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Using a substance abuse program to cope with fear and trauma


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Using a substance abuse program to cope with fear and trauma

  1. 1. Using a Substance Abuse Program to Cope WithFear and TraumaJanuary 7, 2013| Last Updated on Friday, 17 May, 2013 13:32Fear can make us act in ways we normally wouldn’t and expose our innermost being . When you arefleeing for your life, you’re not worried about how you look or act, your true self is on display for all tosee. I have seen some of the strongest men I have ever known, men who have fought and killed for thethings they believe in, men who have faced death and walked away; lose control from fear.“Fear is an incredibly powerful force in the human psyche.”Knowing the FearAll people have fear, despite what they may claim. Fear is usually the result of some past experiencehaving created an association in your mind. An example would be if someone survived a horrific firebut was severely burned in the process. That person would probably develop some kind of fear fromthat traumatic experience. It could be some form of obsessive checking behavior, making sure thestove is off, or it could be a fear of fire itself.You can never really be sure how the human mind will react to trauma because every person isdifferent. Some people go through trauma and use that fear to ensure they will never go through itagain. Some are so paralyzed by what happened that they can’t seem to move past it and are forced tore-live what happened over and over in their minds.Analyzing Our FearsOne of the most common fears is the fear of the dark. Fear of the dark can result from any number ofthings. At its most basic level, it is a fear of the unknown. The dark limits our ability to see anddiscern what is present. We live in a highly visual world. Sight is our main way of identifying theworld around us. We need it for almost everything we do. If sight is lost, there are ways ofcompensating, but life then becomes exponentially more difficult.If we can’t tell what is or is not present, then our imagination can fill that space with anything. Havinga source of light present give us the ability to see that the space is empty and that limits what ourimagination can do with it, unless you’re particularly unlucky and you imagine invisible beings are outto hurt you, in which case you’re pretty much screwed and probably won’t be sleeping any time soon.Another common fear is that of humiliation. At some point in our lives, most of us have beenembarrassed or felt ashamed. Both of these things are humiliating and are unpleasant when theyhappen. We act in accordance with cultural norms present in our society to avoid being humiliated.Think about that. Our fear of others thinking poorly of us makes us act in accordance with what othersthink is right and proper. The longer we live that way, the harder it is to break free of it. That meansthat we voluntarily give up our right to act, dress, and speak how we choose in order to be accepted intosociety and have them think well of us.Another fear is fear of the unknown. This plays a part in numerous other fears, but is so big and varied
  2. 2. that it deserves its own category. This fear is developed when we realize that there are things that arebad or can hurt us. If everything was good and safe, there would be no reason to be afraid of anything.Once we realize that we can be hurt, we have to consider that if something is unknown, it could hurtus. Fear of the unknown can also express itself as Fear of Change. We fear change because whatthings will be like afterwards is unknown to us. Even positive change can be scary for people.Knowing the TraumaTraumatic experiences create associations in a person’s mind. Since all minds are different, all peoplecan interpret and react to trauma differently. There are techniques that can be applied to help removethe associations created by trauma and I will mention a few here in case anyone would like to look intothem and have them applied in their own lives. Eye Movement Rapid Desensitization is a techniquethat I have had some successes with. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment or expensive medicines,but it should only be done by someone trained in its use.Hypnosis is another good technique for resolving trauma. Hypnosis doesn’t necessarily mean that youwill be put to sleep or really even notice you are hypnotized. Yawning is a mild form of Hypnosis.When you see someone yawn, talk about yawning, think about yawning, or hear someone yawn, thereis a good chance you will yawn. I’ve yawned three times while I was writing about yawning here.Neuro-Linguistic Programming is another method used to help deal with trauma and eliminate thenegative behaviors it can cause. The therapist analyzes both your spoken and body languages whileyou tell them what your issue is and helps you change them both to improve your condition.