• 💖 [Donate To Keep MyPTSD Online] 💖 Every contribution, no matter how small, fuels our mission and helps us continue to provide peer-to-peer services. Your generosity keeps us independent and available freely to the world. MyPTSD closes if we can't reach our annual goal.

Trauma therapy and alcohol use/dependence


I was wondering what people's experiences have been with trauma therapists' responses to their alcohol use/dependence? Were the types of therapy deemed appropriate limited because of ongoing alcohol use?
Alcohol & substance abuse treatment has become the first line of defense, instead of the last.
My alcohol and substance use was the very last thing I let go of in shifting habits during recovery. I think it went something like: develop gratitude, notice joy, practice presence, allow touch (trauma massage counselor), look at current living situation and get away from it, face adverse childhood experiences while staying present, process fall out of adverse childhood experiences, face and acknowledge OCD symptoms in presence of T, face and heal eating disorder (dietitian), face the reality of my substance use (Life Process Program).

My alcohol and substance use lifted three months before the end of five years of intense trauma therapy. T told me it’s rare for a person to shift alcohol and substance use prior to facing the trauma. Am still sober but I did harm reduction so I’m not abstinent though I can count on one hand the number of times I used either since quitting over a year ago. Up to the day I quit I was drinking and using daily. Marijuana daily for over ten years and alcohol daily for three years.
I saw my dad get and stay sober with AA, but of course it didn't have the understanding of trauma it could today (not necessarily does, but hopefully). I believe however they referenced if a person waited to solve all the questions (If they even could, who knows?) it would never materialize (sobriety), as 'today' was now the pressing issue. I know though too he had some great friends, and they were supportive of each other. Arguably all the good he did through it (I heard about after his death) might have been a providential reason he needed to be where he was when he was as 'himself'. I used the 12 step concept on my own for drinking but especially to stop gambling. I did not feel I had any trauma nor had ever acknowledged any or worked on any. I worked on my behaviours but there was no self compassion for the most part. I fortunately have been able to be taught in verrrrrry small baby steps how to have some for myself.

ETA I don't think for myself I could have been able to honestly do any kind of therapy without dealing with managing the addiction first. Though it sounds counter-intuitive. But my analogy would be like getting SI under control before looking deeper at painful things. I have been very very fortunate for the help and support. And even the chronological order. I needed safety, peace, gentleness and hope to begin to even begin to believe things could be faced, unraveled and restrung in a better way. (It's funny how we can know something is horrific and life altering and yet not consider it traumatic, eh? 🫤 Especially if it's just one more to add to the pile. I think it's what we know, and an attempt to stay functional and cope.)

Best wishes to you.
Last edited: