Creating Safety for Yourself

Safety is one of our three basic human needs, along with love and belonging. Interestingly enough, we rarely talk about safety in our recovery process. In the “Seeking Safety” materials by Lisa Najavits, she states that our healing from substance abuse and PTSD must start with safety. I find this incredibly fascinating that this has been researched and proven, yet safety is often not discussed. I admit, safety was not something I recognized as important when I started my recovery process. I was in complete survival mode and it took everything I had to go within myself and own my part in my life. It was only later I realized that safety was what allowed me to process thoughts and feelings. Safety makes a lot of sense. We’ve got to feel safe to be able to work through our issues. If you are living in a domestic violence situation, it’s hard to feel safe enough to focus on substance abuse. If you are having unprotected sex, you are putting your health in jeopardy and could possibly create more challenges for yourself. Another example is trusting people to come into your home with your children when perhaps they are not a safe person. There are countless examples of choices we make that could lead to re-traumatization. We can put ourselves into many compromising situations that could potentially make our recovery even harder. Safety is crucial to our recovery process. It takes time to evaluate our support system and make sure we are choosing safe people. Often times, people we thought were safe, are not safe for us. Creating safety takes some heavy honesty and evaluation but when practiced becomes our foundation. Even when certain people are not safe, we can learn how to create safety for ourselves. How do you create safety for yourself?

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