Several years ago I asked my family doctor how many families are dysfunctional. His reply: "They're all dysfunctional", surprised me. It doesn't surprise me now. In the opening pages of my book, REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Childhood Sexual Abuse I mention three telling comments:
If you are happy and your life is working well, you don't need this book. If the partner you are with treats you with care and respect, and your world is people with those who make healthy choices, you don’t need this book, andIf you have no dark and painful shadows from your childhood lurking in the corners of your mind, you don't need this book.
One out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually assaulted at some time in their lives. The legacy left behind is depression, suicidal, domestic violence partners, low self esteem, insomnia, excessive need to control, needy, weak boundaries, unhealthy choices in member of the opposite sex, neurotic tendencies, chronic illness, manic depressive behavior, promiscuity, alcohol, drug, food or sex addicted, compulsive behavior, shame, self loathing, and self mutilation. That's a huge load to be carrying around. Even one of those is a huge load.
The only one guilty or responsible for these results of childhood sexual abuse is your perpetrator. The only one that can eradicate them and make you healthy and happy is you. It's not an easy job. It requires great courage. You must work your way through memories you may not want to see, talk of people you are afraid of, and learn new behavior patterns that at first will be so alien to you that you won't want to even talk about them.
Quit drinking? No more obsessing on food? Stop my drug addiction? Go without sex? Not me you think. Better the devil I know than the devil I don't. Not true. I'm here to tell you that I went from being married to my third abuser, suicidal, filled with despair and living part time in a woman's shelter to being the happiest person I know. Was it easy? Hell no! But I saw an ending in front of me and a new beginning and I wanted both. So I kept on working towards them. And you can too! One day at a time, one of the slogans of Twelve Step programs is a great thing to keep telling yourself. During my recovery I sometimes had to say, "One minute at a time". Unless you go through recovery your life will never be healthy or happy. So get serious. Step one, Join a 12 step group. There are groups for narcotics, alcoholics, sexual addiction etc. etc. If none of them is specific to your problem go to a CoDependency meeting. Give it six meetings. Something magical happens at the sixth meeting. You begin feeling you are in the right place. Start working a rigorous and honest 12 step program. Step two, buy a copy of REPAIR Your Life. Amazon.com has them at a low cost and has several five star reviews on them. Then start working that program. Step Three: Make a decision as to whether you need a therapist. Some will be able to go through recovery doing only the first two steps. But some of you need a guide. Look at it as a journey across the Bridge of Recovery. All you need to do is to get to the other side.
That’s it! Get started!