Triumph Over Trauma


Be Set Free



There are specific markers used to determine when recreational alcohol or substance use becomes substance abuse, but generally speaking abuse occurs when there are patterns of behaviour that are creating difficulties in multiple areas in our lives.   Self-sabotaging patterns of behaviour involve things such as: missing work or being let go from jobs due to showing up inebriated or too hung-over to function as needed, fighting with our loved ones frequently because of our behaviours when intoxicated or recovering from intoxication, or lessening our involvement in most activities that don’t include our substance use.

Once these patterns are recognized and we have tried to cut down or stop our substance use, we have difficulty doing so and we start altering the parts of our lives that are more controllable.  Examples of altering our lives to continue using include things such as; ending or distancing relationships with concerned loved ones and replacing them with people who don’t threaten our using, finding a job or way to earn money that doesn’t require traditional work hours or finding activities that can include our substance use. Recognising our use patterns and powerlessness over our consumption is a very tough process that often creates feelings of guilt and defensiveness, and can turn to increased use in order to combat those feelings.


  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis (marijuana leaf, edibles or cannabis concentrate (dabs, wax, budder, oil, etc)
  • Cocaine
  • Cough Syrup (Purple Drank)    
  • Crack
  • DMT
  • Ecstasy/Molly/MDMA
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants (Aerosol can sniffing)
  • Meth (speed, crystal)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Prescription Pain Medication, sedatives, sleep aids or stimulants


  • Taking substance in increasing amounts for the same effect (tolerance).
  • Taking substances longer than intended (for example, one drink turns into four drinks).
  • Spending a lot of time or money in obtaining, using or recovering from the substance.  
  • Cravings or a strong desire to use substances. 
  • Repeated failures to fulfill social, occupational or general life obligations (for example, missing work or social engagements due to use or recovery from use, neglecting housekeeping, hygiene or other simple tasks such as grocery shopping.
  • Continued use in spite of a desire to cut down or quit
  • Continued use in spite of recognising problems created by use. 
  • Continued use in spite of physical dangers (for example health risks associated with the substance itself or putting self at increased risk of hurting self-such as driving while intoxicated)
  • Continued use in spite of psychological harm (For example knowing that depression or anxiety is increased by the substance) 
  • Withdrawal symptoms or persistent use of substance to avoid withdrawal


Triumph Over Trauma utilises a harm reduction approach to substance use and does not assume that everyone who uses alcoholor a substance needs to abstain from that substance.  The initial session will include a thorough assessment of your usage and involves a conversation to determine what steps, if any, that you are ready to take to modify your usage in order to reduce the difficulties it is causing in your life.  I use a person-centred approach to empower you to make your own choices to recover a functional lifestyle.

At Triumph Over Trauma, I use an open-minded approach to substance use due to working with multiple individuals who thought they needed to hide their usage from their past therapists out of fear of judgment or misunderstanding. Therapy should be one place where you feel safe enough to discuss the darkest parts of yourself and your fears.  A good therapist will not ever make you feel like you need to hide yourself.  Often times, talking about something honestly is the first step towards change or acceptance.

Having lived experience and having worked within the addiction field as a counsellor I have witnessed the most effective and efficient process in dealing with addictive behaviour is the Richards Trauma Process TRTP™. This is usually conducted over 3 x 2-hour sessions including planning for the future. To be able to participate in the TRTP sessions it is paramount that the client is clean and straight.