Gaining Power Over Addiction Through Acknowledgement

“Acknowledging you have areas to work on is not an admission of failure; it is an admission that you have more potential.”

-Carrie Cheadle-

Acknowledgement is learning to speak, and accept, your truth. For some, this is the hardest step in the healing journey, it may be something you need to do in small increments, but it’s important to work toward. Both trauma and addiction can lead to shame, and isolating yourself from others because of it. This blog is specific to addiction, but Acknowledgement can be applied in a much broader way to your healing journey.

It’s common for those with unresolved trauma to struggle with addiction or other self-defeating behaviors. That’s understandable since that’s the limbic system’s, the unconscious part of the brain, attempt at helping you survive. You don’t need to be angry with yourself, beat yourself up, or wallow in sadness because of this. Instead, Acknowledge It, realize that these addictive behaviors have not been working and its time to focus your energy on learning to do something that will work.

One way to practice Acknowledgement is by sharing your story with a trusted individual. This can be a friend, a family member, or a licensed therapist. This doesn’t mean you have to share details about your trauma, this simply means that you allow yourself to vocalize your truth. Perhaps the first time you talk about it you just say the words, “I have a problem with addiction because of things that happened in my past.”

Only speak the truth that you are ready to share. This can feel overwhelming, but will benefit you so profoundly that you’ll be grateful for someone to confide in. You may feel a sense of shame. This may be a secret that you’ve been keeping for a long time.

If saying it aloud is too much right now, take a step in the right direction by writing it down. Even writing your truth can help you Acknowledge it. This can apply to your trauma OR your addiction, whatever you’re ready to Acknowledge right now.

One problem with addiction is that it’s never satisfied. It’s insatiable. It will always require that you give it more and more. Acknowledge that truth. Denial is a common reaction to addiction and unresolved trauma, but it won’t help you find healing. Before you can change and heal, you need to Acknowledge the problem. Maybe the first step for you is saying it aloud to yourself, “I am using this addiction as a way to deal with my trauma. There are better ways to help myself. I need to find those ways.”

Acknowledgement is not a one-time thing. There are layers and layers to every trauma and addiction story. You don’t have to Acknowledge everything all at once. Allow yourself to heal one layer at a time as you move forward.

This is just one step on the path of your healing journey, but it’s an important one. Don’t allow your addiction or trauma to isolate you from the world. Speak your truth. Find at least one person you trust. Recognize the work that you need to do. You CAN heal and you CAN overcome your addiction by finding better ways to deal with your trauma.