From Oprah on 60 Minutes and KPJR Film’s Resilience – the Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope, ACEs are in the news. For some of us, we’ve known about them for the past decade. What do we still need to know? How have ACEs had an impact on the trauma informed movement: Do we need to be concerned with how toxic stress hurts kids? Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. ACEs have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential, and early death. As the number of ACEs increase, so does the risk for these outcomes.

How does this really relate to us and the work we do? Dr. Daniel Sumrok, director of the Center for Addiction Science at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine has stated: “Addiction shouldn’t be called ‘addiction.” It should be called ‘ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking.’ Ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking (what traditionalists call addiction) is a normal response to the adversity experienced in childhood, just like bleeding is a normal response to being stabbed. The solution … is to address a person’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).” Wow, I hadn’t thought of ACEs in that light. You? And this is why we must continue the conversations. Come join this workshop for some time of self-reflection and discussion about how we can help others move from hopelessness into hope.