ASCA - Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse - What it is about (1st meeting) ⚠Triggers⚠❓❓

I recently attended my first **in person** ASCA meeting - Wanted to see what it was about and if it would help me in addition to the help I am already receiving here and elsewhere (T, 12-step group).

Not sure if anyone has had any experience with this. I mentioned it in the chatroom here and got some pretty positive feedback so I thought I would give it a try.

Overall it was helpful. Face-to-face is a much different level of sharing than with the anonymous safety of an online group (like MS).

NOTE: This group (and most) was mixed gender, and, of course, more women than men. Yes the women did the majority of the sharing. However, I was at a point in my own Healing Journey where I did not mind sharing at all. Also, being raised with 2 sisters, I am actually MORE comfortable talking with females than males (lots of Fear and Distrust of Males - thanks to perp-father)

So anyway, I liked the structure of the program so I thought I would share it and some links here, in case anyone is interested in adding this to their "Healing Toolbox"

1) ASCA 21-step journey. (their 21 "steps" - VERY different from 12-step groups) 2) how ASCA step work works (again VERY different than how 12-step programs "work")

ASCA's website is here for more info and groups in your area:

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ASCA Stages and Steps

Stage One: Remembering

  • I am in a breakthrough crisis, having gained some sense of my abuse.
  • I have determined that I was physically, sexually or emotionally abused as a child.
  • I have made a commitment to recovery from my childhood abuse.
  • I shall re-experience each set of memories as they surface in my mind.
  • I accept that I was powerless over my abusers' actions which holds THEM responsible.
  • I can respect my shame and anger as a consequence of my abuse, but shall try not to turn it against myself or others.
  • I can sense my inner child whose efforts to survive now can be appreciated.

Stage 2: Mourning
  • I have made an inventory of the problem areas in my adult life.
  • I have identified the parts of myself connected to self-sabotage.
  • I can control my anger and find healthy outlets for my aggression.
  • I can identify faulty beliefs and distorted perceptions in myself and others.
  • I am facing my shame and developing self-compassion.
  • I accept that I have the right to be who I want to be and live the way I want to live.
  • I am able to grieve my childhood and mourn the loss of those who failed me.
Stage Three: Healing
  • I am entitled to take the initiative to share in life's riches.
  • I am strengthening the healthy parts of myself, adding to my self-esteem.
  • I can make necessary changes in my behavior and relationships at home and work.
  • I have resolved the abuse with my offenders to the extent that is acceptable to me.
  • I hold my own meaning about the abuse that releases me from the legacy of the past.
  • I see myself as a thriver in all aspects of life - love, work, parenting, and play.
  • I am resolved in the reunion of my new self and eternal soul.

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How Does StepWork Work?
StepWork is a process whereby you concentrate on one particular step at a time in a given recovery program. It is really an organizing tool to focus your work on one issue at a time so that you do not become overwhelmed by the number and enormity of the tasks that comprise a recovery journey. The idea is to explore in a focused manner the issues presented by a particular step, without confusing these issues with other issues related to other steps.

ASCA's 21 Steps are a statement of the tasks and issues that most adult survivors face during their recovery from child abuse. Think of them as signposts or landmarks along the road of recovery. Unlike some self-help programs, ASCA does not require that participants work the steps although you may choose to do so or that the steps be worked in a linear order. Survivors often spiral through several steps simultaneously and may return to earlier steps after they have reached closure on later ones, or as new material surfaces in their recovery process. Your concept of StepWork may be to emphasize a particular step in your shares in ASCA meetings, or in your individual or group therapy sessions.

The steps of Stage One are concerned with the memories of your childhood abuse. You must acknowledge what happened in the past before you can move forward in recovery. This becomes the foundation upon which you build your recovery. Stage Two focuses on examining your adult behavior, connecting your present strengths and weaknesses to the abuse you suffered and the coping mechanisms you adopted, and allowing the child within you to grieve the aspects of childhood that never existed for you. Stage Three involves consolidating your new, healthier feelings and behaviors, your feelings about the abuse and your adult goals into a new sense of self and then going out and "practicing" this new self in the world.

Remember that not all of the 21 Steps are going to have equal relevance to your life and your abuse history. Depending on your personal experience, some steps will have a more profound significance for you, and these are the steps where you might want to concentrate your focus. You might work on one issue at a particular time because it is the issue that is most relevant to your life at this time. You might work on several steps simultaneously, and you might even feel that some steps have no relevance to your particular experience. You are the ultimate judge of which steps to work and when to work them.

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Hope this helps. It *did* help me (but MS helps me more!! ;) )


Jacob S

Never heard of this group before (or forgot, I have a really poor memory) but looks like some good resources. Thanks for sharing.


Staff member
Thank you for sharing. I believe for me, stage 2 was the most difficult--mourning the loss of self, childhood and innocence. This is where my denial was the strongest. My inability to mourn held me back, I harbored the shame and guilt for what happened--the abuse had to be my fault because I went back. Mourning allowed me to let go of these emotions and to see life for the truth.

I believe the group has much to offer on healing. I wish you the best on this journey.

Very nice info....Thank you so much for sharing. It's always nice to be reminded that what I am going thru is not unusual and that I am not alone in all of this confusion.

Although I first began my journey here...attending a WOR catapulted me in my mission to be free. Yes, being in the presence of real people...hearing them speak of their stories, their pain from their own mouths is what really made me truly realize that I was not alone...I was not the only one. I could physically see them and hear them.



Thank you for sharing. I feel like I have gone through all of those in my life and thought I had mastered them, only for the letters to fall off the page and for me get stuck in a cycle of confusion and doubt..

I will try keep the list handy, maybe it will remind me of where I need to be and make me snap out of the negative loop I seem to be trapped in.
Kal mentioned this thread in a comment he made on one of my posts. I'd said something about planning on attending an ASCA meeting in San Francisco. I'd known about this group since I uncovered my own sexual abuse 26 years ago. The Morris Center that started the ASCA program was active at the time. When I arrived here I thought to check it out and discovered the Morris Center is no longer operating, but all their material supporting survivors is available online and there are a number of groups operating around the country. Kal mention a couple but there are others listed on the website he links to above. That is where I found four different meetings within easy driving distance for me. I'll report back after I've attended. The 21 steps listed above seem a pretty comprehensive approach to this challenging topic we all know so much about. I feel I can use all the help I can get. Thanks for starting this conversation Kal.


Thanks Kal!.

This is very interesting.