From the talk

His addiction was directly linked to trauma. He was a sensitive gay kid who was also athletic. He felt really different. When the ‘wolf pack’ discovered he was different, “they found something in me they had to snuff out. It wasn’t just that they turned their back, it also involved ridicule, public humiliation and physical violence. I remember going into my room and thinking “the world is no longer safe”. All of that was too painful for me to assimilate. I certainly didn’t have the consciousness to work through it so I did what so many of us do. I went on with life trying to survive. One way I tried to survive was to start taking substances to medicate these feelings of anger and fear and vulnerability.

It worked for 20 years until it stopped working. When it stopped working, that was for me the scariest part of the whole thing. The prospect of actually living life being this emotionally sensitive to the world without medication was absolutely terrifying.

Allowing everything that is arising can be allowed to be exactly as it is. The words and pictures in the mind and sensations in the body. We’re not trying to fix them, we’re simply resting with them. This is the Velcro Effect, how daily life triggers underlying trauma. He became interested in what is happening in those moments of being triggered. What happens in the interior space is something you’re sensing or feeling and it’s connected to words and pictures in the mind. Natural Rest – recognition of basic awareness and come to know it more throughout the day.

Humans have developed elaborate ways to turn away from phenomenon and that’s what keeps it in place. It is a natural response to turn away from the phenomenon of trauma because it’s so scary. So overwhelming. Staying in our heads is a way, drugs is a way. The remedy is to do it in a loving and skillful way with awareness. There are real stakes when we don’t look at trauma. When people do drugs or alcohol, they can die. It’s really dangerous. There are lots of success stories. They are ready. They are in deep pain and they say “show me how to deal with this”. Often trauma is stored on an unconscious level. When we’re ready, we want to bring trauma to the surface. Bring it up in the light of awareness.