Beginning of Recovery? End of Denial


I was talking with my therapist yesterday and without really thinking it through beforehand or during the session I reached a tentative conclusion about questioning consent. I think it is a way to keep me from /ignore the clear abuse that happened when i was 13.

By staying focused on the age of consent, I am ignoring the real stuff. I told my therapist i want to begin confronting the repercussions of the abuse and work on it.



Your question is an impossible one.

Where does recovery/healing start? ... I doubt anybody can answer that question.

I for one have been dealing with my abuse for 30 years. If I had to pinpoint a moment it would be the day I saw my doctor because I was
on the verge of a breakdown.
I couldn't eat ... couldn't sleep ... couldn't concentrate at work where focus and last minute decision making has key to ensure the safety of many.
I was in a haze of confusion and fear and dread.

Emotions and thoughts were colliding in my head and nothing made sense.'
In desperation I went to see my doctor.
He was subbing for vacationing doctor so I had never seen him before.
Sitting in his office I was not succeeding at all in holding on to coherent thought.
We had been talking ... well, he talked and I tried to between the sobs ... for what seemed like an eternity ... when suddenly ... and out of nowhere without a moments thought I asked ...
"Is it possible to be abused as a child and not remember it?"
He got up and came around his desk and knelt on one knee beside me and put his arm around my shoulders and said ...
"Yes it is."

That was the beginning of a long and painful process toward recovery and healing ... and as much as I don't want to scare the younger guys who are just beginning ...
I'm not done yet.
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I would say the moment when recovery starts is when you realize that what happened to you was WRONG. If you don’t realize or don’t see that it was wrong, how could you recover?
I also look at it somewhat differently. Along my path, several seeds have been sprinkled, some of them would sprout sooner, some of them later. It’s not uncommon for me to understand, years later, what somebody was trying to tell me. The seed needed to be planted, but it simply wasn’t ready to germinate and bloom. If the seed was never planted, how could it ever sprout? All too often, there have been seeds in my path that either I haven’t recognized or forgotten about them, but just because I couldn’t see them didn’t mean they were not there. When does a mighty oak starts? It starts as a seedling, but it needs time and the right conditions to grow and prosper into a majestic, fully grown tree. So, if you see a sprout you didn’t see before, that means that something has been going on unnoticed that has led to the sprout making its way to the surface.
I hope this makes sense to you. Sometimes I engage my poetic, creative self to make sense of things my analytical brain cannot, but I realize other people may process things, differently, this is just my take.

Nothing Man

I partially agree with PRFL, when one realizes the actions done to one's body were wrong is a place to begin. In my case, however, I did not begin to heal until I hit rock bottom with alcoholism and addiction. I had acted out at times in the past and found myself as low as I could get. Depression nearly killed me. Healing began for me when I started treating the whole me -- the alcoholic, depressive, and survivor of childhood and adult abuse.

It is also important to mention that the beginning of the healing process did not automatically make life wonderful. If anything, for a while -- especially the first year of sobriety -- life was difficult. I was struggling against the addiction, I was struggling against the depression and its whispers to me to take my life, and I had to come to terms with the fact that I was raped by a male babysitter, sexually abused continually by my mother, and groped as an adult by a stranger. Fortunately I had a very good therapist who was able to help me make sense of the maelstrom that was my life. No, life is not wonderful now, but it certainly is much, much better than when I began the journey.


I partially agree with Nothing Man's partial agreement with me :) (sorry I couldn't resist!)
The point I was trying to make is that it takes the realization that something is wrong, whether its alcoholism or sexual abuse of whatever realization jolts us awake and causes us to take the very scary step to ask for help.
The first year is extremely rough, indeed, as I've witnessed with my own past clients of substance abuse, and in my case, my abuse history.
Maybe it's a multi-layered issue, because I've seen people start their journeys by facing their substance abuse, then they realize there's something much deeper like abuse that also must be faced.
That's just my take on it. Although I don't have history of substance abuse, I do feel I've been an emotional addict and currently I'm in relapse mode, very painfully trying to climb out of it after crashing and burning this past month.
Yes, it is very hard work, but healing is so totally worth it that I'll do whatever I need to do even if it's uncomfortable. I just need to remind myself that I need to do this gently, one day at a time. Easy does it...