#248 – How To Recover From Trauma with Ann Dowsett Johnston

VeronicaValli

Ann joins Veronica to explore how trauma can be the root of an alcohol problem and how we need to heal this trauma in order to stay sober.

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about this episode

“We can and we do heal. It’s a beautiful process.” – Ann Dowsett Johnston

There’s an intricate relationship between trauma, women, drinking, and the transformative path to recovery.

The topic of trauma, especially in relation to women’s drinking habits, has long been shrouded in silence. However, this conversation is finally stepping into the light as we’ve come to understand that alcohol problems often stem from traumatic experiences. The question has shifted from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”—a pivotal change in perspective that opens the door to empathy and healing.

Today I’m digging into this topic with bestselling author Ann Dowsett Johnston. As we peeled back the layers of this complex issue, Ann and I uncovered personal experiences and professional insights that can resonate with many.

Ann Dowsett Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, named one of the top 10 books of 2013 by The Washington Post. An award-winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience, Ann is a prominent voice on the issue of women and risky drinking, winning many awards for her advocacy, including an honorary degree from Queen’s University. Now a psychotherapist working primarily with women, Ann also leads a dynamic memoir workshop called Writing Your Recovery, designed to help would-be writers mine the story within.

In this episode, Ann and I talk about:

  • The relationship between trauma and alcohol use
  • Our natural inclination to self-medicate and the need for understanding and compassion rather than judgment
  • How shut-down households impact communication and emotional healing
  • Our experiences with trauma and the lack of communication in our families
  • The effective aspects and challenges of alcohol as a coping mechanism
  • Distinguishing between big T and small T traumas
  • Navigating recovery and therapy
  • The transformative potential of sobriety.
  • Delayed grief and why we need to process emotions in sobriety
  • Surviving and processing the full spectrum of emotions, particularly in the context of childhood trauma
  • Grief as the price of love
  • The unpredictable nature of grief and emotions
  • Why community and connection are essential to your recovery and healing
  • Embracing hope, turning past experiences into wisdom, and using them to connect with and support others

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