The co-founding bassist and songwriter joins Dr. Mike Friedman to share how traumatic life events contributed to his addiction, and how he has been able to maintain sobriety for 20 years. The Grammy Award-nominated musician describes how he experienced multiple stressful and traumatic events in his life including abuse, neglect, and concussions from football – all of which can have an impact on mental and physical health. He opens up about how traumas like these are a beast with multiple tentacles that can tear us down, leaving us vulnerable to substance use.
Sixx, who's new book is called The First 21, explains how traumatic events can create emotional chaos and confusion, making it more difficult and complicated to connect with ourselves and achieve emotional well- being. When we feel so confused, empty, and in pain, we look to simple things that make us feel connected. Sometimes it can be something healthy like music, while others it’s substances like drugs or alcohol that temporarily soothe us.
Sixx details how understanding what functional benefits he received from using has helped him understand what needs required fulfilling as he worked on recovery. He also uses this same thought process to help others with their own recovery. We must remember that addiction is still a mental illness, and it is crucial that we treat people who struggle with addiction with dignity and respect, seeing them as a whole human being trying to figure out their lives and how substances have played a role in that journey up until this point. That gives us the best balance of empathizing and being compassionate as we help people in their ongoing recovery.
So let's go there with Nikki Sixx and listening to his discussion on substance abuse above.
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