We exist to encourage people to resolve trauma in a healthy, lasting and functional way. Trauma Survivors Anonymous offers encouragement and support to find another level of recovery.
When TSA was originally started, the looming questions was "How can you get people from such dramatically different traumatic experiences together and make any sense of it?" This is a fair question since most existing 12 Step groups rely on identification and a shared issue. ( Alcoholism, gambling or overeating as examples) We realized that the focus would need to be split for the most effective chance at recovery. First we focus on the effects of the trauma on our lives. We have found that trauma affects us all in similar ways, differing only in intensity and degree. If we could all share about our common struggles with these "effects" and share our solutions with each other, we would become stronger because of the varieties of traumatic experiences. Because of this we have Beginners meetings that focus only on the effects, and not the trauma. We have also found that deeper work is eventually necessary and most effective with those who have shared similar experiences, so we also have meetings where only those who have a specific type of trauma can participate. This ensures that each person can go as deeply into their trauma as necessary, and at their own pace.
Why do we suggest experience with working steps in a primary 12-step program?
Before beginning to do trauma work with the TSA steps, we strongly suggest experience working the 12 steps in another program* with a sponsor. The importance of being grounded in recovery cannot be emphasized enough. For addicts of any kind, including codependents (relationship addicts), avoiding relapse is crucial. Relapse to active addiction, to one’s primary substance or process or switching to another, thwarts recovery, both recovery from addiction and recovery from trauma. It is potentially fatal. Facing one’s own trauma is difficult and painful; for addicts, one often-disastrous option when confronted with pain is relapse to drug use. The insidious relapse to work addiction, exercise, relationship obsession and other “subtle” or “hidden” addictions is just as growth-stunting as relapse to overt alcohol or drug use, gambling or pornography.
After embracing a primary recovery, through a treatment program or daily attendance at meetings and intensive work with a sponsor, the addict or codependent develops tools. These tools are an alternative to the reflex of return to any destructive obsession. When living in 12-step recovery, especially if genuinely embracing recovery and working an intensive program, turning to the steps becomes a viable option for dealing with anything that causes distress. Addicts, including codependents, find that there is “getting clean” and “staying clean.” In order to stay clean, not relapse to destructive behavior, significant experience living in recovery is imperative. It is an important part of the foundation for trauma recovery.
* ACA, CODA, SA, SLAA, SAA, AA, NA, OA, GA, WA or other.