PTSD and Survival
"The memory contains PTSD elements of fear, threat to survival, and feeling alone, perhaps destitute." BRB p. 180
Many of us experienced the trauma of being left alone for hours, having to feed ourselves and to do whatever else was necessary to survive. We ate what we could find, even if it was half-rotten; we wore what was there, even if it wasn't clean, had holes, and didn't fit. We were desperately afraid, we were neglected, and we didn't know if we would survive.
We suffer from PTSD, just as sure as if we were raised in a war zone. As a result, we often developed addictions directly related to what we experienced. If we didn't have enough food, we may have developed an eating disorder; if we didn't have enough to wear, we may have become a compulsive shopper or a shoplifter; if we were terrified of being alone, we may have learned to manipulate others to keep them around.
In ACA, we discover the Laundry List traits, the survival behaviors we developed as a way of coping with our childhood trauma. As we continue to learn more, we use this knowledge to begin to take care of ourselves in a healthy way. We make a commitment that even if we feel overwhelmed, we will not abandon ourselves and our program. We know recovery is possible in ACA because we see it in others.
On this day, if I reach outside of myself for an unhealthy solution, I will remember to reach inside for the experience, strength, and hope the program gives me.
Copyright © 2013 by
Adult Children of Alcoholics®
& Dysfunctional Families
World Service Organization, Inc.
Page Number 26
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