I'm super uncomfortable being honest about my abuse story even in 12 step rooms

it's astonishing that people are willing to accept pedophiles as fellow sex addicts
I don't know if they are. I've never heard anyone declare themselves that or any members call another guy a pedophile. People allude to "illegal porn" or "illegal behavior" and reading between the lines, it often means underage. I don't think every "addict" who progresses toward that line is a pedophile. I think many walk toward that line as a transgression/shame point for themselves. However, being a victim of CSA, I know what damage can be done and I feel like that's what this conversation has been about rather than pedophile vs not-pedophile. I think people who cross into illegal behavior even once, can do a lifetime of damage. I think some people take a full accounting of the damage they did or might have done but I wonder how many and I wonder if a lot of other men are letting them off of the hook because they also want to not face the damage that they've done.

I have to remember that at the end of the day (or my life), being a victim or a victimizer isn't the dividing line of good/bad. People are imperfect and some are seeking to be better and some are not. But certain 12 step rooms are not "designed" for survivors to get the support, help and identification that they need or want.
 
I've never heard anyone declare themselves that or any members call another guy a pedophile. People allude to "illegal porn" or "illegal behavior" and reading between the lines, it often means underage. I don't think every "addict" who progresses toward that line is a pedophile.
i was reacting to what @Rick S. said -
"I went to a SLAA men's meeting and one of the guys admitted he was a priest who sexually assaulted children. I never went back to THAT group again. Thing is, he didn't seem remorseful, just mad that he had been defrocked. Remembering that share haunts me."

sex offenders should get help, but they shouldn't get to sit next to survivors. like i said, if they are so "addicted to sex" that they can't help but molest other human beings, they can always apply for chemical castration. it won't kill them
 

1islandboy

Registrant
Ed follow your instincts and hopefully your own T. Look at the scientifcly accepted research.
For myself After spending many many many nights in meetings. More hours online meetings and being ever more pressured to share details and finally truly listening to the check ins. With true help from my T I awoke to the reality that many if not most members of SAA were Perpetrators - a LOTif pedophiles and at least some seemed to be more interested in gleaning tips on what grooming tips worked. No wonder you are feeling the way you are.
At least move to the CR or even AA groups for the support and structure of the twelve step system without as much risk of Perp baggage.
Wow, now there is a sentence, I need to remember. "Perl Baggage"
 

DannyT

Registrant
I'm tired, exhausted really, of trying to manage an image.
Many of us get stuck in this. We want to project an image to the world that we can hide behind, assuming the world will find us wanting.

Some facts that help me with this.

1) Some people abused me. That's a neutral truth, like breaking a leg, not something to be ashamed of.
2) I responded to that abuse by developing some patterns of thinking and behaving. I am responsible for managing those with help.
3) Because I am human, like everyone else, I am not perfect, can't be expected to be perfect and need to stop expecting it from myself.
4) The past is the past. I need to let it be the past without blame or worry.
5) Every present day, I have an opportunity to be my best self. That is my main practice. Be my best self. And if I fail that day, repeat number 3!
6) Recovery means putting the above into deep action.

Our image to the world is actually constructed from number 5. That is what your world will see.
 
DannyT, I agree with all that you wrote. For me, I thought the image that I tried to portray was me. I really did. I didn't know until now that it was just a mask BUT a mask made up of deep seated patterns of thinking and behaving that protected me when I was a boy. For some of us, it takes longer to recognize that we aren't in that trauma or neglect any longer and that we can let go and move into living in today. However, it takes help and support and identification to outgrow and recognize that we can let go and live differently. And there is grieving and anger from lost time and lost relationships while we live today. It's an undertaking. For me, it requires faith, acceptance, perseverence, stamina, support, trust. To come out as an abuse survivor and to change one's identity when trust and faith have been exploited or terribly abused is a scary process. I like your facts a lot because they are the essence of how we live but they each sentence in the "facts" might require different levels of work depending on your life experience, background, support, circumstances, etc. It's been a process for me to get to know those facts.
 

DannyT

Registrant
I like your facts a lot because they are the essence of how we live but they each sentence in the "facts" might require different levels of work depending on your life experience, background, support, circumstances, etc. It's been a process for me to get to know those facts.
You're so right that it is a process. I think the facts part is really important. And the process part to me needs to be taken in steps. I tried to make the list in the order I think the steps worked for me. Almost all of us have serious trouble with fact number 1. And until it is accepted as fact, we can't move on to the others. Asking for help is impossible because we blame ourselves, etc. So we need to take the time. I posted a set of steps from Buddhism that really help with how to take the time and make this work.

Once we recognize as fact that "Some people abused me. That's a neutral truth, like breaking a leg, not something to be ashamed of." Then we can accept that truth. We can say, "OK. Something broke that day, but I didn't do the breaking. It just broke, and now I can try to heal it. But then we have questions about the all the crap that came after. "If it was a neutral thing, why am I still suffering?" Good question! That's where fact number 2 comes in. I could have added that one is also neutral. No one is to blame for the thinking. It's just human thinking. We can change it. Especially if we add number four, then we can get help.

Thanks so much for this thread. It is so helpful to talk these things through.
 
This is great Danny. Finally simply admitting that i was abused was a beginning of relief. It's the truth. That's the start.

What you're writing about in 2nd paragraph is letting go of judging self for my human reactions, patterns and behaviors and accepting them. And by accepting them without judgment or with less and less judgment, i can start to see that i have choices. For me, that required support, identification and others telling me things can change thru these groups, other groups, faith practices, starting to listen more to self.

it takes stamina, dedication, courage, faith, letting go, a lot of letting go
 

DannyT

Registrant
letting go of judging self for my human reactions, patterns and behaviors and accepting them. And by accepting them without judgment or with less and less judgment, i can start to see that i have choices.

it takes stamina, dedication, courage, faith, letting go, a lot of letting go
Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes. All the while we're stuck in judgement of ourselves (and blame for self and others) we're trapped in the dark room with the abuse still happening. We're caught in a loop, like when we pick a sore and make it worse. But once we start to accept the neutral facts of the abuse and our responses with out judgement we have so many more choices. Like you said, It's the "beginning of relief. It's the truth. That's the start."

And going back to your original theme, one of those choices you get is whether or not to tell the abuse story. Once we see the events and responses as essentially part of the human condition, our story becomes part of the larger story of CSA in the world. We are, each of us, all of us. And sometimes telling the story is useful. Telling it the first few times (especially if we haven't already accepted the story as "neutral" the way we are talking about it) is one of the first giant steps in healing. But once we accept and welcome the story, it just becomes another story in our lives, like my ski accident stories or hurricane stories, and telling them only happens for a purpose. If I'm with you guys, I'll often share pieces of my story where they seem like they might help someone see the commonness of their story as part of our collective story of csa. Or maybe a friend asks me why I never have dates. I don't mind sharing my experience cause it might help them understand me better. But I'm not afraid of it any more. It's just a story that has its purposes in my life. And I get to choose how much to tell. "Something bad happened to me when I was a kid" is as much the story as spelling out all the details would be.

You're so right that it takes stamina, courage, faith, and a lot of letting go. It also takes some joy. The process of letting go is relaxing into joy. Relaxing into the pleasure of the work of healing. Of seeing the patterns and letting go of caring whether today is a great or a terrible day, realizing that it is a day we get to live. Our emotional states are truly rollercoasters we get to ride. They don't have to ride us. That's a choice that's hard to earn. Like you said, "it takes stamina, courage, faith, and a lot of letting go." I'm so grateful to be alive and still practicing.
 
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Hey anyone who reads this.

I'm revisiting this thread 2 weeks later to say how grateful I am for this thread. It has changed my relationship to SAA in a good way. I've tapered off and basically don't attend any longer. Whether that is permanent or temporary only time will tell. Having different voices share their perspectives on here opened my eyes to some things that I didn't see myself. I don't want to focus too much on what those rooms can't do for me. They once were great rooms for me and they gave me a space to break some patterns and habits. Now I have other things to "break down" and yet other things to "build up" but not in there.

Thanks all for the dialogue.
 

Ferguson

Registrant
Thank you Ed for starting this thread and for everyone else. It is such a confirmation that I'm heading in the right direction. So much identification. I have really needed SA especially because the sobriety definition is not problematic for me. I really enjoyed connecting with others who have addiction and the honesty. I wasn't expecting perfection from it. One problem I began to notice was that while they acknowledge that sex addiction is the symptom only - it gets the focus of attention. I managed to do step 4 (an inventory of resentments and fears) without getting the POWER back mentioned in this thread:

ED:"letting go of judging self for my human reactions, patterns and behaviors and accepting them. And by accepting them without judgment or with less and less judgment, i can start to see that i have choices."

DannyT's "facts"

I can't drink - it's just how it is. If I have one I am powerless (at this time) to stop - I only stop when I'm drunk. I have not had a drink for 10 years. I have food issues, film issues. I am an addict but I know that is only the symptom of something else - the something else is Fact 2 on Danny's list. And with help I believe I'll change - I will get back the power, to live free from the victimhood of these "patterns of thinking and behaving".

I was at a loss in SA - as I say I'd done my step 4 and was aware something was off. I told my T and he put me in touch with someone in AA (who happens to have SSA but I don't think was CSA) I now go to one AA meeting a week and have him as a sponsor and only after 3 weeks I'm on step4 and this time I get it! It seemed like a total joke one minute "You were sexually abused by your Sex Ed teacher and write down your defects" < I'm like What?! You're joking right - but he repeats it until I thought of I'll go with this .... and now I am getting it!! So thankful that he is not holding back. I simply would not have been ready for this before being able to tell people about the CSA - before letting my stories get told.

Full of thanks.
 
Working with someone who "gets it" and trusting that person and following their lead, made a big difference in my life when I was dealing with the addictions especially someone who encourages me to stay with the harder stuff but in a way that is meant to free me from some of the hold it had on me.
 
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