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Old 09-30-2017, 11:46 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cassie7873 View Post
I can relate to the topic. My childhood sexual abuse, many subsequent rapes, and sex addiction all interfered with my recovery over drugs and alcohol. Fortunately I was able to work with a skilled psychologist doing EMDR for my PTSD and I found a sponsor with a similar past.
I can't say enough good things about EMDR for PTSD. Most insurances now cover therapists who are trained in EMDR. It is very effective and life changing.

As for sponsors asking about your part in sexual abuse, there are no words. I cannot abide that. This is where my issues come up with non-professionals advising people on serious mental health matters/trauma. It's a big problem.
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Old 09-30-2017, 05:07 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I can really relate to this right now. I keep relapsing on step 4 in the program. Everytime I write about the sexual abuse my sponsor (both I had have done this) asks me what my part in the abuse was. It's so insulting and I get so angry and defensive. Kids don't have a part in sexual abuse and i'm really not sure if i'm going to be able to get past that.
It's not that you had a part in the abuse. No way. Any abuse from childhood is 0% your responsibility. Not even 0.00001%.

It's "what's your part in the resentment". Not "what's your part in the abuse or what happened." We have 0% part in how another human being behaves.

If another human being abuses you, you have 0% part in it, whether you're a child or adult. Again, this isn't about responsibility or fault, it's about the resentment you're carrying.

It took me years to understand this.

Examples:
-I drank over it
-I let it effect other relationships
-I viewed all men like this person
-I let people walk all over me
-I didn't forgive (meaning, you carried the anger around for all this time)
-I shut myself off
-I isolated and put up a wall
-I avoided intimate relationships
-I pretended everything was fine when it really wasn't
- I denied that it still bothered me
-I threw myself into work and avoided others
-I starved myself or I binged and purged
-I became obsessed with running marathons
-I shut down my feelings

etc. etc.

Does that help?

Your sponsor just didn't know and is doing the best she can. My first sponsor used to say "what was your part in it", too, which made me furious. I finally had someone explain it correctly to me.

Resentment means we keep playing the same thing over and over. We're holding onto something from the past that we weren't willing to let go of. We're still letting the past control us.

I think it's great you're in therapy. Maybe she can help you with the 4th step but I wouldn't do anything without her okay. Therapist recommendations come before sponsors, especially when one has a history of sexual abuse.

I wish you all the best in your healing.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:04 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I hope my post didn't confuse you. I just sort of wrote a conglomerate of stuff I know about other people's reactions to abuse.

I also wanted to note something about "I didn't forgive". I should've explained that. Forgiveness does not mean we go up to the person who abused us and we say "I forgive you" or let them into our lives again.

Forgiveness means we finally make the decision to let go of all the anger that we're carrying around over how they treated us, because that anger is hurting US.

I hope that helps.

My 4th step the second time was a completely different experience than my first time once I understood all of this. I was able to see things so much more clearly and let go of a lot that was blocking me from my true self.
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Old 10-02-2017, 07:59 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I really appreciate this thread because I struggle myself with some aspects of AA. I have used meetings in the past and had some good stretches of sobriety (2 years/2.5 years) but for several reasons I have been unable/unwilling to commit myself 100% to the way they mandate you complete their program.

I am a licensed therapist myself and see some of their requirements to be more harmful than helpful in my quest to stay sober. I am continuing to search for a sponser who can help me with this. I haven't met the right one yet. But I will keep looking and keep reading and posting on Sober Recovery, which was so helpful to me last time I quit with some success. I had 5 months recently but 2 months ago I relapsed and I am on day 1 today.

Thanks for this post, it's very helpful to me today!
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:22 AM   #25 (permalink)
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My therapist had to help me with my fourth step. She was mostly there reminding me how brave I was being, and she helped me to stay grounded, rather than disassociate or flashback, but to press on.
My sponsor and therapist helped me with this, too. I was told to keep column 2 at 10 words or less just for that reason. That kept it factual and out of the details/emotions/reliving it, etc. And that "keep writing" meant to keep that pen moving onto the next one.

These techniques will help you to (1) stay grounded - look at where your feet are now. You are not back in the past so don't relive it; and (2) avoid dissociation and flashback by not thinking about what I was writing, but to just write down a fact and move on.

I was constantly reminded that what happened already happened and it's not happening now. I am okay in this moment. To stop thinking about it. Put the book away if I do. Your therapist can teach you how to avoid abbreaction while writing a 4th step.

There is a high percentage of people in AA who were victims of sexual abuse. I've witnessed many get through the step work and into the other side of it.

Also key for me was bringing in a higher power into my writing. I know many of you won't like to hear that, but it's just my truth. I didn't believe it'd work but I tried it and I experienced it.
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Old 10-03-2017, 03:57 PM   #26 (permalink)
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This is what I heard about "my part" when it comes to sexual abuse:

My part doesn't have anything to do with when it happens, it's about NOW.

Examples of 'my part' now is that I haven't forgiven the perpetrator, that I'm holding onto resentment that is harmful to me--things like that.

One of the most healing acts I did for myself (and indirectly for my mother) was when I forgave my father for molesting me. I released him to God. Do you have any idea of how freeing that was for me? Wow.

And then after a little more time, I prayed to God to allow him into heaven, that he'd been waiting long enough.

To all of you with this kind of trauma in your past, I wish for you the peace of forgiveness. Yourself and the other person.
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:33 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Ringo,

That is a beautiful post.

When you said that you forgave your father, you didn't forgive him F2F, correct? You forgave him in your heart--you let go of the anger you were carrying?

Also, did you say the resentment prayer/sick man's prayer until it finally clicked?

I can only imagine the sense of freedom you experienced. And that's what it's all about.

-Pathway to free
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Old 10-05-2017, 07:59 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Pathway,

The forgiveness was not F2F but I did have a F2F conversation with him the summer of 1992 (after going to therapy to prepare for it) to tell him how it affected my life, how I viewed myself, and my behavior. I had six years sobriety at this time.

He actually apologized by saying he shouldn't have done it--then he made a pass at me! I just about lost it and quickly left my parents home to go make a phone call (still using phone booths at that time). I returned an hour or so later (I was visiting from Germany and staying at their house). Mom made him apologize and the subject was closed for the rest of that visit.

I never spoke to my father about his behavior after that. Until he died, we kept to safe subjects like the weather, the Army-Navy game, what's for dinner, and funny thing the dog did. Him showing his true nature allowed me to accept the superficial relationship we were going to continue and led me to forgiving him.

Sorry to go on so long here. Yes, I did say the resentment prayer for the recommended two weeks (Big Book) and then again whenever I have intrusive thoughts.

Peace to you Pathway and to all who have been harmed--especially by the people who are supposed to love and protect us.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:45 AM   #29 (permalink)
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The forgiveness was not F2F but I did have a F2F conversation with him the summer of 1992 (after going to therapy to prepare for it) to tell him how it affected my life, how I viewed myself, and my behavior. I had six years sobriety at this time.
Wow Ringo thank you for sharing your experience. It was incredible to read. The healing I can sense from your posts is inspiring.

I give you a lot of credit for having the courage and strength to have that conversation with your father, knowing that it was very possible he would not have a healthy reaction.

Quote:
He actually apologized by saying he shouldn't have done it--then he made a pass at me! I just about lost it and quickly left my parents home to go make a phone call (still using phone booths at that time). I returned an hour or so later (I was visiting from Germany and staying at their house). Mom made him apologize and the subject was closed for the rest of that visit.
I would have lost it, too. I never had that kind of conversation with my rageaholic abusive mother because I wouldn't have been able to handle her response or reaction. She wouldn't have been able to handle it, either, my telling her what she did and how it made me feel. It would've caused an explosive horrendous rage and pointing the finger back at me.

But were you somehow able to then clearly see at some point that this just shows how his mind was? It's what my sponsor taught me as "spiritually sick people". They know not what they do. They can't see past their own spiritually disconnected minds to see how their behaviors harmed another.

Quote:
I never spoke to my father about his behavior after that.
Smart move. I'm sure your therapist explained it well why he said and did what he did.

Quote:
Until he died, we kept to safe subjects like the weather, the Army-Navy game, what's for dinner, and funny thing the dog did. Him showing his true nature allowed me to accept the superficial relationship we were going to continue and led me to forgiving him.
I give you a ton of credit for doing this. And I learned a lot from reading this paragraph. When I keep conversation superficial with my mother, I am able to "forgive" because it allows me to calmly treat her like one human treating another. I'm able to remind myself that this is a sick person who knows not what she did.

I wasn't sexually abused during childhood, so I can't share experience on that. I've had friends in AA who were sexually abused during childhood and I've tried to help them while they went through their 4th step. My sponsor helped me learn how to help them when their sponsors weren't available. I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by someone I dated. I was college age so it's similar yet different than if it happened during childhood.

I have a very strong feeling that the person I am taking through step work now was sexually molested as a child, raped, and now has a sex addiction (that last part she told me). This thread is going to help me help her even moreso I hope.
Quote:
Sorry to go on so long here. Yes, I did say the resentment prayer for the recommended two weeks (Big Book) and then again whenever I have intrusive thoughts.
That's a good reminder to do that with intrusive thoughts. I never thought of that. I'm glad it helped you.
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Peace to you Pathway and to all who have been harmed--especially by the people who are supposed to love and protect us.
Thanks, Ringo. Our parents were supposed to love and protect us but unfortunately many just didn't know how to, or didn't care to. Letting go of the anger sets us free from that resentment.

May you all experience freedom.
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:04 AM   #30 (permalink)
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"But were you somehow able to then clearly see at some point that this just shows how his mind was?"

Yes, his reaction made it very clear he was a sick man--mentally and spiritually.

Pathway, the healing continued: My mom and I had "the talk" too. She knew he molested my older sister yet stayed married to him. She told me her reasons for staying; I forgave her; we cried and hugged. We went on to have a good relationship (not perfect that's for sure!) for many years before her death.

God's grace and healing power and the healing that comes from working the Steps has had a tremendous effect in my life. I hope I show my gratitude in my actions.

Peace to all.
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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"But were you somehow able to then clearly see at some point that this just shows how his mind was?"

Yes, his reaction made it very clear he was a sick man--mentally and spiritually.
That's exactly what I was taught in Step 4. But seeing it F2F isn't always easy. But your acceptance of that is really inspiring.

Quote:
Pathway, the healing continued: My mom and I had "the talk" too. She knew he molested my older sister yet stayed married to him. She told me her reasons for staying; I forgave her; we cried and hugged. We went on to have a good relationship (not perfect that's for sure!) for many years before her death.
I was really moved by this. I give you so much credit for not only being able to have the talk with your father, but with your mother, too.

It must've been difficult to forgive her. But it almost sounds like you were able to be in her shoes and see why she did or didn't do what she did or didn't do to protect you?

Quote:
God's grace and healing power and the healing that comes from working the Steps has had a tremendous effect in my life. I hope I show my gratitude in my actions.
You certainly show the healing in your posts. I'm sure you show God's healing, love, grace, and your gratitude in your actions with others. I bet you're an amazing sponsor.

Your posts are helping me with my new sponsee. I got her to open up a little bit about her father. She's already able to see him in a different light.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:01 AM   #32 (permalink)
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[I]It must've been difficult to forgive her. But it almost sounds like you were able to be in her shoes and see why she did or didn't do what she did or didn't do to protect you?[I]

Yes, pathway, I mentally put myself in her shoes: It was the 1950's, maybe early 60's too, she was Catholic with four children, full time mom dependent on her husband for their livelihood. Her honesty melted my heart. She confessed to not wanting to be poor and divorced. She felt awful about putting worldly comfort before my welfare.

Seeing my mother as a woman and viewing my father as the sick person he was (he was wounded & mistreated when he was a child--another story), helped so much in letting the past go.

I am no longer my past.
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