I am a woman in long-term recovery from Chronic Family Trauma (CFT).
Last year I started following the work of a group called Facing Addiction. Their mission is to change the public perception of addiction and to decriminalize it. How they do this is multi-fold, but part of their message is what some of us already understand – addicts aren’t bad people, they’re sick people.
The spokesmen and women for Facing Addiction identify as “Addicts in long term recovery” in the press, and give their names. The point being that the public can now look at the lives of these people and know the positives rather than just the negatives portrayed in stereotypes of addiction. People in the public eye like senators, sports figures and entertainment superstars identify themselves in this way in support of this cause.
It got me thinking – in 12-Step rooms, people find connection when one Member of AA, one member of NA , one member of Al-Anon talks to another. The stories of strangers recall personal struggles and ring true. People identify, seeing themselves more clearly. Then one of my mentors said to me in a discussion of my business plans and mission statement, “Celeste you really need to tell your story.” And I realized that with the opening of the door by Facing Addiction, I could.
I am a woman in long-term recovery from Chronic Family Trauma (CFT). In this way I can identify myself and tell my story. I can carry the message online and in person and perhaps help others in the world who have a similar story. I can share my journey living with CFT and my discovery that it can still affect my choices, my perceptions and my relationships today. I can also help others with the tools that have worked to help me so much, like meditation, yoga asana and pranayama breathing practices, as well as spirituality, emotional integrity, honesty, looking at my own part, making changes in my behavior, and showing up for myself.
I created a YouTube video last year to tell my story, and to promote the idea of CFT as an ongoing and insidious Dis-ease that affects the addicted and the families equally. It is the essence of the message from the Al-Anon Family Groups – a 12-Step program – that this is a Family Disease. We are all affected by it, and if we really want to face the truth of our families and our lives, finding recovery as human beings, a nation and a planet, then we have to address the core issue of trauma and dysfunction in our family systems. We cannot truly hope to stem the crisis that addiction in this country has become unless we begin healing our families. And we cannot heal the families until the family members recognize and take responsibility for healing their own Dis-ease due to the effects of living with ongoing trauma. Addicts deal with that trauma by using. Others of us deal with it by controlling, managing, manipulating and numbing out. How we handle it may be different, but the foundation is the same. We are truly all one under the skin.