TSA, June 12, 2017
We exist to encourage people to resolve trauma in a healthy, lasting and functional way. We are a group of people who have endured abuse and/or trauma at some point in our lives. Some of us grew up in abusive, alcoholic or neglectful homes and sustained trauma on a daily basis until we left, often leaving at a very young age. Others of us endured rape, were held hostage, witnessed severe violence or were involved in war. Many of us who lived through childhood sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse found that we became victims again as adults. Many of us developed addictions to drugs, including alcohol, food, sex, gambling or something else as a way to not feel the pain of our trauma.
While our backgrounds vary in type and duration of trauma, we are very similar in the effects and consequences of that trauma. We develop dysfunctional thoughts, feelings and behavior. We have difficulty with relationships, acquire addictions and compulsions, become hypervigilent and struggle with anger, fear and grief. Some of us become very successful on the surface; others never finish school, maintain a job or sustain relationships. We avoid emotional intimacy and remain prisoners of our own histories.
Those of us who enter recovery from an addiction usually become more functional. If we work a 12-step program, or other program of recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive overeating, sex addiction, workaholism (constant busyness) or another addiction, we may find hope and even peace and joy. Or maybe the 12 step program that fits for us is ACA, Alanon, Coda or SIA; some of us landed in a religious program such as Celebrate Recovery, or an anti-religious program like Rational Recovery.
We may have been to either inpatient or outpatient treatment for addiction and/or trauma, PTSD or other issues and/or had years of therapy.
We may have read lots about recovery, worked our recovery program and internalized it, dealing with resentments and making amends, remaining active in recovery for months, years or decades.
At some point, however, we find that the old pain from our past trauma resurfaces. We may be a decade or more into our recovery when our abuse memories emerge or reoccur and are stronger and more painful than ever. A child or grandchild reaching the age at which we were abused may trigger issues we thought we had dealt with. Or a conflict in our marriage or at work could activate our realization that we have undealt with inner pain and distress. We begin to feel as if we are new in recovery. We become irritable, angry and frightened; or maybe we develop genuine, clinical depression and become suicidal. Or we realize we are anxious, unable to sleep well and disgruntled. Joy and peace elude us and are an old memory at best. Something is missing.
We have worked our program to the best of our ability. We have developed a relationship with a Higher Power. Our lives look good on the surface, but something is lacking. This is a common pathway followed by many trauma survivors. Your journey may be different, but we believe most of you can relate to much of what is discussed here. Our lives are like roller coasters, with a long, slow climb up to some level of harmony and happiness, a climb resulting from significant work on our own healing and then a rapid drop into severe hopelessness, pessimism and doubt. This pattern may have repeated many times, or may be new. Either way, we want more: more joy, peace, emotional comfort and spiritual fitness. If you can relate to any of this, it may be time to engage in another level of recovery. TSA, Trauma Survivors Anonymous offers encouragement and support to peel off another layer of the onion and find another level of recovery.
Copyright, TSA 2017