Episode 71: An Interview with Substance Abuse & Addiction Counselor Julianna Sliger on Brokenness, Her Journey, and Substance Abuse

The Valley of Grace Podcast
Episode 71: An Interview with Substance Abuse & Addiction Counselor Julianna Sliger on Brokenness, Her Journey, and Substance Abuse
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Substance Abuse plagues every family. No one is exempt. Although it is something that plagues every family, it is not something that we want to talk about. It causes shame, exhaustion, anger, and fear. Addictions leave the same effect, with innocent parties sitting back on edge, waiting to see what happens next. Click here to listen to Substance Abuse & Addictions Counselor Julianna Sliger with her take on Brokenness, Substance Abuse, and Her Journey in General.

Julianna Sliger, substance abuse, addictions, brokenness, emotional health, psychology, mental health, alcoholism, trauma, sexual abuse, triggers, ptsd, broken, brokenness, broken world, podcast, podcaster, podcasting, episode 71, healing our brokenness podcast, katina horton, lifestyle blogger, therapist, mental health professional
Julianna Sliger, Substance Abuse and Addictions Counselor

Podcast Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Julianna Sliger’s Journey
  • Dealing With Substance Abuse / Addictions Clients
  • Brokenness

Bible Verses on Substance Abuse:

1 Peter 5: 8

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6: 19:20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Daniel 1:8

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.

When Trauma Triggers other Trauma(Racism)—Part 1

PTSD/trauma is real. And for those of us who live with it on a daily basis, it can be challenging for some, and debilitating for others. Everyday, we have conversations with people, and those conversations may involve sights, sounds, smells, etc. that trigger some form of trauma that we have experienced in our lifetime. The question that I have for you today is, “What happens when one traumatic event triggers another traumatic event?”

For instance, we are living in a pandemic. This pandemic is trauma-inducing. It brings with it fear, anxiety, uncertainty, unpredictability, isolation, etc. Just going over these elements themselves, it is important to take note that they rank high on the list as contributing factors to PTSD.

In the month of June, we had the death of George Floyd as the deaths of Breanna Taylor and Armaud Arbery were still fresh in our minds. His death led to a series of protests, looting, and upheaval all across the nation, and then all across the world. Some areas even got so bad that the nation guards were brought in, For some people like my mom, this series of events took them straight back to the 1960s when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing. Dr. King had come to Memphis, Tennessee to march peacefully in hopes of helping the sanitation workers get fair pay and treatment.

What he didn’t plan on happening, is that his arrival in Memphis would sadly be the beginning of the end of his life. The national guards would come in to take control. People like my uncle and cousin would be beaten with billy clubs. Looting would take over the city, as well as other places in the United States.

The hardest part about navigating a traumatic event like murder in broad daylight is hoping that you’re not alone. Someone understands and empathizes with your pain. In the sixties, there wasn’t social media. Today, there is. After these deaths, people flocked to social media for expressing their feelings, whether it was outrage, disbelief, shock, or empathy, as others lied in wait to attack them.

The surprise attacks caused these expressers to be retraumatized over and over again. People who you thought felt the same way that you do were showing their true feelings, causing you to feel like a knife was being inserted in your chest. Life became even trickier to navigate. Friendships among races became trickier to navigate. Nothing felt certain. So in a time like this, what do we do in order to navigate this trauma, the trauma of these lives that have been taken.

First of all, we pray, and then pray again, humbling ourselves.

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Corinthians 7: 14

Then…

  • Remind ourselves that this is now 2020, and that our minds want us to think that we’re back in the 1960s.
  • Ground ourselves in the spaces that you we in, with smells, sights, sounds, and pictures reflecting the current time.
  • Remind ourselves that God is soverign and in control, while we pray and hope that justice will be served, knowing that God is the ultimate judge.
  • Talk to our pastor, or another trusted leader for support.
  • Find like-minded friends and family members that you know will offer support.
  • Sign yourself up for therapy if needed.
  • Limit your time on social media.
  • Give yourself grace, compassion, and empathy.
  • And most importantly, grieve, lament, and grieve again. There is no time constraint on grief, and seeing the loss of life is hard for any and all witnesses.

Have a blessed evening!

Katina

The Path to Healing

Each one of us have a different path to healing. No two paths are alike. However, our commonality lies in the fact that we are all human, we all struggle, and we all have childhood wounds of some sort that need to be worked out in order for us to heal and grow. Healing is a lifelong journey. Just when you think that you have completed this journey, it can be one random thought or song, or one major trauma or death that causes you to revisit certain areas, and then go in at a deeper level. The poem “The Path to Healing” reflects thoughts on my healing journey. God bless!

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Photo by Fernanda Publio

The Path to Healing

Abandoned?

Not by His love.

Wounded by earthly doves.

Journeying through all the pain.

Dancing in sun and rain.

Forgiving for damage unknown.

Believing the good will be owned.

Entangled by triggers unfounded.

Triangled-The Trinity keeps me grounded.

The Anniversary Aspect: Trauma Series

We have been dealing with the series “Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis” for a while now. Today we will dissect “The Anniversary Aspect”. Just in case you missed the last post in this series, “The Unpredictability Aspect”, you can read up on that particular issue here.

Anniversary dates can bring on several reactions: laughing, smiling, crying, dread, and so on. These reactions can be separate. Or, they can coexist. The one thing that is true about anniversaries is that no matter how much you try to prepare for them, when the time comes, there is no preparation in the world for what the reality will look like.

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January 13, 2019 made six years that I had to put my ex-husband out. It was two months before his planned exit. Although that was six years ago, when the beginning of this past January rolled around, it felt like it had just happened yesterday. One surprising fact is that the 13th of January fell on a Sunday once again. Just like it was six years ago.

For the first time in almost six years, I dealt with triggers in regards to this event for almost an entire month. I knew that I wasn’t back there, but when the triggers came, it was as if I was standing around in the townhome 6 years ago, trying to decide what to do about the situation that I found myself in at the time: a husband who was staging a fake suicide four days in a row.

If I hadn’t responded in the manner in which I did, by going downstairs and checking the garage, me and my sleeping children could have ended up dead. There are some things that happen in life in which there are no words for, and this is one of them.

How did things get to this point? How could an individual go this far in order to regain control and pull you back in so they could emotionally and psychologically abuse you again?

So many unanswered questions.

And these things will more than likely never been answered on this side of heaven. Hurting people hurt people. Until we begin to take responsibility for our actions, we will continue to bleed out on everyone else in the form of drama, trauma, and layers of brokenness.

One thing that we can do when we are taken back on these anniversary dates is to ground ourselves in the present. We ground ourselves by reminding ourselves of where we are, what we are doing, and how it relates to now. We also create new memories to replace the old ones. There are times when following these steps don’t seem to work, and in those instances, you hold on to Jesus, and give yourself grace as you would give a friend.

Is there an anniversary date that you dread coming up every year?

The Dissociation Aspect: Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis

Background

This is the fourth part in our series of “Living with and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”.  A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the triggers aspect.  Today, we will be discussing the disassociation aspect.  Due to the response that I received from my ex-husband years ago, I started stuffing my feelings.  I can remember very clearly the exact moment that I decided that I would not cry anymore.  I was on the middle level of the townhome, not realizing I’d been heard.  At this point, I had been crying for almost an hour.  He told me that I should quiet down or the kids would possibly wake up.  He kept asking me for the reason behind my crying.  I refused to tell him because I had already figured out that the knowledge didn’t transfer over to things getting better.

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Handling the Pain

Fast forward several years later to 2012, when it became clear that we were heading for divorce, the pain, crying, and feelings came on with full force.  I hadn’t cried for so long, that I had to relearn how to feel the feelings, if that makes sense.  Grieving was difficult because I was afraid of being out of control, and the crying not stopping.  This was due to stuffing my feelings for so long.  I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

What happened before, during, and after the divorce, including now, is that I have been living with managing trauma on a daily basis.  When I finally felt safe enough, I was able to start grieving a little at a time.  I quickly realized that the more you grieve, the less trauma that is stored emotionally, mentally, and physically in your body.  The less you grieve, the more trauma that is stored emotionally, mentally, and physically in your body.

The Dissociation Process

What I didn’t realize is that along with living with trauma on a day to day basis, you are still constantly having more trials, bringing more compounded trauma, and your brain gets on overload.  This is like a computer that has too many processes running at one time.  What ends up happening is that everything locks up, and you can’t do anything.  You have to reboot.  It’s the same way with trauma.  When you are so overloaded with compounded trauma, the one thing, no matter the intensity of it, becomes the straw that broke the camel’s back.  You start numbing out, and then dissociating.  Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity.

Prayer for Relief

You are probably going to laugh at this one.  At first, I started feeling out of control because my feelings started coming back on line, and then I start feeling out of control when my brain starting disassociating from the feelings to protect me.  I can remember one time in particular when the kids and I were living at our last residence, I was loaded up on trauma.  It was so bad, that I started dissociating.  Back then, I didn’t realize that dissociating helps to protect your mental state in these cases.  I prayed real hard, because I starting feeling out of control in the state that I was in, asking God to get rid of the dissociation.  He answered right away, and then all of the feelings came flooding through, with no bottom to ground me.  That’s when even in this bad state that I was in at the moment, I laughed, and told God that I guess I’d better be careful for what I pray for.  Now, I know that I just need to ride it out.  Everything happens for a reason.

 

Please feel free to send an email or respond with a comment down below if you are so led as to how you deal with the dissociating side of trauma.

Hope you have a blessed night!

 

Katina

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.

New International Version (NIV) Proverbs 34: 18-20

The Triggers Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis

Triggers

The “Triggers” aspect of living with and healing from trauma on a daily basis can be daunting at times.  There are days when my brain, emotions, and intuition are right on target.  It is almost like nothing ever happened.  Reality check!  However, there are other days when I am going back and forth trying to decide whether my intuition and the Holy Spirit are trying to tell me something, or if I am just being triggered.  In the beginning, almost everything was a trigger.  Now, I am more evened out where most days are decent, but then other days my symptoms are running rampant, and I have to remind myself that my identity is in Christ, and it is the trauma talking and trying to take over, and to just ride it out.  What I noticed is that with trauma triggers, the more you feed into it, the more your anxiety gets worked up, and thus, the more intense are the triggers.  It can become a vicious cycle.

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Dissecting the Trigger Cycle

One of the hardest things about previously being in a relationship with someone emotionally abusive, and having that person gaslight you almost every day, is that initially it makes you think that every person you talk to who is lying is trying to gaslight you.  Because of the fact that our brains have been through so much,  and is trained to react to certain patterns, it takes a while to get out of this mode.  Full disclosure to help people out  who have teenagers, and live with trauma on a daily basis:   This can be some of the hardest times for you, as it has been for me, because teens take words and change them around from what it is that you are actually saying.  This is part of their development.  However, again, for someone who was in a relationship where they dealt with emotional abuse, and you were gaslight, and everything got turned around and twisted to make it seem like you were the problem, this can be rough.  Reminding yourself that this is a trigger, part of their development, and will get better was essential for me.  My therapist even reminded me, with these words:  “This is going to be a hard time  for you.”  She wasn’t joking.  Initially,  I was discouraged.  However, after time, things got better with this particular trigger.  I pray that it will for you as well.

I hope that this series is helping someone who is needing encouragement as they live with PTSD and trauma on a daily basis.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3, NKJV

Blessings,

 

Katina