Gentle Recovery

Healing From Child Abuse & Rape

Healing Journey

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New website

Posted by gentlerecovery on October 17, 2012 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I have a new website at www.write2empower.webs.com.

I'd love for you to come check it out. :)

It details more of my writing journey.

When We Know Better

Posted by gentlerecovery on August 1, 2011 at 1:41 PM Comments comments (4)

When we  know better we do better. Maya Angelou

     I have dreams...goals... desires. I want to make a difference.....shine a light....show hope...


     For a long time I couldn't.....I hid what happened....I didn't want anyone to know....I ran scared....living in shame....afraid for anyone to look in my eyes....I knew if they did....they'd know the truth. And they'd believe what I knew...that what happened was my fault....that there was something inherently wrong with me for it to even have happened at all. 

     I believed those lies for a long time....letting them keep me living less than my best.  At my lowest....when I couldn't hold on anymore.....He touched me....broke through the shame....and amazingly.....began to turn everything around. It didn't come easy. I struggled against the 'truth.' I couldn't accept that it wasn't my fault.  


     I don't know why I believed that....but the lie was the cement that kept me down....that kept me running scared...that pushed me close to the line of death not once....but many times. Lies. I trusted in them and they almost killed me.


     The squeeze of darkness soured my life....and created a bottomless void of always wanting and never being able to fill its gnawing hunger that constantly growled its emptiness.  I thought it would win....I thought there was no way I could ever get free. The hold it had kept me down....kept me defeated...

.

     But His love made the difference....it cut through the darkness....It won the battle. The things that happened are become dimmer...And His truth is shining brighter. Love made a difference....His love.....and it still does. Love that trumps everything else.....


Giving Permission

Posted by gentlerecovery on August 6, 2010 at 10:31 AM Comments comments (7)

 "...Give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be." Joy Page

Permission: the authorization granted to do something 

Permission - formal consent - giving sanction. Sanction - official permission or approval for a course of action.  


When my therapist suggested I give myself permission to be free...I thought she was nuts. I wanted to be free. I had focused all my energy on trying to be free. I didn't get why she told me that....or even what she meant by it. It couldn't be that simple to find release in simply saying those words....or could it? 


I did end up saying the words.....I gave myself permission to be free...to have a good life....a life I dreamed about....a life I yearned for.....a life like most people lived. 


At first my words were just that....words.  But then I noticed a change inside....a shift....a different feel that hadn't been there before. I started believing in the power of those words...accepting their truth....and soon coming to realize that just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz - I had always had the power to get what I wanted....a power I had never realized before - the power to give myself what no one else could - the permission....the sanction.....to walk free. 


I had tried for so long to twist myself into everyone else's version of what I should be.....all those professionals with their rules and programs and plans....promising me freedom if I would just do what they wanted. The problem - I couldn't fit into their way of being in 'my' world. I couldn't adjust myself enough to become what anyone else believed was right for me. It only kept me stuck....and frustrated.....and angry.


More than anything....I needed His touch to break through the darknesss....to cut through my hatred. He showed me something I never had before.....a love so great it gave me the courage to keep fighting.The next best thing....was learning to take back my power and give myself the permission to come home to me.


Winner

Posted by gentlerecovery on June 26, 2010 at 8:02 AM Comments comments (1)



"for the dead and the living, we must bear witness." Elie Wiesel


Last Saturday...I found out my book won The Word Guild National Literary Award for Life Stories and received an honorable mention for The Grace Irwin Award, their highest award.


The road to writing and publishing my story was so hard.....I vvacillated back and forth.....so many times doubting if I could ever tell the truth of what happened. Sometimes I doubted if it even took place at all.....other times I wondered what people would think of me.. But deep in my heart....I knew...I had to write...I had to tell the truth of what happened.


Winning the award feels like validation. Winning....it's not just about my book or my words or my story....it's for everyone who holds onto the shame.....the secrets....protecting those who violated and hurt us.....and coming to the place of knowing that we have the right to tell....the right to be heard.....the right to walk free.

I'll Do Anything, God.

Posted by gentlerecovery on May 14, 2010 at 9:26 PM Comments comments (3)

"Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title." Virginia Woolf

I told God I would do anything for Him. I told Him there is nothing I wouldn't do.Nothing at all. He freed me. He broke the hold of all those things that were killing me. I almost died. Not once. Many times.But He wouldn't let me die.


I had a thing for heights. I used to shoot up, then climb to the rooftop of this building. I'd stand on the ledge with my arms out. I believed I could fly. I believed I wouldn't fall. I heard a voice telling me to jump. Telling me it's ok.Telling me I would soar. I wanted to trust that voice. I came so close to believing what it said. There was a cop who followed me. Who always seemed to be there on that rooftop. Many times he pulled me off that ledge. I would have jumped. I could have died. God didn't let me.


I'll do anything God. Anything you want. Anything except tell the people in my world now how I lived, what I did, how bad things were, the drugs, the cutting, the abuse, the darkness. Pride? Shame?


There was a fire. I dropped the match trying to heat up the dope. The flames engulfed the room. I was trapped. I should have died.   I'll do anything God. Anything you want.


The hospital told me they had never seen anyone so thin. I weighed less  than eighty pounds. I was cold all the time. Freezing. Even in summer.My electrolytes were out of whack making my legs hurt. They said my heart would stop. It never did. He wouldn't let it.  I'll do anything God. Anything you want.


When I run I have courage. When I run I know He is running with me. I'm not alone anymore. He gives me this incredible strength. He empowers me. When I run and feel His presence I know I can do anything.  Even tell. I owe Him. I won't be afraid anymore to tell.  I'll do anything God. Anything at all. I promise. 


Loyalty

Posted by gentlerecovery on April 26, 2010 at 1:46 PM Comments comments (7)



"The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool." Stephen King


His hook were his words....gentle, soothing...claiming love. I overlooked his rage, the beatings, the name calling.  He told me he loved me.....he told me I was the only one who understood him.....he said he needed me. I was seven years old.


He poured out his heart...sharing things I didn't understand. And when he hurt me....using vulgar words or his fists....or locking me in the car for hours...I still believed he loved me....I didn't know any different and besides - he needed me. 


At eight....he beat me so bad I started cutting myself. I thought he was right - I believed I was worthless.  Nine...ten....eleven...at twelve I stole morphine trying to block out his rage and my fear....thirteen....fourteen I was shooting dope three and four times a day.

 

Loyalty.....I was loyal to him no matter what he did or how he treated me.  I tried to be what he wanted, to give him what I thought he needed. He spoke with kindness...tenderness but then in the same heart beat he turned like someone possessed and I became the object of his hatred.


Loyalty- I knew more about what he liked, what he wanted, what he needed than what I did. I didn't exist near him. I couldn't. He couldn't handle that....so I disappeared. I went away. I got lost. I lived in my own world...


Loyalty....the rapist demanded loyalty just like my father. He said he loved me....that I couldn't live without him....and that God wanted me to be with him. Like my father, he hurt me and wouldn't let me go. I managed to get free...but I wasn't really free. Not for a long time....Not until I had falled so far down....not until I almost died - not until I felt His touch....and He showed me the power and truth of loyalty....


I learned I had trusted in lies, in deception. To trust from my heart instead of my head was too hard.  I screamed at Him to kill me...to let me go...but He wouldn't. 

 

I needed to learn to be loyal to myself.  I struggled with knowing simple things....like my favorite color or food or tv program. I had a hard time staying present or letting anyone get close and I couldn't stop hurting myself. He waited....with patience...with gentleness.


Loyalty - It's powerful. It determines the direction of life. 

 

 

Simple Tools for Recovery

Posted by gentlerecovery on April 9, 2010 at 9:09 PM Comments comments (2)

Acronoms are an easy way to remember some tools for recovery from an addiction.  An example is the word: HALT. Each letter stands for something to watch out for. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When you're tempted to reach for the 'addiction' think of the word HALT and ask yourself if you are too hungry, too angry, too lonely or too tired. If you feel any of these needs....eat, go for a run, call a friend or lie down. Not only will it help you avoid using the addiction...you will learn to take care of your needs instead of pushing them down.

 

You can do this with any word. For example the word LIFE can stand for Let go, Invest in yourself, Forgive your past and Expect the best.

Seeing Beauty Where There is None

Posted by gentlerecovery on March 17, 2010 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (4)

"He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery." Anne Frank  

It's hard to think Anne Frank was only fourteen when she wrote this. Fourteen and hated - for no other reason than being Jewish. Fourteen and having her world as she had known it - turned upside down. Fourteen and not able to go outside to smell the flowers, or attend a dance or sit in a classroom and daydream about boys, or her future or life....

In spite of the hatred and brutality that had taken over her world - in spite of  being stripped of all the comforts of home and school and friendships - in spite of those who believed she had no right to exist......fourteen year old Anne wrote as if her world was normal....as if nothing had changed....putting her thoughts down on paper - the thoughts of a normal teen.....


I try to visualize what it must have felt like to be 14 and forced to live in a small space with people terrified for their lives - fearing the craziness of those who wanted to kill not only you but your whole race - people who lived with fear that if they were found - they would die.....or worse...

Anguish- cries heard in the streets - family, friends, respected elders -taken - their lives stolen - beaten like violent criminals - intemples, in shops, in communities - there was no safe place....no where to hide. It was always just a matter of time. 


Yet in the midst of that senseless brutality - 14 year old Anne kept her diary and wrote like any typical young teen pondering the world around her and her place in it.

Her words strong, positive, powerful: "I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be....I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."


I didn't have the strength that Anne had. Or the courage - nor her positive outlook. I felt the hatred and I hated back. I felt thebrutality and I wanted to lash out against every perpetrator who hurt me. I let the brutality pull me into its lies - into its fear, into its hatred - Everything in my world was black - dark  - I saw no beauty. I wanted so bad to give up and to give in to the darkness. I saw no hope- no light - no meaning.

 

Anne had been raised by loving parents - parents who gave her security and a strong foundation  - so strong that when the darkness came - she was able to push it aside and still see beauty. I'm trying to parent my girls that way. Maybe it's working. My oldest  14 - is amazingly positive. She inspires me - she teaches me....

 

Growing up in a Jewish home - I heard the phrase over and over: "to not remember the past is to be condemned to repeat it."  I used to wonder why do Jewish people constantly talk about what happened....and hold memorials and give honor to the survivors.  I was told - 'so it will never happen again. From one generation to the next - we must tell what happened.' 

 

I think I'm beginning to understand.....to tell of the brutality we lived- in some way is a protection for the next generation - to know - to be aware - to live a bit differently - to understand there is darkness -but there's also a strength, a hope - a light with each survivor who stands up and says, "I survived. The darkness couldn't destroy me."

I never wanted anyone to know what happened to me - all those things I lived - Today I want you to know, "I survived." And everytime I read someone else' story - and know they too have survived - I'm cheering.


Secrets and Shame

Posted by gentlerecovery on February 16, 2010 at 6:42 AM Comments comments (6)

"We are only as sick as our secrets." John Bradshaw


For years I kept the secrets....the secrets of everything that had happened. I thought it was my fault. I thought there was something wrong with me...that in some crazy way....I had caused it. Keeping the secrets left me covered in a blanket of shame. That shame coloured the way I saw things and forced me to move in the world as if I had no right to be part of it.


Shame cripples....it nags inside serving as a daily reminder that something is inherently wrong with who you are as a human being...a belief that is ingrained so tight telling you.....that in some way you’re different, wrong, damaged and unacceptable.


Secrets and shame feed into the each other.  Holding onto secrets...holds onto shame.


It took me along time to tell what happened....I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want to know. I had convinced myself it didn’t happen or it wasn’t so bad and somedays I even thought I had made it up.


When I began to tell.... the shame forced me to hide even more....I thought I wouldn’t be able to hold it together....that I would fall apart...but I didn’t. People were kind.....offering support...encouragement....gentleness. And something interesting started to happen...my walls began coming down. I didn’t feel so distant and lost....so far away from myself. I felt more connected to me....and to others. And my fight to always be on guard began to relax.


I've learned how important it is to tell and keep on telling...for no other reason than our own freedom...our own inner peace.

 

Growing in Hard Places

Posted by gentlerecovery on January 15, 2010 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (2)

"Where flowers bloom so does hope." Lady Bird Johnson


When I went to visit my sister in Israel, she took me to the top of this rocky mountain. Nothing was there - just rocks, stones, and gravel. But it was still beautiful. Maybe because it was so isolated and high.Standing there I felt like I could touch the sky.

 

We sat there -just the two of us - bathing in the soft wind, the warm sun and the peaceful quiet. Then she started talking, telling me how awful it was for us as kids. She talked about the beatings, the constant bullying, ridicule and name calling, being left alone - the fear, the shame, the terror. She said she was sorry she didn't protect me - that she wasn't there for me.


I was still in denial. I didn't believe it had been so bad. She told me how afraid she had been watching me slowly die from the drugs, the eating disorder - not understanding why I wouldn't or couldn't talk. She had run to her friends. I withdrew into myself trying to become invisible.


I'm not sure why we hadn't noticed them before, but there a few feet from us, two flowers, side by side were growing in the rocks. We were stunned. How could they grow in the middle of all that hardness? How could those two flowers survive and grow?


Somehow they had managed to grow without good soil or adequate rain. I looked at my sister. "We survived." My sister is older than me. And more emotional. She broke down and cried. I forced myself to be strong like I had done since I was a kid.

 

"It was so bad." She said. "How did we survive?"


I looked up at ths sky. I knew. I remember when my mother was dying. We lived in a tight Jewish area. I came home from school and was surprised to see a nun sitting with my mother. I think that woman prayed for us.I think God heard.


Thinking about those two flowers, I wonder if God put them there for us - to show us - even in the hard places He's there helping us to grow, helping us to be strong, keeping us safe. I need to believe that.

 


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