Imagine being in a serious accident and thinking you could just walk away from it, and be okay! It’s crazy really isn’t it! Of course after an accident most of us wouldn’t hesitate to get checked out – to go to hospital and let a Doctor examine us – check us over for broken bones and bruised ligaments and muscles. X-rays might be taken and blood tests done to make sure that there are no hidden injuries that if left untended might lead to complications.
And that’s just the beginning! Anyone who has ever suffered injury following an accident would know that there might be an initial assessment but after that the path of recovery can be anything but smooth. There can be the need to reset breakages that have not healed right, there may need to be physiotherapy, hydro therapy and in the case of any kind of brain injury, all sorts of occupational therapy as well. The work involved in recovery can feel endless and quite overwhelming – and yet, the alternative – not doing anything – is not even to be considered.
Recovery – when compared to the accident which might have happened in a moment – can take years.
I think it really helps to picture this when we are thinking about the recovery necessary following abuse.
It is so easy to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves about what we might need to do to recover. We can get exasperated with ourselves that we aren’t over it yet, that it’s taking so long, that others seem to be progressing faster than us, that it’s all so hard. Add to that the suggestions others – who have had nothing to recover from – might impose – and what you end up with is a sense of failure or of being less-than, even in doing our recovery work.
Here is the truth about recovery – it takes time and work. And lots of both.
I did most of my recovery work using the 12 Step program, Co-Dependants Anonymous. I got a sponsor, worked the steps, and attended every meeting offered. For me that was twice weekly. It was important to me to not waste the opportunity, to make sure that I got out of the program what I wanted – which was to be more than a victim, to be able to live life as abundantly as possible. Prior to that I had also attended counseling and read books and talked to other survivors. I picture the different things I have done as being like the different elements of a house – walls, windows, doors, roof. For me the 12 Step group was like the walls that held everything else together and helped everything else become connected. Each aspect of my recovery journey was useful in its own way, but without a doubt, the 12 step program provided a framework that helped me to make sense of all the other elements and a means to understand everything else that I had benefited from in a holistic way.
My encouragement to you in your own healing journey is simply to do something!
You have been in a wreck, and it’s time, if you haven’t already taken yourself off to get some help, to do exactly that!
Find someone you can trust who is qualified to help you, a counselor with some understanding of the issues you have faced. Or find a recovery meeting near you so that you can make yourself accountable for your recovery work, and go to the meetings – every one of them! Read. Pray. Ask your pastor for help. Find a group on line if you are in a small rural community or isolated in other ways.
Whatever you do, stop thinking that you can walk away from this unscathed. But remember too that the sooner you begin the healing journey the sooner you will begin to reap the benefits!
Love and hugs ~ Sue
Sue Parry-Jones is a trained counsellor, a social worker and survivor of abuse. The content of the blog is both personal and sound. The words are relate-able and widely appealing to those struggling with survival from abuse in their own lives. More and more we are appreciating in our society that abuse affects a number of people’s lives and as more people are beginning to openly discuss what they have endured, so there is a huge need for encouragement and hope in the form of texts that deliver clear and concise yet real input. THe words shared here are honest, real and heart-felt.