Dapaanz Executive Director Sue Paton says people with addiction have been particularly impacted by sexual abuse and other childhood trauma and that most of the people she knows struggling with addiction have trauma in their pasts.
“We’re not minimising anybody else’s pain or diminishing what anyone has achieved overcoming it, but the significance of sexual abuse in the lives of people with addiction is a story that really needs to be heard. Many people still see addiction as a person’s own responsibility without fully understanding the drivers behind it.
“Upbringings marred by such heinous breaches of adult trust seem to be the rule rather than the exception within recovery communities. Acts of childhood sexual violation cast long and painful shadows over victims’ lives, driving them to self-medicate and towards other self-destructive behaviours, complicating the recovery process.”
Ms Paton says people who have been sexually abused as children are often left feeling dirty and worthless, believing what happened to them was somehow their fault.