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Getting in Touch with your Inner Child

by Cristina Villalon

The average person considers their inner child to be someone who finds joy in eating ice cream for breakfast and watching morning cartoons, but things aren’t so simple for people with substance use disorder. Many people who grapple with addiction realize that the trauma they endured early in life impacted their drug experimentation and eventual habitual misuse. No one wishes to one day be affected by substance use disorder when they’re a child, but various situations and experiences will one day lead them there.

What is an Inner Child?

For people in recovery, the idea of getting tuned in with who they once were as children can feel overwhelming, especially after decades of avoidance and numbing painful memories with mind-altering drugs. Substance use counselors and addiction therapy specialists believe that the inner child within adults never goes away. Habits and coping mechanisms learned in childhood become conditioned over time and into adulthood, keeping the inner child’s dialogue and experiences relevant. Through studies in psychotherapy, some experts also believe that the inner child may hold the key to unlocking one’s true and original self when approached with care and help those in recovery overcome harmful past trauma.

Addressing the Needs of the Inner Child

By examining the aspects and circumstances of one’s childhood, many will see how their addiction mirrored previous abuse, neglect, or unhealthy attachment types that stemmed from parenting. This gives people in recovery a chance to heal the inner child that has held onto trauma for so long and makes their dedication to recovery even stronger.

Repairing the Inner Self

While people begin to look into getting through to their inner child, they’ll start to see that the relationship they had with their parents and the one they have with themselves is not too different. This allows them to reframe these negative experiences in the present, making amends with the child who grew up with poor parenting, leading to low self-worth and other unhealthy romantic relationships and toxic friendships.

Once those early negative impacts are recognized and the repair has begun, those in recovery will notice that they need to use a nurturing and protective approach towards themselves and their progress as if they’re a good parent to their inner child. This breakthrough can help heal self-sabotaging habits and harmful coping methods that can cause setbacks in recovery.

Many people in recovery struggle with regret and have a difficult time forgiving themselves for things caused by their addiction. Inner child work in therapy can help alleviate many of these challenging emotions that can act as roadblocks to progress. Eventually, they can heal and build respect for themselves and their recovery to bolster their strength to move forward with confidence.

The road to recovery is possible at Health Care Resource Centers with comprehensive and effective treatment delivered by knowledgeable and compassionate staff and medical providers. Contact us today to find out more about our medication-assisted treatment options and our substance use counseling.

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