Feelings are NOT Facts

One of my favorite messages from the 12 Step programs is “Feelings are not Facts”.  We know that addictive behaviors are driven by powerful “Feeling States” which involve not only our emotions, but most importantly our minds and physiological responses that are guided by our internal alarm system.  For many of us, this alarm system has kept us on moderate to high alert status for much of our lives and we have experienced unpleasant consequences resulting from this anxiety provoking state.

We  know that a hyperactive internal alarm system is the byproduct of developmental/childhood trauma and that strong feelings of anxiety or depression lead to behaviors that give the perception of safety, attachment, belonging, and control.  The use of alcohol or another drug, gambling, shopping, cutting, binging and purging, is driven by emotions, and certainly NOT a product of logical thinking.

The 12 Step programs get it:  That when we are governed by our feelings, we set ourselves up for relapse or we slip ourselves  into another relief providing behavior.

I like this video and will be posting more of the same.  She talks about our Internal Guidance System and how emotions are distinctly separate from our thoughts and how emotions drive powerful fight/flight/freeze bodily responses.

In the treatment of trauma, we first teach mindfulness skills so as to override the power of emotions that influence not only our behavior but our health as well.

A Quick Survey

As many readers are aware, I have been in the process of creating a workbook to be entitled, “Trauma Informed Self-Care:  A Handy Guide for the Every-Day Warrior”.  In my outline, I have created a chapter that focuses on Mental Health Professionals.  This chapter draws upon Greek Mythology and the stories of Gods whose archetypes were the progenitors of what we refer to as “Wounded Healers” and, taking a few steps further, how, as wounded healers we remain vulnerable to the effects of working with those who are deeply wounded through their own traumas and whose stories arouse our own histories.  If we are to be effective as Mental Health Professionals, we must engage in being aware of and then tending to our own histories and how, if ignored, minimized, or otherwise sloughed off, can block our own growth, not to mention, obstruct healing pathways in those whom we serve.

There is considerable research out there that, utilizing the Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale focuses upon those particular childhood experiences and how significant the numbers are of mental health professionals who present a history of childhood trauma.

I am conducting my own Adverse Childhood Experiences survey specifically for this chapter and am asking your help in providing a broadened perspective of mental health providers with histories of Complex Trauma, or Developmental Trauma, or Interpersonal Trauma.  Whichever you wish to call it.

Here is the link to the survey.  It takes less than 5 minutes to complete.  If you are a licensed Mental Health Professional, Intern, or licensed/certified in the Substance Abuse Field, I invite you to follow this link and answer 10 questions  8 of which are based upon the Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale.


I invite you to share this with other Mental Health Professionals as well.

I look forward to the results of this survey!

Thank You!




This is a Gem

I continue to advocate for trauma-informed treatment of  addictions behavior attachments and ferreting out terms and expressions that serve more to blame, shame, and judge than to facilitate understanding of what is the unacknowledged driver of compulsive use of chemicals or behaviors to achieve perceived wellness.

I came across this blog and its effective blasting of the term “enabler”.  When bandied about by therapists, the judgmental flavor of the term is unavoidable.  Among 12 steppers there seems to be a sort of satisfaction in labeling someone in this way, but professionals?  We are above labeling.  This one term, among others I have written about is banished from my clinical vocabulary.  Gone.  Poof.

Today, I just put the finishing touches on a webinar presentation that, it is presumed, will contribute to the movement toward establishing trauma-informed practices in treating the attachments.  How many are truly aware that most substance abuse “treatment” programs fail to assess for complex trauma?  This is mind blowing, especially when it has been determined that nearly 3/4 of all the “addicted population” carry a significant trauma history.

All it takes is asking 10 simple questions interspersed within a full assessment to determine the extent to which complex trauma has contributed to the behavior.  Ten Questions.

And I digress.

Enabling is surviving in a world that requires constant vigilance that results in a state of chronic distress.  This is a good read.  Good for building empathy and broadening understanding of complex trauma.


Back From Hibernation

Well, here we are, 11 days into a new year.  For Benchmark CCE, it promises to be an exciting turn toward expansion of educating the public at large about new and dramatic ways of understanding trauma and its effects on our lifetime health.  The latest literature is brimming with discoveries that have lit new pathways to understanding the attachments humans create to behaviors that sooner or later cause problems, i.e., overuse of alcohol or other drugs, overspending, gambling, thrill seeking, or rage, just to name a few.

We are more than learning about how cumulative trauma originating even in infancy, is foundational to physiological alterations that affect our lifelong health, presenting as afflictions of the body.

I started reading the book, Childhood Disrupted:  How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal.  I will say, first off, if you are reading this blog, what the author has to say in presenting her research will more than likely resonate with you.  Speaking for myself as not only a Mental Health Professional, but also as one who has lived with and worked around  the effects of “Small ‘T ‘Trauma this is a book I would recommend to everyone as a go to reference to identify your history and its effects on your biology, and healing through the host of new and exciting treatment pathways.  Here is the link.


On another note, I am in the process of developing the Every-Day Warrior Blog.  This is where readers are invited to share successes in managing stress, working through relationships, healing their histories, and navigating forward through presence and mindfulness.


So, dear readers, here’s to Every-Day well-being that comes only from well-DO-ing!





The Big Deal With ‘Little-t traumas’ | After Trauma

Source: The Big Deal With ‘Little-t traumas’ | After Trauma

I really like her point about Small T Trauma:  It’s not about the event, it’s about the experience.

Gently ask yourself:  Do you find that suddenly you are reminded by one or more of your “inner bullies” of something you did long ago that was really embarrassing or humiliating and then you start to beat yourself up for it?  EVEN though it happened eons ago, you know that no one cares at this point, and in spite of all logic, it’s almost as if it were happening all over again?  Do you wish you could go back and change the way things turned out and then feel guilty or ashamed of what you did?

This is one of the signs that you are affected by Small T Trauma.

Small T Trauma is cumulative, complex, and, well, we don’t really get over it.

BUT!!! Having said that, there are highly effective ways to learn to work around it and not let it govern your life and not be so invasive.