The Long and Winding Road of Recovery
We’ve had quite the journey in these past 4 blogs with an overview of how recovery from abuse might look. I’d like to thank my patient readers for walking with me through these long and winding articles. I’d also like to thank our good friend, Dr. Veronica Johnson, founder of Envision Counseling Clinic for her teachings that inspired these writings. Her material has been incredibly helpful for those at Where Grace Abounds and a reason to share it with a wider audience. Let’s recap her four points of recovery work:
- We begin by working on “stabilization” by building up self-abilities (see Part One)
- Then we begin to process the trauma and continue to counter balance with building self-abilities when the memories and emotions become difficult. (see Part Two)
- To help support this effort we reach out for safe connection and develop a support system. This might be with a therapist (highly recommended), a support group and a few trusted friends. (see Part Three)
- Another part of the process is reclaiming body and sexuality which might include learning about healthy sexuality and touch techniques. (see Part Four)
Reasons to Reclaim Sexuality and Why it’s Worth It
Having been part of Where Grace Abounds for 30ish years, my own healing journey has been ample. Abuse wasn’t even on my radar when I walked into my first support group meeting. But, over the years it’s been difficult to admit the different types of abuse I’ve experienced—neglect, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, even some slight sexual abuse. A lot of consequences and bad choices have sprung up from the seeds of those wounds. Numbing my pain has led to addiction, problematic sexual behaviors, mismanagement of emotions and dysfunctional relating styles. Though I continue to still struggle through these coping strategies—it is by no means to the depth and unself-aware ways as it had been earlier in life.
Another difficult thing I’ve had to face is not only am I a victim of abuse in many ways, but a perpetrator as well. Hurt people sadly hurt people. I’ve abused people with my anger emotionally and verbally, used the Bible or scripture to manipulate people’s choices and used men sexually through my own addictions in the past. What a painful thing to acknowledge. Yet, the light that keeps me getting up every morning and working hard is following Christ and His forgiveness. Forgiveness is key. Jesus on His way to the cross experienced every type of horrendous abuse on our behalf. It’s humbling to know as it says in Hebrews 4, we have a Hight Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses. He’s experienced our frailties yet without sin. It’s this glorious reality in which I can forgive myself and others.
Has all the pain and effort been worth it? Does it continue to be? You bet. I can join in with the reasons Wendy Maltz subscribes in her book, The Sexual Healing Journey, about the hard work of reclaiming sexuality:
- I want to develop a more positive view of sex
- I want to feel good about myself as a sexual person
- I want to improve my automatic reactions to touch and sex
- I want to engage in healthier sexual practices
- I want to have good intimate relationships
- I want to address sexual problems
- I want to overcome the effects of the past
The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Wendy Maltz, Pg 71
A Ministry of Reconciliation
These are wonderful desires for the persevering work of healing in our lives. But still the best and most lofty desire of all is to cooperate with God’s gracious work in us—getting rid of the “roadblocks” in our life, that we might grow more like Him day by day. “Now if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to Himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17, 18, The Passion Translation)
Although he holds a degree in graphic arts, he attributes his ministry qualifications to the “school of hard knocks.” God’s abundant grace continues to be the instrument of growth in his life, and he desires to be firmly grounded in the forgiveness and freedom of relationship with Jesus Christ.
Scott attends a Presbyterian Church.
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