Two days ago Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, another talented soul on the soundtrack of my life, died by suicide; it was also the late Chris Cornell’s birthday, which was even more sting to the heart. He left behind a wife, 6 children, and millions of fans who loved his music. Throughout his fame he openly shared about his past childhood sexual abuse, depression, alcohol and addiction struggles.
There is a strong correlation between childhood sexual abuse and drug dependency in adulthood. Some estimate 90% of people going through drug and alcohol treatment experienced some kind of sexual trauma in the past. Survivors of sexual abuse often turn to drugs and alcohol to help them cope with self hatred, and numb unwanted memories, thoughts and feelings. The problem with using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, is the escapism is temporary; most of the time, if not always, solidifies self hatred, leads to deeper shame, and further isolation from the world… and themselves.
Not everyone who survives childhood sexual abuse copes by using drugs and alcohol. While there are plenty of other self destructive ways people deal, there are certainly more helpful ways of managing the awful pain of the past. Help is available.