How ARCS Online Addiction Recovery Courses are Different
Most people who seek help for mental illness or seek help for “addiction”, specifically, encounter a “cookie cutter” approach formulated to help them understand how substance abuse develops, avoid temptation and peer pressure, examine risk factors to prevent relapse, and keep a well-balanced life. While all of these basic factors are necessary for recovery from addiction — they are dangerously incomplete. ARCS provides a comprehensive online addictions course that teaches an interdisciplinary process of healing from not only addictions, but from the emotional fractures that cause them. Instead of merely treating the symptoms of addiction — whether to substances or to behaviors such as codependency, relationship addiction, food addictions, love addiction, sex addiction, gambling, “workaholism”, shopping, spending or hoarding — our program addresses the problem, at its root. Our online addiction recovery courses teach you emotional healing and relationship skills, while our online addiction recovery Coaches partner with you through a deeply transformative process — in which you will fill in crucial, developmental gaps that have very likely been caused by some form of trauma.
The Addiction-Trauma Connection
Most if not all addicts are trauma survivors, since addiction is one of the primary indicators of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Most addicts do not realize this because they only define “trauma” as being the result of overt forms of abuse (like physical abuse, for example). But we know, today, that a child being denied their most basic emotional needs affects the same pain centers of the brain, disrupts the formative stages of development, and produces the same set of symptoms documented in overt, physicalized abuse.
So just as the verbal abuse victim may mistakenly believe that they are not being harmed, simply because they do not bear any physical scars — many addicts are prone to minimizing the impact that various life experiences have had upon their psyches.
Just some of the more covert forms of trauma that can cause addictions are:
1 growing up in a dysfunctional, chaotic or unpredictable household
2. growing up with an alcoholic or addicted family member
3. growing up with a traumatized family member (intergenerational trauma)
4. being consistently blamed, shamed or criticized
5. having unduly high expectations placed upon you, as a child
6. having adult responsibilities placed upon you, as a child (parentification)
7. living in poverty
8. exposure to racism, sexism or other forms of discrimination
9. having a parent that is overly emotionally attached or involved
10. abandonment (emotional or physical)
11. neglect (emotional or physical)
12. prolonged stress
13. divorce it the family
14. death in the family
All forms of trauma elicit certain protective mechanisms within the brain and body, which can actually predispose the victim to developing addictions. For example, whenever someone must navigate highly stressful situations, the brain will flood with molecules called neurotransmitters to induce a state of detached calm — this is called Psychic Numbing or Dissociation, and it is a hallmark of PTSD.
But when an individual has become adapted to emotional numbing as one of their primary coping mechanisms, then advancing to greater levels of dissociation through external substances or other addictive behaviors feels natural to them.
In fact, any patterns that assume an uncontrollable nature in your life are a form of psychic numbing — any behavior carried out obsessively (you can’t stop thinking about it, even though you may try to) or compulsively (you can’t stop doing it, even though you may try to) are a form of disconnecting from yourself, in an attempt to avoid pain.
PTSD is essentially a case in which a person’s instincts are locked in a perpetual “overdrive” position, caused by a natural instinctive reflex that is trying to protect them — but this leads to an overreaction in response to current-day circumstances that can lead to protective measures which actually “backfire” and place your welfare in jeopardy!
Left untreated, the addict will become progressively entrenched in an addictive cycle that overwhelms them — because your perceptions and actions will consistently defer to your instinctual drives, over what you intellectually know to be true (“I know this isn’t good for me.”) or what you may wish to happen (“This used to be fun, but I really want to stop now.”)