My 33rd year of recovery from alcohol addiction began Nov. 24, 2009. Needless to say to anyone living a spiritual quest, many emotions are stirred up during an anniversary.
In taking another 5th step, I realized that I had recreated the home of my childhood. I had the good mommy role and my husband was the bad daddy. As I have stated here, he acted out his misery by having an affair and leaving me.
I discovered that PTSD had controlled my life for over 60 years. Yikes! I learned to not have flashbacks by not living my life. I kind of checked in and out for short periods of time. I am a loner, read a lot, love to research, and am also a writer which requires solitude. Not that I am complaining. I like being with me. I am a lot of fun and have a rich inner creative life. We each have four emotional energies: grounding, creative, logic, and relationship. I am almost zippo on the relationship energy but I work at it because I know how good I feel when I feel connected to another person. Nothing like it.
This experience has led me on the path of healing my childhood wounds. I was the oldest child–or rather–I was the youngest parent in that home. I took my duties so seriously that I taught myself to deny myself anything that would challenge my mother. In return, the power connected to this role of being the boss was my first addiction. One that I am only now giving up. That is why I call codependency the addiction of power. And I believe all addicts must go through this 2nd recovery–the recovery of codependency. I will always be codependent. It is about loving too much. But I know my pattern now and know when I need to redefine my boundaries.
What is PTSD? HelpGuide. org defines it:
“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a event that threatens—or appears to threaten—your safety. Most people associate PTSD with rape and battle-scarred soldiers—and military combat is the most common cause in men—but any event (or series of events) that overwhelms you with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable.”
“PTSD can affect people who personally experience a threatening event, those who witness the event, or those who pick up the pieces afterwards, such as emergency workers. PTSD can also result from surgery performed on children so young they don’t understand what’s happening to them, or any event that leaves you emotionally shattered.”
In reading about Iraq veterans and PTSD, I identified immediately with the social isolation. I have done this all my life. Although I am a loner and am suspicious of anyone not content being alone, extreme isolation leads me to paranoia and discontent. I am learning a balance finally because I have now freed myself to talk about these feelings.
I have also identified the brain chemistry associated with my codependency.
PTSD, codependency and addiction began when as a child. I didn’t know how to deal with anxiety and fear. Instead I used feelings of power over people to feel better myself. I believe codependency is the addiction of power. By feeling control over others’ lives, I felt better able to control my own.
Brain Diseases Share Biology
Addiction and mental illness are both brain diseases. A person vulnerable to one type of brain disease may also be vulnerable to another.
Addiction and mental illness involve the same pathways, molecules, and chemicals in the brain, and they share many similarities:
- Increased dopamine activity is characteristic of both schizophrenia and many stimulants such as cocaine.
- A serotonin transporter is associated with both mood disorders and alcoholism.
- Both cocaine users and people with schizophrenia have dysfunctional reward pathways with increased dopamine activity.
PTSD Resources from healthyplace.com
Formal PTSD recovery groups are also available. Some of these groups are dedicated to PTSD recovery and others focus on anxiety disorders in general. Find post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) support groups and help through:
- Anxiety Disorder Association of America (ADAA) offers self-help information online as well as information on PTSD support groups
- ADAA also offers information on finding a therapist for anxiety disorders
- National Center for PTSD provides further information on finding a PTSD recovery therapist
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) offers a program locator which allows searching for PTSD recovery treatment programs by state
- The VA National Center for PTSD also offers several help options for those who have served in the military
You can find online post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) help and support through:
- HealthyPlace PTSD forums
- Anxiety Disorder Association of America offers online forums as well as self-help information: http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/self-help-publications
- PTSD Forums provide online PTSD peer support groups
- Daily Strength provides online PTSD peer support groups
- Mental Health of America provides online PTSD information for the general public and for veterans specifically
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides support and programs
- National Center for PTSD provides online PTSD information for the general public as well as veterans specifically