I was talking with another survivor friend last night and he told me that his psychologist had pronounced him "cured." I thought that rather odd because cured sounds like recovery from a disease. I am surprised that a professional would use that word in the context of abuse recovery. It's not like we "caught" something.

I use the word recovery because I have recovered my sense of self, my self-esteem, and my confidence. Because those things were taken from me by all the abuse. I also don't use the word healed, because, to me, that would mean that the memories wouldn't still hurt.

Anyway, would welcome your thoughts on these words!
Folks in the world of the 12 Steps generally use the word "recovering". I know when I first attended Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meetings twenty years ago I was offended by the idea that anyone would continue to go to 12 Step meetings and thought in terms of a cult. I believed healing was possible and we would change the channel... move on without need of these nutty people. Now I've been attending Overeaters Anonymous for 11 and a half years and have come to a different understanding that feels apropos to work with sexual trauma.

Language of the 12 Steps hasn't worked for me but it is evident that recovery has less to do with managing behavior than healing what lies beneath the behavior, which is always some form of traumatic experience. The uncovering that happens when working steps allows participants to unpack those experiences, while the support of the fellowship helps them feel less alone with their shame. I now appreciate that this process of deepening our relationship with ourselves is ongoing and that the intimacy and honesty fostered by attending meetings is a precious thing. Who would want to walk away from the deeply caring community formed around recovery?

All of this for me mirrors the work of coming to terms with trauma. We do it best when in the fellowship of others who know the experience and we have to tell deep truths about our experience, both the initial trauma and how those experiences affected subsequent behaviors. And we need to find compassion for ourselves in the process. I think of it as healing much in the way that for a wound to heal it must first be exposed to light and air. So long as the wound is festering it can't heal. I'm also inclined to believe those who lean into the neuroplasticity of the brain heal through creating new pathways that support self-esteem, confidence, a solid sense of self. That doesn't mean we forget what went before, but we have a new way of holding that pain so it no longer controls our thoughts, our behaviors. I'll always believe, of course, what a spiritual teacher I met years ago who said "Old friends come to visit." So healing doesn't mean I'll never be triggered again. I will have more work to do in caring for myself in the face of new challenges. I think it is rather a human thing to keep evolving/growing/healing/being... or recovering. I say I'm recovering my aliveness thought truth be told, I'm not certain I ever had my aliveness since the terror began when I was so young...
Given how horrific your abuse was Jaxson I'm glad you had someplace early in your life when you were happy. The earliest photos of me show a very withdrawn, sullen boy with a stunned expression on his face. I feel I finally understand what that boy was experiencing and it was terror ameliorated only by dissociation. But the truth WILL set us free. At least now I'm holding the deepest pain.

TJ jeff

My T used that word with me a few times - but... what he really meant was that he felt that I could go forward in life in society without major issues - he did not mean that there would not be difficulties that would set me back from time to time - just that he felt I now had the tools to be able to deal with those issues and move past them as they arise

I also feel a much better word he could have used was RECOVERED - I do not like the word healed either - somehow to me that word takes something away from the scars that are still there