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.
In the weeks and months immediately following your abuse, the devastation is so complete you feel certain that life will never be normal again. The wound to your soul leaves you bleeding emotionally, and most feel certain 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 I dug for myself. 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 there was nobody that could help, so I had to trust God once again and dig myself out of the hole.
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 experienced 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 transpired was much greater 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. Join me in this healing prayer:
I’ve come before You so many times,
To tell You about my life—
About my woes, my heartaches and my failures.
I come to tell You who I really am—sort of.
I want You to know me, but only from my perspective,
Which may not be an accurate picture.
I know this. That’s why I tell You
About myself in bits and pieces.
But now that my situation has become
Too much for me to bear—too much to shoulder;
I’m forced to be completely honest and forthright.
Until now, my admissions have been begrudging.
I’ve refused to consider that more was needed—
That a complete cleansing would be required.
As I continue on my journey to recovery,
I want to unburden myself from all of my shame,
All of my guilt, and all that has enslaved me.
But doing so seems like such a daunting task.
There’s so much there. I know it, and so do You.
Father, that’s why I need Your guidance.
Only You can help me be completely honest
With myself, with others, and with You.
As I begin to journal my unvarnished inventory,
Provide me with courage to be thorough and transparent.
Give me the “grit” I need get it all out, and provide me
With the discipline I need to be thorough and complete.
As I begin this process, my insides are churning,
Because I’ve loved the darkness rather than the light,
Even though I have pretended I do not.
Father, without Your help, I can’t change a thing.
I know this, but with You empowering and guiding me,
I’ll do my best to be strong, courageous, and thorough.
Now, with Your help, and the leading
Of Your Holy Spirit, let’s begin,
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord;” and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)