I got a note from a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

It has been easy for me to see the links of where I am in my life now, the things that I’ve done, and the connection to being abused for 4 years starting at the age of 14. I understand clearly that one single event changed the rest of my life. I see the cause and the many effects.

I have spent my entire life in a state of depression. I have never understood or maybe it is cared about the meaning of life. I do not have any friends (I really don’t like people) and despite being married for 16 years with 4 kids I really don’t know that I even understand the concepts of Love.

I have felt as if I have wasted my existence through a series of bad judgment. Although I have fantasized about suicide, I could never take such action for the pain I know it would cause others, but that doesn’t prevent me from wishing for an early death and release from this prison of my life.

As for today I am deep in a moral struggle. With my son reaching the age when my abuse started and the recent passing of my father has made me at least want to give my kids something else, maybe a better shot in their lives. It’s better to believe in something then believe in nothing.

Now I am faced with the dilemma , as I have tried to come back to church I am being forced to face my demons head on. Only the desire to indulge in my addiction seems to be stronger then the desire for a clean life, and eternal life. (Note: Eternal life has never seemed like much of a selling factor to me, This life has been bad enough why would I want to live forever with not way out?)

As I read Joel’s note, a remembrance came over me.  Pain filled memories of times when life made no sense.  When my addiction was my only comfort but never really provided solutions.  When the struggle seemed too great and there were apparently no answers.

I often felt I was the lucky one.  My abuser also abused a friend of mine.  Ken lived with Duane for 8 years and suffered at his hand almost every day.  If Duane had done to me what he did to Ken, I honestly don’t think I would be able to be alive today.  We are remarkably resilient creatures however….

I have found there is another way.  The turmoil is gone.  The pain subsided.  I can get through the day and feel happiness.  My addiction doesn’t suck me down the drain any more.  I feel the love of my family and am actually able to feel and show my love for them.  There were times when I didn’t think that would be possible.

The peace that is now part of my daily life still amazes me.  I know the value of it because I have lived without it.  So the 64,000 dollar question, as they used to say, is, how?  How did this change come?  What did I do that brought it about…

It was a long time coming about 5 years of treatment and therapy (with healing continuing to this day) and I can’t even recollect each and every moment of understanding and healing that I came to.  I do remember that I just kept pushing and plodding toward recovery.  Plugging away at it. Fighting not to act out in my addiction, sometimes losing that battle, but always wondering, what else do I need to do?

When I would start to binge in my addiction I would fight to reduce the harm and get out of it as soon as I could.  When I felt safe, and out of my addiction I fought to stay there.  I tried to avoid anything that would move me toward acting out.  I white knuckled, I wept, I fought and sometimes lost.  But always trying to move forward, closer to recovery, (what ever that was.)

I was lucky enough to work on my childhood sexual abuse issues for a couple of years before my therapist said, “Uhhh by the way, you do know your an addict don’t you?”  Of course I had no idea that I was an addict, I just had a few behaviors I wasn’t too proud of, but no way I am an addict!  Because I had gotten thru the essentials of the abuse issues, I wasn’t bogged down by them when I started my addiction recovery work.

I met others who had not been so lucky.  Sometimes their addiction recovery and abuse recovery wires got crossed.  Their abuse issues would pull them into their addiction.  When we try to solve abuse issues with addiction recovery solutions, we aren’t always successful.  Too much devastation.  Answers that make sense to non-abuse folks won’t quite get the job done for survivors.

Anyway…  I can make you 2 promises.  There is another way to live life and that you can find it.  The answers are found in a giant jigsaw puzzle for which you must find the pieces.  They are scattered about in many places.  Ttreatment helpers, recovery books, recovery groups like AA or NA, self help stories of others who have also fought this battle, you faith, the scriptures, the Spirit of the God that made us all will whisper some to you.  Your job is to seek and gather them.

If you are reading this as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, My prayers are with you.  Please know that many others have found healing.  I pray that you will find the strength and courage to seek it also.  If ever you have a question that I might be able to help with please do not hesitate to contact me through this website.