The Link Between Trauma And Relapse

between trauma and relapse

Relapse is common for people early in recovery. Emotions are raw, new feelings and experiences may be intimidating, and some triggers may make people feel like using. It’s well known that addiction is common among people who have experienced trauma. When this trauma, such as early childhood abuse or sexual assault, goes unaddressed, it causes a wound that can affect a person’s entire life.

Unaddressed trauma is a well-known relapse trigger for people who struggle with a substance use disorder. It’s common for people in early recovery to have symptoms of anxiety, depression, or even PTSD when they get sober. Research shows that people who have been diagnosed with PTSD are more likely to relapse when they experience symptoms of the disorder.

Why Is Trauma A Relapse Trigger?

When you have experienced trauma, either in your childhood or as an adult, you probably adapted your life to survive. Some people shut down and go numb in the face of anxiety, while others self-medicate to make themselves feel numb. The emotions, physical sensations, and even dreams surrounding the trauma can make a person feel like they are reliving it repeatedly.

Newcomers to recovery feel a roller coaster of emotions during and after detox. These emotions may be related to things that happened today or long ago. Trauma, hurt, and shame often rears their head in people who live with PTSD. Angry and frightened outbursts can also occur occasionally when people feel like they’re in the grip of a traumatic situation again.

The intense emotions surrounding trauma can make a person want to do anything to escape their feelings, quickly leading to using their drug of choice again.

Working On Understanding Trauma

Trauma is something that people in the addiction profession watch for in addicted persons. Therapy, medication, if needed, and self-care are all important ways to begin healing from the pain of past trauma. In treatment and therapy, you will start new relationships and practice trusting yourself and others again.

Being reminded of trauma may make you feel shameful or afraid. Trauma is nothing to be ashamed of; if somebody hurt you or something happened to you, it’s not your fault. Acknowledging the pain and hurt is essential to recovery. Shame is a normal reaction, but as you will learn, feelings aren’t facts.

In recovery, you will learn to love yourself and feel comfortable in your skin again. Healing from the trauma of the past takes time and willingness. Treatment can offer a safe space for you to begin the healing journey. The journey starts with deciding to stay clean.

Staying clean will mean learning to love yourself again and working on healing your self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. Working through the trauma will help you understand how it affects you today. If you need help getting help for your trauma, reach out and ask.

Sober Living Options

Trauma-informed therapy and recovery can help you thrive even when you feel your past traumas are overwhelming.

Recovery is available to everyone! Sober living offers a safe, structured environment to continue your healing journey and focus on recovery. Learn more about what we offer by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Many people who go to drug treatment have experience with a lot of types of therapy. However, one type of therapy that doesn’t solely focus on you is family therapy, which can be an important component of recovery. Your family members, after all, are a part of your addiction. Children are significantly affected by addiction in the family.

Family Therapy Focuses on Healing for All

Family therapy helps the people that love you learn to live with the “new” you. It’s also a way for your family to learn new coping methods and behaviors. People who enable you need to learn new coping mechanisms. They also need to have healthy boundaries with you.

Many people who are addicted to something have a family enabler. Did somebody always bail you out of jail or pay your utilities? Well, that person needs to heal too. They have given a lot of their time and life to your addiction. They may feel strange and even scared when you get sober. They may have expectations that you don’t know about or even resent your new friends or lifestyle.

Your child or spouse may have trust issues or fears surrounding your addition. Going to therapy as a family can help you learn what effect addiction has had on them, what they need from you now that you're sober, and how to repair those relationships.

Why Go To Family Therapy?

You may think that recovery is about you and your growth alone, but that is a selfish view. Your actions always affect more than one person.

Addiction is a family disease. You’re not responsible for the disease, but you are responsible for your recovery. Relationships can recover when you put in the work. People who love you may have been manipulated, stolen from, or verbally abused during your active addiction. That kind of behavior has a lasting effect on relationships, and it’s up to you to begin to make up for it and mend the trust. It can happen, and it takes willingness and time. A therapist can help you figure things out.

The goal of family therapy is to help people with their relationships and help repair wounds. When substance use disorder is part of a family dynamic, there are many wounds. The therapist and your family will talk about their perspectives and emotions.

Consider Sober Housing

Sober housing can be a vital springboard from treatment to everyday living. In a structured environment, you can begin to become more responsible as you focus on your recovery. If you’re not ready to go home after treatment, consider a sober living residence. You’ll have community and structure as you begin to rebuild your life in recovery.

Call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about how we can help.

If you are planning on getting sober, there are probably many things you have questions about. You may wonder why you can’t simply get the drugs out of your system and get on with your life. Unfortunately, addiction doesn’t work like that. To stay sober once you’ve rid your body of substances, you’re going to need some help. There are going to be changes you need to make in life to maintain your recovery. That’s where therapy can help you make choices about your recovery.

Detox and Therapy

Most people who are addicted to a substance need help to get sober. Your body and brain have been used to getting a certain amount of a substance every day. Because of this, you probably will experience some withdrawal effects. Detox is a safe and comfortable place that can help you through the challenges of your first few days or week clean and sober.

While you’re in detox, you’ll have the chance to go to group sessions and speak with counselors. You’ll be able to plan your next moves in recovery. For example, you may want to go to an inpatient program or try sober housing. You must get help from addiction professionals to help you find the right treatment plan to fit your needs.

Much of your first days sober will be an emotional roller coaster as your body and brain adjust to life without drugs. This is normal, and will pass after a week or so.

Therapy for Recovery and Healing

Once you’ve been sober for a few more weeks, you’ll probably be in another group setting. Group therapy is important because it allows you to learn more about yourself in a room of peers. You’re able to offer both your support and insight as somebody with similar experiences. You can also benefit from the insight from your peers and trained professionals.

One-on-one therapy in recovery can help you work through more personal issues. A therapist can help you learn how to cope with challenges in your life. They can also help you learn to cope with painful situations and problems as they come up in life.

Most treatment centers will help you by engaging in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which enables you to change your actions and reactions. You’ll learn more about yourself and how to live life on its terms as you develop a relationship with a therapist.

AA, NA, and Other 12 Step Meetings

Twelve-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous aren’t technically therapy, but they are a support group full of people who want to stay sober. Some of them have experience from years of sobriety, while others are new, just like you.

Twelve-step meetings are a place to meet others and learn what has helped them achieve long-term sobriety. They also offer fellowship and friendship if you go to them regularly. Most people in recovery make 12-step meetings a part of their daily life. The community can help you through thick and thin.

If you need help with a mental health disorder or substance use disorder, support is available! Seeking out a professional therapist, treatment program, or doctor to help you get sober is an important first step!

You deserve to reclaim your life!

Getting Help for Addiction

Are you looking for a sober living program? Our programs will help you get sober and plot your next step in your recovery journey. We offer a safe space for you to begin to heal and start your journey. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your opeions.


People coming from inpatient facilities often feel overwhelmed when returning to the “real world.” After all, treatment was a safe, quiet space where the addicted person was able to focus on their addiction, personal triggers, and other issues and learn to live without drugs and alcohol. Returning to everyday life can be jarring. Many people in recovery choose aftercare programs to help them adjust to their new life.

What Kind of Aftercare Programs Are Available?

Aftercare, like recovery, is built to help meet your needs. You have choices that can help you continue the building blocks of recovery. These include:

  • Sober living homes. These homes are structured and allow you to hold a job, attend outside therapy, and bond with others working toward the same goals. There are rules, but it’s not the same as inpatient treatment. You will probably have chores and other duties as they fit within your schedule.
  • Treatment center aftercare. Many treatment centers offer outpatient therapy to people who have completed their inpatient programs. Sometimes this is group therapy, but other options can include family therapy or individual therapy.
  • 12-step groups. Continuing to work your recovery program is the most important thing to do when you’ve graduated from treatment. You can’t do it alone, and 12-step programs are free, available, and highly effective. Most people who continue to use 12-step support groups after treatment can achieve long-term sobriety, even through life’s most challenging events.


Aftercare Helps You Stay Focused

Post-treatment life can be stressful and distracting from your recovery goals. Aftercare helps you continue to build new coping mechanisms. You’ll still be able to connect with peers, and you’ll be able to delve into deeper issues when the need arises.

Having a plan for staying sober after you finish your drug rehab is essential. You’ll need all the support you can get. Going to 12-step programs, working with a sponsor, and learning to live daily clean and sober are the bare essentials of continued growth in recovery. Other tools, like a sober living home, can give you the extra support you need as you start over in the world, free from alcohol and other drugs.

Interested in Sober Living?

Sober living is a great way to focus on your recovery as you begin to reclaim your life after treatment. You’ll make new friends, learn more about yourself, and have the comfort of living in a safe and sober environment. Learn more about your options by giving us a call at 760-216-2077.

With psychedelic induced therapies become more evident as well as researched, there is a controversial rebirth of interest to its attending PTSD as well as other mental health disorders. The substance use disorder field seems to push backwards, with strong sentiments against the abstinence based mindset overheard from 12 step programs. What are your thoughts and experience? I personally have seen youth recovery from substance use disorders being open to trying it as a detox and have rarely seen that interest in regular treatment. It seems to be uncovering an element of willingness, and the variable is one that seems more looking into. All comments are highly appreciated for we cannot stand with a mindset of 'We know it all' or 'This is how it is", with an epidemic running rampant and a need for all best practices to be shared and research to show what the true underlying variables to recovery are.


phone-handsetmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram