Chicken or Egg?

It’s the first Sunday of the New Year.  Usually I would go to Church on Sunday.  I didn’t today! That’s okay!  I spent part of the day with my nineteen year old daughter and her father at a movie, we saw Arrival.  No spoiler’s, suffice it to say that we enjoyed the movie.  Did something different today and that was nice!

Expanding on some of the reading that I have been doing over the year’s that I have been in Recovery, I wanted to talk about the chicken or the egg.  I accept that I am an Addict, I accept that I am in Recovery.  I wanted to know what, if anything, contributed to my making the decisions that I made over those many year’s. I have heard other’s share that they had optimal childhoods, ( normal is a setting on my dryer), and still became addicts.

The field of Neuroscience has researched what is called Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACE. Based on ten questions I answered on a website of ACE information, I saw my earliest experiences condensed into understandable, likely outcomes that are predictors of the trajectory of my life.

For perspective, I am including the questionnaire, of which I scored nine of ten, the only one that did not apply to me was that neither of my parents were incarcerated.  If you are interested in knowing more about ACE, I am including the link to several sites.  Including some charts of ACE and behavioural outcomes.

Evidence of these outcomes is compelling , it spoke to me on many levels.  Specifically what it helped me to understand and accept further is that, considering the circumstances of my childhood, it is a testament of the human spirit that I am still here.  I used to ask what is wrong with me, now I understand that it is what is right with me.  My brain did exactly what it was supposed to do, to keep me alive despite the  abundance of hardship.

Recovery is my life and life is my Recovery.

“The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.”

Prior to your 18th birthday:

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  7. Was your mother or stepmother:
    Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?                        No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  10. Did a household member go to prison?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Now add up your “Yes” answers: _ This is your ACE Score

Got Your ACE Score?

Behaviors and physical and mental health conditionsThe three types of ACEs include abuse, neglect and household dysfunction


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About jhalladay13

Photographer, Knitter, Mother , Christian, Recovering, Victim, Survivor, Thrive, Activist, Reader, Church Singer,Learning Inuktitut language of Baffin Island Inuit. Community Leader, Activist, Advocate and Disrupter!

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