Drugs are not the gateway to other drugs, Unresolved Trauma is the gateway.
I have got to write this post before I lose my nerve and water it down. I recently shared a post that someone had shared on Facebook that made me realise that sometimes in life you just have to say it how you see it and so that’s what I am going to do in this post.
In the post that I shared it started off with:
“Unpopular opinion: Weed isn’t a gateway drug. Alcohol isn’t a gateway drug. Nicotine isn’t a gateway drug. Caffeine isn’t a gateway drug.
Trauma is the gateway. Molestation is the gateway. Neglect is the gateway. Rape is the gateway.
Drug abuse, Alcoholism, violent behaviour, hyper-sexuality, self-harm etc. are often the symptoms, not the cause of bigger issues and it nearly always stems from a childhood filled with trauma, absent parents and abusive families.
But you are all too busy laughing at the homeless the crackheads and meth addicts to realise that your own kids could be in their shoes In years.
Communicate, Empathise, Rehabilitate."
Any of you that have followed my posts will remember the one’s about the ACE Study. This was maybe the biggest study ever done on the long term health effects of unresolved childhood traumas and the majority of people have never heard of it. The outcomes were absolutely shocking to say the least.
This is some of the information from the Welsh Study but it is only a very small part of the study. The original one took place in America it was called The Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACE) and involved 17,000 volunteers that answered ten questions that covered physical, emotional and sexual abuse, it also covered neglect as well. They then tracked them for twenty years. What they found was having a high ACE score not only led to addictions, violence, sexual promiscuity and prison but it also contributed to a host of health issues and this included the top ten killer illnesses in the United States and that includes us too.
What I find so frustrating is that this Study was done in 1997 and although there are some organisations working on changing this there are some institutions that refuse to consider that they might have it wrong and people are dying as a result of their greed and dishonesty. I say greed because treating trauma can be expensive and so would hit profit margins. The dishonesty is that they know that in the majority of cases, that unresolved trauma is the root cause of addiction but choose to plough on with programmes that won’t work until the root cause is dealt with first.
When Dr Vincent Felitti discovered these findings he actually contacted Addiction Treatment Centres and said that they need to use this questionnaire as a screening tool but it fell on deaf ears. I would love to know if this has changed over the years but from my own enquiries it doesn’t look promising.
I worked in an addiction treatment facilities for a while and it wasn’t long before I started to believe that they rely on the revolving door principle. Surely if not the penny should have dropped that if you detox someone, introduce them to a twelve step programme and send them home and a month later they are back again that maybe it’s something else that needs addressing. I had no knowledge of The ACE Study at that time but I was filling out patient’s history in
Psycho/social reports where they would list their childhood experiences and not once did I see counsellors that were capable are willing to address Trauma. These people had spent thousands of pounds out of desperation only to be sent back out again to self-medicate the same problem they came in with in the first place. I couldn’t stand it in the end and left.
How many addicts are on methadone prescriptions and have been on them for years. When I was using I had a prescription for fifteen years, that was 30 years ago and it’s not changed much since, they might give different drugs and they might call it harm reduction but it didn’t take into account my behaviours and especially my behaviour at home all the unpredictability, mood swings and going missing nothing had changed I had just been given a drug that I couldn’t get arrested for but everything else remained the same for my long suffering family and eventually children and wives. This wasn’t just me this was and still is going on all over the UK and other countries.
These days they know that these Adverse Childhood Experiences are inter-generational so we pass them down to our children!
Is it no wonder then that we have an epidemic of addiction all over the world? When I think of all those addicts out there without a clue as to why they are addicted and can’t stop and on top of that they might be unintentionally sentencing their children to the same fate some years down the road.
I must say that it is not all bad news Public Health Wales are doing some amazing work. They work in schools training Trauma informed teachers to identify children who are showing behaviours that could be to do with trauma and today that might be at home, bullying at school or all the social media abuse. I must admit that this working with children is where the chain can be broken and children won’t have their destinies dictated by their past they are also approaching parents and informing them in areas that they might not realise could be harmful to their children.
I don’t know about the addiction treatment facilities. I know that some especially in the bigger cities are addressing trauma in their treatment plan but the one’s I have approached have not made an effort to implement a trauma resolution therapy.
Public Health Wales also did a Prisoners ACE Survey and found that 80% of the population had at least one ACE and almost 50% had four or more. So here’s a thought if these prisoners with the high scores are using drugs to deal with the pain of these Childhood Traumas, self-medicating to just numb out the thoughts and feelings, because that’s what I did and that’s what all the recovering addicts I know were doing, does that mean basically society is locking up abused children, because ok they might be adults but they are locked into those memories and feelings and when they take hold they are children again.
Why isn’t anybody realising that there is an opportunity and not only could they make a difference in someone’s life but treating those unresolved traumas on one person can have a ripple effect that can impact in so many lives and the community including not being a drain on the NHS.
I can testify to that through my own journey, for one thing I never go to the doctors, my family are happy and I help people the same way that I was helped. I know how lucky I am today, I really do and I just feel that the only way I can be useful is to keep saying what I believe to be true and helping where I can.
I see so many people that are suffering in different ways and are trying to cope in different ways but there comes a time when something has to change. It didn’t matter to me if my drugs came off the street or a guy in an office with a white coat on he was just another drug dealer to me!
Back then when I was trapped in my madness I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing and never knew there was a way out. Well I guess I need to make sure that anyone that finds themselves in the same or a similar situation to me will know that there is a way out and at least they then have a choice.
My life changed when I took responsibility for my life and getting well and took it out of the hands of the so called medical experts. I had to try something new and once I found it I then had to invest in myself and that was financially too. It’s strange I had wasted God knows how many thousands of pounds over the years and there I was begrudgingly handing money to my EFT Therapist that eventually turned out to be one of the few smart moves I had ever made.
When I took that step to trust this Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner to work on my Traumas, I had no idea what EFT was or if it would work but I knew that nothing else was working and so I just did it.
I came each week and one at a time she would work with me on these childhood traumas. She would just gently work through these areas of my life that had caused so much pain and suffering over the years and not just for me but for everyone I loved and cared for.
Now they have gone and they have stayed that way for a lot of years now and now I can enjoy my life. I actually like the person who looks back at me through the mirror in the mornings but do you want to know what the best part is for me?
I choose to be totally abstinent so I recently celebrated twenty two years in recovery. I am a “recovered addict” during that twenty two years I have never touched alcohol and I don’t take prescription drugs, I have been lucky enough not to have to visit the Doctor for a long time. So the best bit for me is that I don’t have to and I don’t want to put anything in my body to change the way I feel. I spent thirty years doing just that and today I don’t need to and I embrace all my feelings good, bad or indifferent they are precious to me.