I've addressed this subject on several occasions with our felony offender recovery population.  I'll show the 25 minute version of "Healing Neen" on YouTube as her story ties together ACEs, addiction and crime and how they relate to one another.  If I have more than one hour, I talk about brain development (in a simple and easy to understand fashion) and how mindfulness practices can move you from an agitated place in your mind to a more relaxed.  I usually bring mindfulness coloring pages and ask them to color in quiet.  One day a lady said she wasn't sure she could color as she felt a panic attack coming on.  I told her she was welcome to be excused from class to meet with the mental health counselor but before she did would she mind to give coloring a try.  After about 45 minutes she told the whole class, "I feel so peaceful now, if I'd have known about coloring - I might never have tried drugs!"  This program now offers trauma-yoga for it's clients  

Jane Stevens posted:

Hi, Becky...Tonier's story is so powerful. And what a great story about the coloring books! Do you also teach them about the ACE Study and expanded ACEs?

The program moved from a grant I directed to now belonging to the TN Department of Corrections so I don't have as much contact or control over the program as when we started it.  I've discussed ACEs with TDOC and they have a LCSW on the program staff who leads groups and has told me she addresses ACEs using Seeking Safety materials.  They have implemented trauma yoga.  I definitely keep the conversation going with them

Hi Mike,
I found this article published in ACEs Too High so powerful in reframing substance use disorder:  Addiction doc says It's not the drugs its the ACEs  

From the article,
"He says: Addiction shouldn’t be called β€œaddiction”. It should be called β€œritualized compulsive comfort-seeking”.

He says: Ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking (what traditionalists call addiction) is a normal response to the adversity experienced in childhood, just like bleeding is a normal response to being stabbed.

He says: The solution to changing the illegal or unhealthy ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking behavior of opioid addiction is to address a person’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) individually and in group therapy; treat people with respect; provide medication assistance in the form of buprenorphine, an opioid used to treat opioid addiction; and help them find a ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking behavior that won’t kill them or put them in jail...... "

Click here to read the full article!  Addiction doc says It's not the drugs its the ACEs    

In addition, the attached article written by Dr. Felitti provides insights into his early exploration of how ACEs influence additive behaviors.  

I love this quote: "It's not what's wrong with you, its what happened to you!"


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I love that you are looking at teaching people about themselves and how their experience has contributed to the patterns of behaviors. What a great list of resources! Through education and modeling, we can help transform people who have been under the thumb of punitive measures and who have themselves come to believe that they are broken or wrong to understanding that they are adapting appropriately to alleviate the pain that they have experienced. That was a long sentence but hopefully it makes sense. When we know better, we can do better for ourselves, others, and our community. So appreciate the ACESCONNECTION.COM community!

Hi Mike,

At SHARE! the Self-Help And Recovery Exchange, we've found the ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholic and Dysfunctional Families) questions to be a great vehicle for discussion and participation.

Adult Children of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families (ACA), one of the most powerful self-help support groups for coping with trauma, asks the attached questions to help people identify if they have a history of childhood trauma.

Because the questions are about current behaviors rather than shameful experiences from the past, people are able to access feelings and engage in conversation much more quickly.

The questions are also available at AdultChildren.org.


All the best,




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