The odds are pretty good that if you are in recovery you have either experienced trauma or were a participant in trauma. Many of us come from families that are "dysfunctional"--the euphemism for addicted, abusive, neglectful--all fine grounds for trauma.
We might have experienced trauma in our home as children or we used alcohol or drugs to cope with some trauma in our young lives. Some folks teeter on the edge of full blown addiction and then topple right over the edge after a traumatic experience. It's also possible that we created trauma for others. Drunk driving, bad parenting, erratic behaviors fueled by substances---sometimes the trauma we cause is, in it's own way, also traumatizing.
So we know the word and we've probably used it's cousin: PTSD--Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The work of recovery helps us with trauma. We admit powerlessness, we surrender, we grieve, we own our side of the street and we endeavor to change. But we also fear that constant hard work and vigilance is the best we'll get. Or that other word, "resilience". Not a bad thing, but still…where is the promised "happy, joyous and free"?
Except that sometimes we do feel that, and then maybe we wonder, "Am I in denial?" If I have a trauma background shouldn't I be struggling all the time? That's been the message for years--for those of us abused as children, as adults, or who faced military traumas or horrific accident or illness.
Now we have a new word for "happy, joyous and free" after trauma. It's this: "Post-Traumatic Growth" and it is the recognition--with very serious scientific backing--that some of us get stronger because of trauma.
We know that old quote, "stronger in the broken places" but that always felt like a platitude. Until now, tonight. Tonight I am tearing through a brand new book--published today! -that makes the case for a life even better than simple resilience following trauma.
The new book is called, UPSIDE, and the author is Jim Rendon.
Rendon spent years interviewing social scientists, physicians and survivors of trauma, and his book combines all of learning to show us that it is truly possible to thrive and not just survive trauma. This book is hope in hard-cover for so many of us, and it is validation as well, that being happy after trauma is not a sign of denial.
This is going to be an important book for therapists and coaches and counselors and especially for folks in addiction treatment, so we can back up our promises with science and research, when we say that no matter what happened, you can be happy, joyous and free.