The emotional link between trauma and addiction

Updated: Apr 15, 2019

Addiction is usually thought of in terms of substances: alcohol, cocaine, opioids. But it can take less obvious and more socially condoned forms, like work, wealth and status. A lot of the issues that we face in our adult life can be traced back to our childhood, and how we connected to our families and the role that we played. Our success, personal development, well-being, relationships and financial status are greatly affected by the subconscious imprints that we carry from our family, our ancestors and our childhood.Addictions can be physical or emotional in nature. For example, many people drink alcohol or take drugs to loosen. Other may stay busy watching a lot of television.

These are examples of addictions of a physical nature. An example of an emotional addiction can be trying to be a high achiever because the times that we achieved as a child were the times that we felt loved by our parents. Another example of emotional addiction is the need to please people. Or, we may feel the need to receive approval from people, as it helps us avoid our fear and sorrow of not being loved. As already mentioned previously, addiction has its roots in childhood trauma. Trauma is something that happens inside. Rather than a specific incidence of abuse or toxic dynamics within a family, trauma is the loss of some essential part of you, like a sense of peace, vitality or presence.The thing about addiction, workaholism included is that it’s never quite satisfied. Like any problematic repetitive behavior, being addicted to work, validation, or success. ''The goal of addictions is to help us avoid feeling the emotional pain'' 

Addictions are generated by two main reasons:

1. To get a feeling from someone because we feel we lack that feeling inside of us e.g. a sense of worth.

2. To avoid a negative feeling because we don’t want to feel the pain inside of us that it relates to e.g. we get angry if someone doesn’t treat us well, because it makes us feel unloved.

They are layers of emotions within us that help us to avoid our fear and our grief. They are the so-called “subconscious” patterns of emotions that drive our behavior and actions. However, it is possible to become completely aware of them.Fear ranges from feeling un-relaxed and unsettled, too anxious, stressed or worried, to feeling terrified. Grief is the overwhelming sadness and sorrow that is within our souls.

The emotions in our souls are in layers:

o Grief is at the bottom

o Fear covers our grief

o Our addictions cover our fear

o Anger covers our addictions

When we are angry we are denying a fear.When we are afraid we are denying grief, ''Our addictions cover up our fear and our grief so well that most of the time we can no longer tell that we have fear and grief in us''.

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