacy. Health Communications.
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