Childhood trauma is a risk factor for nearly all mental health and substance abuse disorders, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The significant correlation shows substances such as alcohol being used to bury past pain or abuse.
Linda Sanchez, a graduate of the Loma Linda University Behavioral Health's Substance Use Recovery & Wellness Program in Murrieta, is one of many individuals who suffered years of trauma in her childhood but never took the time to deal with the deep-seated pain. “I pushed everything I went through down and didn’t want to acknowledge that there was a problem,” Sanchez says.
After years of pushing down the trauma, Sanchez turned to alcohol. It started as something fun, but soon, fun became a problem, and the problem became a necessity. That’s when she decided she needed to get help.
Sanchez met with her primary care physician, who suggested attending a Loma Linda University Behavioral Health program. “When I started the program, it was to deal with the alcohol addiction, but it became so much more than that,” she says.
In the program, Sanchez confronted the underlying factors from her childhood trauma with a healthy support system surrounding her. “I felt like an onion — they kept peeling layers back, and once we got to the root of the problem, we were able to work on ways to recover,” she says.
For so many years, her family tried to help her, but they didn’t understand the reasons behind my habits, she says. By attending classes with her, Sanchez’s family supported her in new and meaningful ways.
Sanchez says showing up was the most challenging part, but her family’s support made it possible. “Once I walked through those doors and met the others who are in similar situations, I knew I wasn’t alone,” she says. “Even though we were from different backgrounds, we all had one big burden in common.”
After Loma Linda University Behavioral Health, Sanchez’s life has made a complete turnaround. “I get up in the morning now with purpose instead of a drink,” she says. “My relationship with my family is stronger than it’s ever been, and I have the tools needed to be successful.”
Now more than four years after graduating from the program, Sanchez says the tools she gained from the program have helped her deal with any stressful situation she may face — not just those surrounding substance abuse. “I carry around this toolbox of things I learned in the program, and now and again, I have to pull something out and use it,” Sanchez says. “But knowing you have the tools can make situations a lot more manageable.”
“Don’t try to battle addiction on your own, because there is help available.”
Visit our behavioral health services website to learn more about the substance use treatments offered at the Loma Linda University Health. Request information on a specific area, and one of our intake coordinators will contact you.