What Is My Inner Child and What Does It Have to Do With My Recovery?

What Is My Inner Child and What Does It Have to Do With My Recovery?

No one in their right mind ever decides that they wish to endure a substance use disorder (SUD) when they grow up. In fact, someone with a SUD has probably withstood some sort of trauma, loss, or abuse during their younger years which inevitably has played a part in the evolution of their addiction. The inner child gets caught in the crossfire and the emotional subconsciousness becomes scarred making drugs and alcohol seem like the solution for relief.  

What is my inner child?

The inner child is defined as “a person’s original or true self, especially when regarded as damaged or concealed by negative childhood experiences”. While the inner child may appear to be part of a pretentious psychological language to some, those who have had negative experiences that have truly affected them could really relate to this concept in their recovery. A person tends to react childlike in certain negative and toxic situations because they are subconsciously reminded of something that happened to them early on and have developed no coping skills to combat it.

Why does alleviating the inner child help your recovery?

Taking time to heal the wounds of the past will make grasping recovery much easier over time. History will continue to repeat the past without a person working on the root and cause of their pain. One of the common characteristics of people in recovery is isolating from society, even their close loved ones. Isolating is also a common characteristic to those who were abandoned in their childhood. Instead of relying on others who they believe will eventually abandon them, they will keep their distance to avoid people altogether who can hurt them first. What they will learn in their recovery is that human interaction is extremely important, but before they can trust having others to share in their recovery journey, sorting out the past is imperative. Learning tools and changing their thinking will be essential in altering the way that they choose to live moving forward. Breaking the cycle of past transgressions will help someone to confront their pain and make them vulnerable to share with others on how they did it.

How do you heal your inner child?

Taking time to understand what has hurt their inner child can get a person connected to their true self. Instead of stuffing the feelings and trying to act as nothing happened, an individual should take the time to figure out what is holding them back within the safe space of a sponsor or a therapist who can guide them. Using some essential keys to heal their inner child will be crucial for progress.


Trust is an important factor in recovery. Learning to fully trust someone else is really difficult for someone whose inner child has been afflicted. Having a supporter who is non-judgmental and non-shaming can help to corroborate their issues with abandonment, trauma, neglect, or abuse. Opening up to another person will start the ball rolling in the healing process. 


Validation also makes someone who is struggling to heal their inner child able to move forward. If a child felt abandonment, neglect, trauma, or abuse and never had a way to recover from the pain that was caused, they will carry their wounds with them into their adulthood. They will continue to justify or believe what happened to them is their fault or that they deserved it. Through the validation of a therapist, a sponsor, or a pastor, an individual can understand they were not culpable and that they were in an unwarranted situation.


Identification is a must when it comes to healing the inner child. A person who has had a painful childhood usually finds an alter ago to defer their flawed and defective self. In return, they try to become someone who appears accomplished to the person(s) whom they are trying to avoid conflict with. Instead of accepting who they truly are, they feel more comfortable being the person they think that others want them to be. Adapting back to their true self is important so they can embrace the feelings they have suppressed to work through them both as their inner child and at their present age. 

Working the 12 Steps, talking to a therapist, or journaling can create huge strides in a person’s healing process. To deny themselves the opportunity to resolve their internal conflict set into motion as a child or set boundaries in their ongoing relationships would enable them to use substance abuse as a crutch. Rather than drink or use, a person who reconstructs their emotional patterns that directly relate to their inner child can become confident in their present situation and use their past as a memory of how far they have come. 

Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463

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