How Trauma Leads To Drug Abuse

I mentioned my long term friend living up Canada who called me in a panic, going through a major MH crisis, in our “stories” section yesterday.
 
Though this friend ASKED me to share this story to help others, immediately, & though those of us in his friend circle know what’s going on, I’m going to try to be vague, yet descriptive at the same time, so as still maintain some level of anonymity.
 
Whether male or female, let’s call this friend “Sheri.” I got a panicked call from Sheri yesterday morning coming off my return plane flight from Cleveland. “She” told me after all these yrs, I was one of the few who would understand how trauma had affected her. She went on to reveal a major abuse that went on in her life, at the age of 12, that she hadn’t told anyone about, till now. A horrific abuse where she was taken advantage of.
 
She felt she was a nobody, who wasn’t teaching her kids the right way to express emotion, bc for so many yrs, she had been covering up, & living a “lie.”
 
I let her tell me all, & could tell she wasn’t in the right mindset to be 1) working (as she had forced herself in to cover for someone at her office on this wknd), nor 2) on her own.
 
Despite this, once we were on the phone, she started walking her town, & I could tell this was not the “having it all together” friend I’d known way back when. There were bits of mania & grandiose thoughts/comments, & bits of major depression/thoughts of self-harm. She was not communicating very well w her spouse at the moment, & so after getting off the phone, & asking her to check-in w me ever y 30 min, I did some research w some Canadian friends, & decided to call the police station in her town.
 
I was floored by how well trained they were – they got me to the right dept immediately. They asked all the right question. The officer was preparing to travel w a trained counselor, & based on the description I gave of my convo w Sheri, they were planning to pick her up & take her to a psych ward last night.
 
I heard from them last night, that they found her at the location I gave, & she was admitted. I got a voice text from her today, while in the ward saying the following: “Laying in bed at the ward, the only place I feel safe is under the covers, away from facing the world, in my own ‘cocoon.’ My ‘spouse’ & those close to me are blaming my erratic behavior on my pot usage, solely. I’ve no doubt been using, but you know better than anyone, based on what I revealed to you yesterday, that I have a lot of trauma that is hurting me…& I need help.”
 
Sheri went on to send me text messages of those in her family who were telling her she needed to clean herself up, & that the pot was the sole reason for the behavior, & once off it & clean, these problems would go away. Believing that time in the hospital, away from the drugs, would provide the healing needed.
 
This is why I used the verbiage in the pic that I did. Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, & many other vices are cover-ups & self-medication tools that many/most use to escape the pain of past trauma. Does my friend need to clean up the pot usage – yes. But the SOURCE of what’s going on, is the trauma, the experience she had as a child (& others throughout her life).
While there are some who use drugs & alcohol recreationally, many many more use it because of the feelings it dampens. We can’t assume if someone “cleans up” their use, that they are all of the sudden going to be all better & to be able to get on with life, like nothing ever happened. Please be supportive of friends & loved ones. Ppl using substances are typically not doing it bc “it’s the cool thing to do,” or bc it “gives them an identity”…they are doing it to escape the pain of repressed trauma.
Unless we are there to support them in working through that trauma, getting them off the vices will only go so far…& the likelihood for relapse & even worse, is far greater.

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