Building a Future after Trauma and Addictiton
May 25th, 2015 | By Jason Brooks
Addiction reaches every aspect of a person’s life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It affects family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. No one is left untouched by this disease. Addiction Campuses’ focus in the month of May, turns to a four-part series with an esteemed author and colleague, Dr. Jason Brooks, who will share insight on trauma and addiction. Part 1 introduces us to Grace, a wife and mother with a deeply rooted traumatic past.Part 2 addresses traumatic memories, while Part 3 explains how to cope when triggered by trauma from the past.
Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason Brooks is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. Viewed by many as the “youth pastor of personal growth and success”, his life mission of “bringing hope, healing, and inspiration to everyone he meets and leading on the journey for change, growth, and success” provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed.
Healing Through Trauma…One Person’s Story (Week 4)
“I’ve never really thought about the future,” Grace admitted several weeks later. “I mean, for so long I’ve been in a vicious cycle of struggling with my addiction that came from the trauma I experience as a young girl. I couldn’t even see past the current captivity to emotional pain, let alone begin to see a hope for the future.”
“And now?” I asked.
“Now… It’s a whole new world.” Grace smiled.
I’ve heard this time and time again. Folks who have been in a prison of pain in any area of life…in their faith, in their heart and emotions, in their relationships, in their finances, in their physical health, in their mental growth, or in their work and careers…when they finally commit to push the reset button on their lives and begin the journey to creating a new, healthy, vibrant life for themselves, have a difficult time seeing the potential and opportunities ahead because all they’ve known for so long is hurt. The ability and willingness to consider…to dream…for something better for the future is missing. But, it can be found.
“So, tell me a bit about how you’re creating this new world for yourself.”
“First, I’ve found that I need to completely embrace that I’m not defined by my past. Yes, I’m a product of my past. I’ll always have the story of abuse, the trauma, the addiction, the hurt, shame, guilt…but that’s not who I am. I love the verse in Isaiah 61:3 that says “To all who mourn…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” I know that through the mourning, God will give beauty for ashes. He will use the pain I’ve experienced to grow something strong, powerful, majestic. That’s what it means to me to be a product of my past but not a prisoner to the past…because I’ve been set free.”
“That’s so powerful Grace!” I was so excited that she had come to the point of putting her past into the right perspective. Yes, it was part of who she was…but it was not her identity. It was not her legacy. Powerful!!
“I guess, next, is that I’m finally at the point where I can dream again. For so long I spent all my time afraid to take a step in any direction. But now, I’m excited for the future. My husband and I take a trip together every four months where we share our dreams and hopes for the future. We are being intentional to pray through where God is leading. But, we’re also taking steps to live our lives together. That shared sense of direction and doing life together with someone I love so much has meant the world to me. I think it’s even more special because he’s been with me through all the ‘ick’ and loved me through it all.”
“Wonderful, Grace! You’re finally accepting that you have a purpose and are intentionally seeking that purpose for your life. I’ve heard it said that everyone ends up somewhere, but only very few end up somewhere on purpose. I love it!!”
“Yea…it’s been an amazing change for me. I think the third thing that’s really changed my life is the gratitude journal you had me start about three months ago. I write in it every night before I go to bed. I write down three things I’m thankful for from the day. Sometimes it just one word…sometimes it’s a little more. But, I’m faithful to do it every night and it has been so important in helping me stay focused on the great things in my life instead of the challenges. The last thing I think about before I go to sleep each day is not the challenges, worries, fears, or guilt but the hope, forgiveness, blessings, and all the great things. I absolutely love it and it’s made such a difference.
“That’s awesome Grace”, I said. “So, if there were three things you would tell others who are looking to create a new direction in their lives as they’ve healed through the pain of the past and trauma in their lives based on your journey and what you’ve learned, what would those be?”
Grace smiled. “That’s easy.
First, forgiveness is more about you than the person that hurt you. Forgive often and let the freedom come.
Second, healing is a journey. Don’t expect it to happen overnight…but do expect that with intentional focus, healing will come.
And third, you can’t do it alone. Don’t keep it in the dark. Share…but share from a view of the healing you found, not to relive the pain over and over. There’s a difference. Out of the darkness light can be found. Believe and trust that God loves you and can redeem every painful experience. It’s His promise and I’ve found that to be true in my life over and over again.”
“That’s powerful and I know if folks apply those to their life, they will find all they’ve been looking for and create a new legacy for the future.”
My time with Grace was almost over. We met a couple more times and since that experience she’s continued to stay in touch to let me know how she continues to grow and pour into the lives of others. She’s created a ministry where she helps other women who have struggled with trauma of different kinds find freedom. That’s the essence of a life redeemed and a future restored.
Dr. Jason is an expert in leading life change. As a gifted speaker and life success coach, he is available to speak at your next conference event and would love to connect with you on social media on Facebook,Twitter or Google+. Dr. Jason can be contacted through the public relations team at Addiction Campuses.