I have never perceived myself as particularly courageous, at least not until I got into recovery from incest. I did not think I had the mental and moral strength that it required. The thought of having to bring to light all of those dark days and what ensued during them was so far down at the bottom of my list of accomplishments that staying in the abusive relationship where I was seemed preferable. I knew now what Christopher Columbus must have felt when people told him he’d fall off the edge of the earth if he tried to sail his boat past a certain point.
Everyone goes through changes although the majority of us don’t like to. But change is a vital part of life. Some changes are good, some not. Most people make only safe changes. No harm in that. But what do they get as a result? Not much. It’s only the bold moves that matter. If you wanted to travel to another state it would cost you a certain amount of money, either in gas or plane fare. But if you wanted to travel to Europe for a vacation the price would be higher. So it is with facing recovery, not an easy task but an easy task faced with reluctance becomes difficult. It’s only the journeys that require courage that bring us closer to our dreams, to the places we want to be. “I’m doing ok,” you say. But are you? “I’ve learned to live with what happened,” you say. But have you? If you have a sense of peace and profound satisfaction in your life, you are no doubt doing just fine. But most people don’t have that.
Courage is a state of mind. If you wanted to go from point A to point B you would take the first step and keep on going until you reached it. If you are unhappy with your life as a result of child sexual abuse that has never been confronted and healed, you might try to remind yourself how brave you really are. You have survived a trauma so severe that it costs some people their lives. If you have reached a point in your life where you’re thinking about dealing with the lingering shadows of terror, the shame that you have carried with back-breaking difficulty, the nightmares, the addictions and all of the other prices that this trauma has cost you then you must have built up courage. It takes courage to even think about going through recovery. It isn’t easy. But where you are in your life is not necessarily easy either.
Make a list of all the things you have done thus far in your life that required courage. Leave nothing out no matter how minor such as learning to swim, learning to drive a car, hiking alone and many others that you may not have thought required courage. Even taking your first step at the age of 18 months took courage. But you did it. Make it a long list to remind yourself how much intestinal fortitude you really have.
And you can do recovery. It is nothing more than an amelioration of your life. An ugly duckling becomes a swan; a moth becomes a butterfly; and so you too can transform yourself from a victim of child sexual abuse to a strong, powerful, stable and emotionally well balanced survivor, one whose dreams are well within their grasp. What are you waiting for? Get started.