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LiterateParakeet

Article: How Dealing With Past Trauma May Be the Key to Breaking Addiction

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4 minutes ago, Vort said:

My tendency to agree with what I understand you to be saying here is tempered by experiences of those close to me. I am intimately familiar with a man who is both one of the smartest people I have known and also one of the most filled with integrity. Yet this man says he has never felt the Spirit. He was promised on his mission and afterward (and before) that if he did X, Y, and Z, he would gain a testimony. He did X, Y, and Z, and still feels he doesn't have a testimony. I have tried to tell him that this and that event in his life IS a testimony, but he says he has never recognizably felt the Spirit. I can't gainsay him; he is an honest a man as I know. So where does that leave us? He serves faithfully in the Church and is married in the temple. But sometimes he feels hypocritical, or something approaching that. He has never lied to his mission or stake president or bishop, and is quite open (to them) about how he feels and how he doesn't feel.

I want to believe that if you do Thing X, then Result Y will inevitably occur. That seems to be what the scriptures teach. Yet my own experiences and those of people close to me suggest, at the least, that there is some subtlety to this, and that at the very least, it's not as cut-and-dried obvious as we tend to think it is.

I wonder if we adequately teach people how to feel the Spirit or even how to recognize it.  A problem is that when people talk about "feelings" they often say it in terms of emotions or physical sensations.  Sometimes it is.  I'll even say "often".  But it doesn't need to be that way.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

he is an honest a man as I know. So where does that leave us?

That honesty isn't key to the validity of anecdotal evidence.

1 hour ago, Vort said:

I want to believe that if you do Thing X, then Result Y will inevitably occur.

I think the "Thing X" is, as suggested by calling it "X", a variable. But it is a variable that is contained within certain ideas. That some people need to do more work than others is a given of life.

I also wonder about people's willingness to receive certain things being a factor. The Lord may well give certain people the same experiences, but the one takes it as a sure witness and the other remains skeptical. I don't know how that will play into judgment day. But I suspect the openness in accepting things the Lord has given us is a pro.

1 hour ago, Vort said:

I can't gainsay him; he is an honest a man as I know.

I only know that I trust the Lord. As for my fellow man -- experience has led me to be wary.

I know what the Lord has promised. I believe it. A thousand thousand of my fellow men can claim these promises are not true and I will still believe they are.

Ultimately I return to my first response in this reply: Honesty isn't key to the validity of anecdotal evidence.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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20 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

honesty isn't key to the validity of anecdotal evidence.

I wonder what is.

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7 hours ago, Vort said:

I wonder what is.

Well the question's actually flawed. There is no key to the validity of anecdotal evidence. It's not particularly useful -- especially when it comes to things of God.

The question, in my mind, is upon which arm do we rely.

Now that question has an easy answer. ;)

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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16 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

From the article:  "Whatever it is I’m addicted to, or ever have been addicted to, it’s not what it is but what it does – to me, to you, to anyone. He believes that anything we’ve ever craved helped us escape emotional pain. It gave us peace of mind, a sense of control and a feeling of happiness.

And all of that, explains Maté, reveals a great deal about addiction, which he defines as any behaviour that gives a person temporary relief and pleasure, but also has negative consequences, and to which the individual will return time and again. At the heart of Maté’s philosophy is the belief that there’s no such thing as an “addictive personality”. And nor is addiction a “disease”. Instead, it originates in a person’s need to solve a problem: a deep-seated problem, often from our earliest years that was to do with trauma or loss."

Link to article from The Guardian here

I think this is so true of many addictions these days...  @MormonGator  This reminds me of Sebastian Flyte.  :)

Thoughts?  @Jane_Doe,  @NeedleinA, @askandanswer ....anyone else?

In my experience/observation most addictions are fueled by something inside that person being broken.  It could be broken from a big traumatic event, or maladaptive habit/view, or something else entirely.  When that inward broken part is hurting, it's so easy to seek out a quick "feel better fix".  

A central key to breaking the cycle of addiction is to come to better know yourself: understand the inward thing that hurts, why/how you move to the quick "fix", and the damage that "fix" causes.  Then learning how to 1) work on healing that inward hurt while simultaneously 2) developing better coping mechanisms for hurt.  

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9 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

In my experience/observation most addictions are fueled by something inside that person being broken. 

Right. Most addicts, especially the hardcore ones, don't want to be addicted. They just want the pain they feel to stop. The brutal truth is that most drugs work the way they are advertised. They take your mind off life for a few minutes and make you feel good. Then, once you get hooked, it stops making you feel good when you use and just makes you feel bad when you don't use.  

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13 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I know 3 or 4 people in my life who are or have been addicted to drug or alcohol, and many, many more who have been or are addicted to pornography or the like (though I think using the term "addiction" in many of these cases is flawed in itself...but that's a different point.) None of them come for a "trauma" situation that I'm aware of.

Or perhaps you're a sociopath and incapable of recognizing their trauma.  Or maybe none of them trust you enough to tell you.

I find it hard to believe you - or anyone - could know multiple people who lead such charmed lives since birth that they've never experienced even one significant traumatic event.  Frankly, if I found such a person I'd be tempted to beat them until they had that one to fall back on, just on general principle.

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10 hours ago, SilentOne said:

The right arm, for most of us.

HAH!

My father is left-handed.  We bought him a T-shirt for Father's Day.  It read:

Quote

I may be left-handed.  But I'm always right.

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8 hours ago, NightSG said:

Or perhaps you're a sociopath and incapable of recognizing their trauma.  Or maybe none of them trust you enough to tell you.

I find it hard to believe you - or anyone - could know multiple people who lead such charmed lives since birth that they've never experienced even one significant traumatic event.  Frankly, if I found such a person I'd be tempted to beat them until they had that one to fall back on, just on general principle.

I have 3 cousins who were practically my brothers and sisters, we were that close, who were drug addcits.  The husband of one of those cousins also became a drug addict.  If there was trauma in their lives, it wouldn't be anything worse than the trauma in my brothers and sisters lives.  No, they didn't become drug addicts because of trauma.  They became drug addicts because they became friends with drug pushers.  I have another cousin, not as close.  1 of 7 kids in the family.  If he had trauma, it wouldn't be anything the other 6 children wouldn't experience.  He got into drugs through one of his classmates.  He put on a cape and jumped to his death from his 2nd story room's window thinking he's superman.

I have several more in my family that got into drugs - all because of who they hung out with.  This is the problem in the Philippines.  These are not traumatized kids.  These are kids with a culture of strong friendships that drug pushers infiltrate.

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I'm thinking, along with NightSG, that a traumatic event is far more common in someone's life than we might be thinking.  
"A traumatic event is an incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm."

Guess we need to define psychological harm or injury.  That's harder.  There's various legal definitions, various medical definitions, some cultural definitions, and my daughter's definition when she gets her wifi turned off because she didn't do her homework.  Maybe something general like this: 
"Emotional or cognitive disturbances resulting from an event or series of events"

Gotta define "disturbance".  I'm not going to google that one, here's my suggestion: "Something that results in you believing crap that's not true, or behaving in ways that are counterproductive to happiness".   

 

Here's a story from a guy I know, I'll call him David.  He has a clear memory of a very young 4-5 yr old him, sitting at the family dinner table.  Mom, dad, his older brothers.  At some point in the conversation, dad indicates to the brothers that they need to be better, do more, or "you'll end up small and weak like David here".  He remembers that as the point where his life started going off the tracks.  3 decades later, as he's getting counseling for why he's destroying his marriage, he discovers that event from his childhood was the point where he began believing things about his self-worth that were untrue, and those lies were behind every bit of his dysfunction as a child, teen, and adult.  Once he figures this out, he's able to turn his life and marriage around, and things are much better now.  

So here's the kicker - he realizes these days that Dad probably didn't even say those words.  Dad probably wasn't trying to convey that notion.  But his tiny little young self heard wrong, believed it, and bam, 35 years of dysfunction.  When it comes to brains and emotions and stuff, we can be hurt by others, we can also sometimes create traumatic stuff out of thin air that doesn't actually exist.

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4 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

I'm thinking, along with NightSG, that a traumatic event is far more common in someone's life than we might be thinking.  
 

It's important to remember that we all view trauma differently too. First off, you don't know what Cindy or Mike (pulling names out of the sky) have gone through, and even if you did know, we all have different versions of "trauma". One person might go to war in Iraq, see combat, shoot someone, and come home totally normal. Another might go to war, do the same thing and have a serious case of PTSD. 

Edited by MormonGator

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4 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

So here's the kicker - he realizes these days that Dad probably didn't even say those words.  Dad probably wasn't trying to convey that notion.  But his tiny little young self heard wrong, believed it, and bam, 35 years of dysfunction.  When it comes to brains and emotions and stuff, we can be hurt by others, we can also sometimes create traumatic stuff out of thin air that doesn't actually exist.

Ahh yes... a classic parenting minefield...

A parent has two daughters... One gets called 'smart' the other called 'pretty'.  Nothing bad or negative there... But what they hear is "I'm Ugly" and "I'm Stupid"

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1 hour ago, anatess2 said:

I have 3 cousins who were practically my brothers and sisters, we were that close, who were drug addcits.  The husband of one of those cousins also became a drug addict.  If there was trauma in their lives, it wouldn't be anything worse than the trauma in my brothers and sisters lives.  

You can't really know that. I have a friend whose younger brother and sister were sexually abused (repeatedly) by a neighbor.  He had NO IDEA until now (they're all adults, and the healing process has been difficult). 

 

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56 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Here's a story from a guy I know, I'll call him David.  He has a clear memory of a very young 4-5 yr old him, sitting at the family dinner table.  Mom, dad, his older brothers.  At some point in the conversation, dad indicates to the brothers that they need to be better, do more, or "you'll end up small and weak like David here".  He remembers that as the point where his life started going off the tracks.  3 decades later, as he's getting counseling for why he's destroying his marriage, he discovers that event from his childhood was the point where he began believing things about his self-worth that were untrue, and those lies were behind every bit of his dysfunction as a child, teen, and adult.  Once he figures this out, he's able to turn his life and marriage around, and things are much better now.  

So here's the kicker - he realizes these days that Dad probably didn't even say those words.  Dad probably wasn't trying to convey that notion.  But his tiny little young self heard wrong, believed it, and bam, 35 years of dysfunction.  

This is why I think almost everyone can benefit from at least some therapy...to work out thinking errors like that. Poor guy.  I'm glad he was able to get it worked out.

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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53 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

It's important to remember that we all view trauma differently too. First off, you don't know what Cindy or Mike (pulling names out of the sky) have gone through, and even if you did know, we all have different versions of "trauma". One person might go to war in Iraq, see combat, shoot someone, and come home totally normal. Another might go to war, do the same thing and have a serious case of PTSD. 

So true. There have been studies about twins that are believed to have experienced similar things in war and one gets PTSD and the other did not. They think its because o e had a smaller [Insert brain anatomy here that I should remember but don't because I didn't pay enough attention in psychology class...amygdala, I think).   But I wonder, how can we really know their experiences were similar? 

Also my husband's brother had a much more difficult time dealing with the emotional abuse of their stepfather than my husband did....different personalities.

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56 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

You can't really know that. I have a friend whose younger brother and sister were sexually abused (repeatedly) by a neighbor.  He had NO IDEA until now (they're all adults, and the healing process has been difficult). 

 

Okay, let me break this down what you said...

You're saying that my cousins may have trauma.  Which would also mean that ANYBODY including my siblings may have trauma.  So how is this a foundation for them becoming drug addicts while we are not?

So you're saying, they have trauma that my siblings do not have that's why they're addicts and we are not.  Now, I can DEFINITELY say that is not true because my siblings and I have been through trauma (myself specifically) - that is why I stated that my cousins do not have trauma any more than we do.  So, their being addicts is not founded on their trauma.  I will guarantee you, and even my cousins say this, they are drug addicts because of this guy they hung out with who was a drug pusher that my parents specifically barred us from associating with.  Getting them out of addiction is not through digging up trauma.  It is a matter of getting them detox'd then keeping them away from the drug pushers who are quite relentless in their pursuit of customers.  Because once you've had drugs it doesn't take much to bring you back... you had a bad day at work?  Easy prey for pushers.  You are bored?  Easy prey for pushers.  It doesn't require trauma to get you there.

Edited by anatess2

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21 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Okay, let me break this down what you said...

You're saying that my cousins may have trauma.  Which would also mean that ANYBODY including my siblings may have trauma.  So how is this a foundation for them becoming drug addicts while we are not?

So you're saying, they have trauma that my siblings do not have that's why they're addicts and we are not.  Now, I can DEFINITELY say that is not true because my siblings and I have been through trauma (myself specifically) - that is why I stated that my cousins do not have trauma any more than we do.  

All I am saying is that we can never really know what someone else has experienced, so you can't be certain if your cousins have more or less trauma.  And as Mormongator and I discussed up thread, even when two people experience the same trauma they may respond to it differently. 

I wasn't really speculating about why your cousins became addicts, just that you can't know their level of trauma or unmet need.

But since that connection is the topic of the thread so I should have been more clear. My working theory is that if you take 10 people who try drugs...some of them are more likely to become addicted than others. (There are people who try drugs and don't become addicted after all.) 

I think people with trauma and unmet needs (two things that may or may not be related) would be the most likely to develop an addiction...and to be foolish enough to try drugs in the first place.

I think it is also possible that biology plays apart. It has been said that children of alcoholics have a higher biological propensity to addiction. 

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6 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

All I am saying is that we can never really know what someone else has experienced, so you can't be certain if your cousins have more or less trauma.  And as Mormongator and I discussed up thread, even when two people experience the same trauma they may respond to it differently. 

I wasn't really speculating about why your cousins became addicts,   

But this is what the thread is about.  It is about Addiction, not trauma on its own.

 

Quote

But since that connection is the topic of the thread so I should have been more clear. My working theory is that if you take 10 people who try drugs...some of them are more likely to become addicted than others. (There are people who try drugs and don't become addicted after all.) 

I think people with trauma and unmet needs (two things that may or may not be related) would be the most likely to develop an addiction...and to be foolish enough to try drugs in the first place.

I think it is also possible that biology plays apart. It has been said that children of alcoholics have a higher biological propensity to addiction. 

This is what I'm trying to say.  It is not trauma that is the key to breaking addiction.   In my cousins' case - it was breaking them out of the pushers' target list.  And yes, it would have been best if they didn't become friends with the pusher in the first place.  Choose your friends wisely!

Edited by anatess2

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1 hour ago, anatess2 said:

But this is what the thread is about.  It is about Addiction, not trauma on its own.

 

This is what I'm trying to say.  It is not trauma that is the key to breaking addiction.   In my cousins' case - it was breaking them out of the pushers' target list.  And yes, it would have been best if they didn't become friends with the pusher in the first place.  Choose your friends wisely!

Yes, that's fair...so past trauma, unmet needs, biology, and social influence can play a role in addiction. I can agree with that.  

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17 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Right. Most addicts, especially the hardcore ones, don't want to be addicted. They just want the pain they feel to stop. The brutal truth is that most drugs work the way they are advertised. They take your mind off life for a few minutes and make you feel good. Then, once you get hooked, it stops making you feel good when you use and just makes you feel bad when you don't use.  

I wonder if there is an analogous phenomenon with emotional and spiritual things.  We do a sinful act because we find it makes us feel better (momentarily).  But after a while, it doesn't really make us feel better.  But it's all we know.  And we somehow feel weird or we feel something is missing if we don't do it anymore.

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17 hours ago, NightSG said:

Or perhaps you're a sociopath and incapable of recognizing their trauma.  Or maybe none of them trust you enough to tell you.

Perhaps.

Or...perhaps people choose to rebel against their good lives and get into partying and drugs and addictive behavior because there is actually real temptation out there for people to choose without having to be forced into it through traumatic events.

17 hours ago, NightSG said:

I find it hard to believe you - or anyone - could know multiple people who lead such charmed lives since birth that they've never experienced even one significant traumatic event.

Everyone, eventually, has some sort of trauma. The people I'm speaking of got into what they did in their early teen years (as many addicts do). I knew/know lots of people who didn't have very much in the way of trauma by their early teens. They sure had trauma after their poor choices though.

Moreover, "trauma" is relative -- and often what people make of any given thing. I'm sure several of these people sure felt traumatized by their mean parent who made them clean their rooms and go to school and church and stuff. How traumatic!

17 hours ago, NightSG said:

Frankly, if I found such a person I'd be tempted to beat them until they had that one to fall back on, just on general principle.

This is also my temptation when it comes to the innocent. Beat them to a pulp so they have trauma in their lives -- on.....um.....principle. :glare:

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8 hours ago, estradling75 said:

Ahh yes... a classic parenting minefield...

A parent has two daughters... One gets called 'smart' the other called 'pretty'.  Nothing bad or negative there... But what they hear is "I'm Ugly" and "I'm Stupid"

I remember one time as a kid my dad called me "Ace" and I thought he was calling me a bad word.

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8 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

I'm thinking, along with NightSG, that a traumatic event is far more common in someone's life than we might be thinking. 

That isn't even the real point though.

The question isn't whether people often feel trauma. NightSG's argument on that is a total waste of time.

The question is whether addictive activity always stems from trauma.

I don't believe that. I believe that it does sometimes. I believe that other times people make choices because they're appealing and they rebel against the good for no other reason than that rebellion has it's own pride-filled pleasures (like Satan did in the pre-existence) and then they get caught in a web, and stay in it of their own free-will. And other times people, without much serious trauma, just engage in drugs or alcohol because the activity is pleasant, but these substances are literally, physically addictive, and they get trapped.

On a personal and simplistic level, I know my addiction to caffeine (now broken) had nothing to do with filling some trauma hole. Soda tastes good. Pumped up on caffeine feels good. That's it. It wasn't compensation for feeling bad. It just felt good.

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