All or nothing tends to characterize the family that has contained trauma and/or addiction. The tendency to cycle back and forth between black-and-white in thinking, feeling and behavior, reflects the family’s problems with self-regulation consequently the family as a whole and individual members can lose their ability to “right” themselves when thrown off balance.
Addiction encourages trauma and trauma can encourage addiction. This process becomes a vicious circle or negative feedback loop, with trauma contributing to addiction, which in turn fuels more trauma, which encourages still more addiction, and so on and so on. The Claudia Black Young Adult Center treats substance and process addictions, recognizing them to be primary disorders which reinforce each other and are often fueled by traumatic experiences. Here are some examples of how this process plays out:
I remember as a twelve year old, sitting alone in our living room after one of our by then typical family meltdowns …….trying to make sense of the pain and general devastation of our once very happy family……trying to understand how kind, decent and loving people could cause each other such unrelenting pain, how we could say the things we were saying, hurl insults, act out in anger and rage……I recall saying to myself “wars do these things to people, separate loved ones, wound hearts, tear families apart. But somehow we’re doing this to ourselves.”
The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) is promoting their 32nd Annual Alcohol Awareness month this April. The theme for this year encompasses the idea of drinking as a rite of passage. This immediately makes me think of a case that I have been following regarding a fraternity at Penn State and the alcohol-induced death of one of its pledges. While there are many issues in this case that can be picked apart and examined, I feel that alcohol, as a rite of passage is central to what occurred.
Dr. Jerry Law, senior fellow at The Meadows, discusses the dangers of this addiction and how it can slowly take over your life on Dr. Connie Mariano’s show House Calls on an episode titled Beware the Ides of March.