Refer to Step 7: I will make a detailed, written account of my abusive experiences, as well as my subsequent behavior. I commit to being as thorough and honest as I’m able.
It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.
—James Gordon, M.D.
In the weeks and months immediately following your religious abuse, the devastation is so complete that you feel certain life will never return to normal again. The wound to your soul leaves you bleeding emotionally, and most feel certain that the destruction will be permanent. For many, it is, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is an alternative.
In my own experience, my wounds lasted for nearly twenty-five years, which was far too long, but there was no program available to help me climb out of the hole either. To me, it seemed like I would have permanent emotional scaring, but that’s not what happened. I finally became sick and tired of living life as an emotional cripple, after being abused by mean-spirited men whose purpose was to destroy me. I realized that there was nobody that would help, so I had to trust God once again and dig myself out.
There were many things that helped me recover, including my firm commitment to do so, but perhaps the greatest recovery tool was when I started writing about my experiences. I wrote about them in excruciating detail—feeling all of the debilitating emotions I had originally felt once again. When I was finished, I read what I had written and made numerous changes.
As I continued the process, I realized that the longstanding sting from the affront had abated, and I no longer felt as wounded as I had for years. I had begun to heal. By the time I was finished, my understanding about what had happened was much clearer than it had ever been.
Over time, and slowly, my healing became complete. Now, years later, I understand my wounds, but they are no longer painful. Instead, I have gained wisdom I never would have had before I wrote about my experience. This can be your reality as well, and writing about it can be a valuable tool for you.
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the lord always. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in this way. (Proverbs 23:17-19)