Abuse and Addiction
A majority of people who have addictions
were abused as children.
Addictions can be related to food,
sex, drugs, alcohol, work, compulsiveness, obsessive
compulsive disorder, gambling, shopping, cleaning
or smoking. Addictions can be to anything that gets
in the way of a healthy balanced lifestyle or result
in the loss of the things and people you need.
Can we change the question people ask from "What's
wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?"
Healing from addictions and abuse is
possible and they often go hand in hand. It takes
time, it takes trust.
Treatment facilities need to be there
ready to help and support when the addict is ready.
Recovery processes must go at the pace
of the survivor and when they choose them. There needs
to be tolerance because there will be slips.
Treatment needs to be a national priority.
There is a great need for more treatment facilities
that can deal with both addictions and child abuse.
They have to be affordable and available to everyone
who needs them, this requires government support and
funding. Can we afford to do this work? We cant
afford not to!
between chemical dependency and abuse has been noted
repeatedly. That incest [and abuse] often occurs
in the context of an alcoholic family or when the
abuser has used alcohol or drugs is now well documented.
A history of incest in the background of a sizable
percentage of alcoholic women has also been identified."
Christine A. Courtois,
the Empowerment of CVR (Creative Visualization and Relaxation)
Light and Sound Technology to help with Addictions
along the path help me find
courage strength and self respect to
conquer the pain, tears and broken hearts
Breaking the cycle of generations of
Alcoholism and abuse.
along the path
A healthy way
Safe circle and goddesses
knowledge and freedom
along the path
Mom, Dad, brother and friends
show me the courage and sensitivity
to survive life.
began the path in the safety of Pinky Bear.
Later, its my courage and strength.
Discussion - Abuse and Addictions
Addictions are a way of
dealing with abuse. They manifest as eating or obsessive
compulsive disorders, problems with alcohol and drugs
or addictions to gambling, sex, work, shopping, cleaning
or smoking. They are anything that gets in the way
of a healthy lifestyle.
A huge percentage of people
who are addicted have been abused. Some people may
be born with a propensity to addiction. They are more
susceptible to both addictions and abuse, since abusers
prey on weak individuals. The addictions may be related
to post-traumatic stress disorder.
We should not judge people.
Addictions are what people are doing to help themselves
survive. Can we change the question people ask from
Whats wrong with you? to What
happened to you?
Many addicts use drugs to escape
the truth of being sexually abused. It is not usually
a conscious decision, but one that is sublimated into
a socially more acceptable activity. It was
a way to escape - there was no one to tell about what
was happening to me. I dont care
what people think when Im drunk or high.
It is more socially acceptable to be using drugs or
alcohol than to talk about the reason behind it. It
takes the attention away from the sexual abuse. Drugs
and alcohol are coping mechanisms which allow addicts
to be able to talk to anyone. Most addicts need them
to get through the day.
Very few services exist
to help with both issues: addictions and abuse. It
needs to be understood that the two go hand in hand.
The services which do exist are often inadequate,
requiring the individual to heal only on the therapists
terms, or to get clean first, then well
talk. Often if you make one mistake, youre
out of the addiction program. This isnt fair.
Only one out of every 100 people make it, perhaps
because of the programs themselves.
Survivors need to value
themselves, to be true to themselves. Survivors often
find it hard to say no to anything, and survivors
need to fit in, so they often say yes. They often
have no boundaries, because they often have no idea
of what boundaries are. Our abusers took away our
trust. When parents, the most trustworthy individuals
in a childs life, tell a child the boundaries
and then break them, this tells a child that its
okay for them to go beyond the rules. As survivor
parents, we let our children take control of us because
we dont ever want to break their trust.
We need to understand
that treatment for addictions is slow and progressive.
You cannot help addicts quickly or with some other
Resources are going to have to
address both issues: addictions and abuse. We need
facilities and clinicians that deal with both issues
simultaneously - not one day Alcoholics Anonymous,
the next day therapy for abuse.
Addicted survivors have
to be able to find a way to deal with the pain without
drugs or alcohol. Eventually an addicted person reaches
a point where they cannot use the drugs or alcohol
because it will kill them. Often, survivors manifesting
addictive behaviours find that the experience no longer
helps. When nothing works for them any more, this
is frequently a turning point in their recovery.
There are common central
issues to both emotional and spiritual healing: there
are trust issues in both areas, as well as anger and
rage, there is also terror, shame and guilt. Healing
needs to happen in each of these areas.
Are there pressures in
society which push people into addiction? All
of the addicts I have known have been sexually abused.
Sexual abuse is a huge contributor to addiction. Some
survivors turn to prostitution, a form of addiction.
There is an enormous cost to society
from addictions and abuse. If we could cure or end
child abuse, we would empty prisons and eliminate
drug and alcohol problems.
What are the possible
consequences of giving out the information that the
majority of addicts were abused as children? Would
this frighten the survivor? Is it dangerous to provide
the information? Many addicts could become normalized
as a result.
The statistics and surveys
are ever changing. Surveys vary because sometimes
people dont remember being abused or they don't
want to tell anyone about their experience.
Survivors need to feel
safe to tell, or people wont come forward to
reveal their experiences of abuse.
to be maintained. How do we make it safe for people
to ask for help? How do we make it so that people
dont feel isolated and alone? Sometimes survivors
are the most helpful people for other survivors to
Public forums and more education
ON ABUSE AND ADDICTIONS:
Bradshaw, John. Family Secrets: What
You Dont Know Can Hurt You. New York: Bantam
----------. Healing the Shame That
Binds You. Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications,
Elkin, Michael. Families Under Influence:
Changing Alcoholic Patterns. New York: Norton, 1984.
Herman, Judith Lewis. Trauma and Recovery.
New York, N.Y.: BasicBooks, 1992.
Kasl, Charlotte Davis. Many Roads,
One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps. New York,
N.Y.: Harper Perennial, 1992.
National Committee to Prevent Child
Abuse. The Relationship Between Parental Alcohol or
Other Drug Problems and Child Maltreatment. Chicago,
Illinois. (Online) Available http://www.childabuse.org/fs14.html.
Nelsen, Jan, Riki Intner and Lynn Lott.
Clean and Sober Parenting: A Guide to Help Recovering
Parents. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub. 1992.
Taylor, John and Jennifer Torrance.
Ruth: The Recovery Series. Film, directed by Moira
Simpson. Canada: Distributed by the National Film
Board, 14 min. 18 sec., 1985.
Williams, Terence. Brave New Families:
A Guide for Families in Recovery. Center City, Minn.:
Hazelden Educational Materials, 1994.
the Empowerment of CVR
(Creative Visualization and Relaxation)
Light and Sound Technology
to help with Addictions
have a chemical dependency because of past issues with abuse. Your contributions
will be very therapeutic!
All of our precious
children deserve to
the Empowerment of CVR (Creative Visualization and Relaxation)
Light and Sound Technology to help with Sleep
I think child abuse
by grown ups that
Teddy, age 10
I wish that there
would be no drugs
in the whole
Helena, age 10
Stop the cycle,
break the silence.
the child within.
She did what was
necessary to survive
Spanking is not discipline.
Raise a hand to a child
only to hold.
Stop the hurt!
You will be