The human memory has difficulty recalling experience before the age of about three years old. Humorously, we adopt this fact as if there is little significance to the first two years of our development. Psychologically, we have been convinced that developmental stages are too early at these young ages, meaning that infantile children are without the capacity of memory. Yet, the very basics of developmental psychology prove otherwise. Watch a child of about two years watch their parents and you will see them imitate facial expressions and sounds. Working memory helps young babies begin to develop behavioral functions.
Children at younger ages have the ability to recall memorable events from within the first twenty months of their lives. By the ages between four and seven years old those memories disappear. Where do they go, and why? The memories simply aren’t memorable enough. Retained memory is different from short term memory. Retaining a memory depends on how much emotion is infused in the experience. Memory episodes are also largely conditional based upon context. Conceptualizing the meanings within episodic memory is a necessity. Being able to have some comprehension of what was going on around us helped us make sense of that situation. Without that basic understanding, there is no way to hold onto the experience. Memory retention is also a matter of sleuth. Our brains investigate the legitimacy of each memory. If the story checks out, the memory gets into our long term storage banks to be recalled at a later date.
Memory and Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction
We can be vulnerable to false memories from using friends or angry parents, and we can reshape our real memories by telling new stories about them. Unknowingly, we can be affected by memories we aren’t aware of, which are called recognition memories. For example, we may turn a street corner and be met with triggering feelings of unease or even euphoric recall. In the midst of a blackout from intoxication we might have had an experience here, yet have not recalled it. Drugs and alcohol impair our memories of all times. Recovery is a healing process for the brain which can result in recovering newer and older memories. Not all memories will be welcomed warmly because they are not pleasant memories. Healing the unconscious of our addicted past will help us create new memories for a future free from drugs and alcohol.
Enlightened Solutions knows how challenging it can be to remember life before drug and alcohol addiction. In our treatment programs for men and women we help with learning to live life after addiction. Through holistic therapy methods and 12 step philosophy our program builds new memories in healthy spirit, body, and mind.