April 14, 2015

The Transformation Factor: Addiction, Trauma and Recovery

This week, we continues our series with Rivka Edery, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. in which she shares with us the important transition we have to make from denial to acceptance.

The consequences of surviving trauma are complex, making it difficult to formulate a recovery and treatment plan. The most common defense mechanism, and the toughest one to work through, is denial. Throughout human history, lack of knowledge and non-acceptance of the perpetrators misdeeds has placed the suffering of survivors behind an armored wall, perpetuating traumatic effects.  No recovery can occur behind this wall of forced silence, ignorance and lack of helpful resources.

Over the last two decades, research has revealed the frequency of traumatic events, and their injurious effects on a survivor’s psyche.  Mental health professional have come to understand the connections between unresolved trauma and serious psychological problems.

The survivor’s decision to begin a process of healing begins with the admission of what happened to them.  This involves working through the defenses employed to shun from consciousness the excruciatingly painful memories of the traumatic events.  Having passed through this phase of remembering (in any way possible), the acceptance of the truth of the traumatic experience moves the survivor towards resolution.

Thus begins the creation of an internal, healing space for the survivor to feel what remained frozen in time, banished and unwelcome in consciousness.  By going through the felt experience, the survivor can let go and access healing. The way is open to be in charge and responsible, embracing difficulties as well as personal assets and gifts.

Over the course of each survivor’s life, there will be people who will criticize any efforts to acknowledge and heal from traumatic experiences.  Such nay-sayers accuse survivors of using their histories to live in the past or to make excuses for personal problems.  This criticism comes from those who have limited empathy, or may be in denial about their own mistreatment.

Qualified trauma specialists know that the stress from repression manifests itself in serious life difficulties.  The perpetrators themselves will often intimidate their victims in an attempt to enforce silence.  Although the absolute recall of traumatic events is not possible, the overwhelming consequences and burden on the untreated survivor deserves attention.

Please join me next week as we talk about Step One of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:  “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”  We will explore what, if anything, this step can teach us about trauma recovery.

Rivka Edery, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Social Science and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.  She is a highly intuitive and sensitive psychotherapist, with a private practice in Brooklyn, NY, and is a first time author specializing in trauma recovery and spirituality.  She has been active in the treatment and recovery field for more than eighteen years.  Since 2009, she has been working as a clinical social worker assisting clients who are recovering from trauma-related disorders.  She has treated numerous clients and has talked with hundreds of recovering addicts.  As her career was advancing, Rivka wondered if the ancient spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous could be applied to the healing of trauma.  One day, she was suddenly inspired with an idea that had a firm hold on her and has not let go since.  It combined the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous that saved her life, with life problems that are a result of surviving traumatic experiences.  The result is a unique approach for trauma survivors who are seeking a combined spiritual and clinical approach to their personal effects of surviving trauma. www.rivkaedery.com

Author of: “Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide”
To purchase my book, “Trauma And Transformation: A 12-Step Guide” (2013): http://goo.gl/o3BndU

My podcast, "Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide", is available at the iTunes Store, Microsoft Windows Zune, and other podcast providers. You can search using my name, book title, or key words.

Bi-weekly Radio Show Guest Host
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA)
“Stop Child Abuse Now" talk show.  Every other Thursday is SPECIAL TOPIC Night - "Child Abuse, Trauma and 12-Step Recovery". Please see our web page at: www.NAASCA.org/Trauma-12Step

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