THE ACE REPORT, ADDICTION AND A RECOVERY STORY.
ADDICTION AND THE ACE REPORT.
In 1997 after some thirty years of addictions to drugs, legal and illegal and anything else that would change the way I felt. I was thankfully introduced into a 12 step programme this was the beginning of my journey of change. I came to believe in the therapeutic value of one addict helping another and so I immersed myself in this programme for a number of years and I will always be eternally grateful for all the people that helped me in those early years. I have no doubts that it saved my life.
The one thing that I couldn’t understand was why some people relapsed and some died even though they seemed to be doing everything that was suggested and when I questioned it, the reply was usually along the lines of “it was their choice to use” or “they weren’t ready” I don’t buy that, there had to be another reason.
I didn't know then but I am now convinced that unresolved trauma is the real reason for addictions and also why so many people struggle to stay in recovery and even those that somehow stay clean in spite of these unresolved traumas still struggle to have any quality of life. They continue to act out in some other way to cope with some unknown internal struggle, trying to escape those painful feelings that cannot be shook off, some days.It has been described in many ways but it is the constant gnawing that leaves us feeling restless, irritable and discontented. If it’s left unattended self- sabotage might seem like a way out
My introduction to any form of treatment, if you could call it that, was to write a life story to include all the traumas that I had experienced and to read it out in a room of twenty or more virtual strangers that were also clients. It was perhaps the most brutal thing I can imagine but I did it because I believed I had to. The only positive memory I have of that event was that one of the counsellors an elderly guy called Patrick who could see how distraught I was said to me, " Just remember one day this will just be a story" I clung to those words because perhaps deep down I knew in some way that this is what needed healing in me. I had began to attend 12 step meetings and part of the 12 step programme, was step four where you not only look at those areas of your life but look at them in more depth with someone you trust, known as a sponsor. This was a lot more useful and was a lot more beneficial but I always knew deep down that they were far from resolved.
I really thought that as soon as I had finished those six weeks in the treatment facility my life would change. Little did I know that this was just the first step, I gradually I came out of the fog to realise that this was going to be a long journey. Why wouldn’t it be, after all I had been living this way for a long time. When I arrived home it hit me like a ton of bricks just how much I had neglected my family and home.
So began the journey to repair the damage and the search to find the answers to the way I felt, why I was still so angry and why my behaviours were so extreme sometimes. The library of self-help books was growing by the day but eventually came across some Energy Psychology techniques that changed my life.The technique that I found was Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)and later another technique to use with E.F.T. called Matrix Reimprinting. I think finally being introduced to the “mind / body” connection was the answer for me. The results were so profound I knew my past traumatic experiences had finally been cleared and as a result those feelings and behaviours faded away. It felt as if for the first time in as long as I could remember I could relax and enjoy my life.
Later I not only trained in these techniques but I set up my own business. My wife was so impressed in the results she saw in me that she also became a practitioner. Please check the rest of the site out if you would like to know more.
These are the techniques that I use for myself and those I work with. They are safe, efficient and evidence based, with over a hundred peer reviewed published studies.
THE ACE REPORT.
The ACE study. ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences, seemed to support everything I believed and more besides. This is not just about Addictions this information is, I am sure you will agree is something every teacher, Parent and Health Worker ought to be aware of. The possibilities of the impact this study could have on future generations is mind blowing! I am in the process of making this material available to my own adult children.
This report was a study of middle class families and more than 50% had a score of at least one Adverse Childhood Experience! So in that case we can’t be complacent about this. My score was six and it was by no means an exhaustive list. There were plenty of areas not covered by the ten questions, such as my younger brother being killed in a road accident when I was 12 years of age. This is not a criticism, merely an observation.
This is one of the biggest studies ever done on the correlation of childhood trauma and later health and well-being problems. This was conducted by the Centres for Disease Control Prevention and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.
This study involved 17,000 participants that were asked to answer ten questions regarding their childhood and the questions would cover abuse, neglect or family dysfunction. Now these people would be described as middle class, college educated and mostly employed. If they answered “yes” to a question it was classed as an “Adverse Childhood Experience” (ACE) and scored one. The results were quite shocking – here some of the statistics more than 50% had at least one ACE:
48% scored 0
25% scored 1 which is 1 in 4 people
13% scored 2 which is 1 in 8 people
7% scored 3 which is 1 in 15 people
7% scored 4 or more which is 1 in 15
Those with one ACE had an 85% chance of having more ACEs and the average would increase to be between 2.4 and 4 ACEs.
If you had a score of between 0-6 ACEs you were 500% more likely to become alcoholic.
If you had a score of 4 or more ACEs you were 1200% more likely to become an intravenous drug user. If the score was 6 or more the percentage increased even more.
Also 6 ACEs would increase the likelihood of attempted suicide by 3000% to 5000%.
These scores also correlate to the likelihood of suffering the top ten illnesses that cause death and those with a score of 6+ ACEs will die 20 years sooner than someone with a 0 score.
Although this study was made in America, the results are no different for us in the UK. Those top ten illnesses that cause death are the same for us!
Perhaps the part that I found as the most worrying was that as a result of the stress hormones in a child that is living in fear can affect the development of certain areas of that child’s brain. Those hormones, Cortisol and adrenaline interfere with the development of neural pathways. Video on ACEs
I believe that our body has an innate ability to heal itself, if it is given the opportunity. The body knows the answers all we need to do is to remember how to listen.
The new scientific breakthroughs in the fields of neural plasticity and epigenetics are revolutionising our understanding of healing.
As science continues to trace the biological pathways through which miraculous recoveries can occur, we have access to the information that can raise our levels of health and well-being. We have an opportunity to take responsibility for ourselves and not ignore the signs that something is in need of our attention. What’s more a lot of us, if not ignoring the signs that something is wrong, are running to the doctor at every opportunity wrongly believing that there is a pill for every ill!
Biofield science and healing is an emerging new frontier in health that is in contrast to allopathic medicine and the traditional talk therapies that are failing most patients.
These Biofield Therapies are combining Ancient Wisdom with these new sciences to create healing techniques that acknowledge the fundamental importance of the Mind Body connection.
I guess that for real change to take place there would need to be a massive paradigm shift in the thinking of so many professionals.
So now what??? Well I have set an intention to carry on doing what I can to help as many people as possible. The reason for this is simple. I have been shown a way to transform my life beyond belief! I have been blessed with a second chance. My life today is a million miles from where I came from. I am convinced the unresolved negative life experiences from my past were the root cause of my problems and what's more I intuitively knew this to be true. I know today that this not only allowed me to maintain my recovery with ease but also my health, relationships and career opportunities improved.
We are all energy, we are all connected that is a scientific fact! What I have learned is when I was self-medicating to escape something that I didn’t understand and spent years searching for that one thing that would make me feel “normal”. I had put my faith in things and as a result had become totally selfish and self-centred. This is where I became disconnected from not just my loved ones but humanity! I didn’t want to feel anything!
That was then and this is now!! I love life, every day is a new adventure (yes I have my moments) but I have everything I could wish for and that is because someone showed me what I needed to do and I did it. Now I spend my time working with people who suffer with unresolved trauma and speaking when asked on recovery and unresolved trauma.