National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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NAASCA
- Personal Recovery -
Recovery from child abuse is available, if we work for it - There are many paths to recovering from child abuse, and some of them cost almost no money. Then, too, there are benefits from getting assistance from the professional community trained to assist us. Healing journeys can include sharing our trauma secrets and getting help in many appropriate settings. Furthermore, there are numerous government and non profit groups we can turn to for help.
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.
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The 8 Stages of Recovery
(source: http://www.womensweb.ca/violence/incest/recovery.php)

The information in this section is adapted from Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, a publication prepared by Thomas R. Wilen for the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence. This publication is copyright © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2002.

Every individual's recovery process is unique. However, most share some similarities. Survivors may experience the following stages of recovery:

1) Denial - It is not unusual for people to be trapped in this stage for many years after the physical nature of the abuse has ended. Many survivors develop addictive or compulsive behaviours while attempting to mask the feelings and emotions connected to child sexual abuse.

2) Confused awareness - At this stage, people begin to recognize the connection between their past trauma and present concerns. This new awareness may introduce feelings of anxiety, panic and fear.

3) Reaching out - Survivors can be in a situation in which the perils of silence become more painful than the risk involved in speaking out. Receiving individual counselling and/or joining support groups may play a role in the healing process.

4) Anger - After they reach out and become more aware of the impacts of the abuse, survivors often deal with intensified anger. This anger is an expected, natural part of the healing process. Thoughts of disclosure and confrontations may dominate this stage. Anger may be channelled towards anyone who excused or protected the abuser, anyone who did not believe their disclosure of the abuse, and anyone they feel should have been concerned but never took steps to help.

5) Depression - At this stage, adult survivors may recall the negative messages or criticisms that they received from their abuser as a child. If these seem valid to the adult survivor, they may cause him or her to become depressed when faced with and unable to make positive changes. If symptoms and triggers of their depression are identified and an appropriate support team is found, the chances of their being overwhelmed with feelings of despair may be minimized.

6) Clarity of feelings and emotions - For adult survivors of child sexual abuse, a key component to healing is to express and share their feelings. This can be achieved by survivors' learning to acknowledge and identify a wide variety of feelings and emotions, as well as finding ways to release them without hurting themselves or others. A good support team can be extremely valuable at this time.

7) Regrouping - This phase involves many positive changes in survivors' attitudes and feelings. In this stage, they develop a new sense of trust in others but, most importantly, they start to trust themselves. This phase includes learning from the past, examining the present, and planning for the future. Many survivors have suggested that this stage represents a transition from merely existing to actively living.

8) Moving on - This stage includes a shift in focus from the negative experiences of the past to positive plans for the future. Painful feelings and emotions do not dominate memories from the past. Positive coping skills developed in earlier stages are enhanced and assist survivors in moving on with their lives. Several coping skills that can help survivors to move on include learning to love and accept themselves, recognizing and celebrating personal growth, creating a healthy support team, grieving current losses as they occur, learning to deal with stress effectively, and recognizing when it is time to let go of painful feelings connected to the past.

Stages of Recovery for Child Abuse
http://www.haltnow.ca/abuse/child-abuse/186-stages-of-recovery-for-child-abuse-.html

Sexual Childhood Abuse Recovery - The Right Professional is Key http://www.healthstatus.com/articles/Sexual_Childhood_Abuse_Recovery_The_Right_Professional_is_Key.html

Recovery and Healing from Child Sexual Abuse: Reducing Confusion about Feelings and Memories
http://www.cleananpress.com/abuse/recovery.htm

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  Help is all around you .. but ..

There is a significant community of people who are engaged in providing help to adults who were traumatized in their youth. But .. getting the right kind of help, from the right person or group is important .. and sometimes daunting.

Here are a couple articles from a group we support (ASCA - Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) which explain the different kinds of therapy available to those still suffering, and discuss what to look for in a councilor and expect of recovery:

Types of Mental Health Professionals
Finding the right kind of mental health professional for support in the journey of recovery is crucial.

Searching For A Therapist
Each mental health professional is unique and brings a particular set of training and experiences to bear.

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  About Domestic Abuse/Violence (and child abuse)
Stats and facts

by Bill Murray

The issues of domestic abuse and violence and those of child abuse are closely related, so closely related that we'd feel our site was incomplete without a discussion of the statistics and facts of domestic violence, especially important because so many children are raised in homes where they are directly exposed.

All these kids experience emotional trauma of the most serious sort, watching dad browbeat and become physically violent with mom. From the child's perspective, growing up in a home where domestic violence is the method of controlling a spouse is both traumatic in and of itself, and can set up "accepted" patterns of behavior they'll eventually continue to display in their own adult lives.

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Self Help Groups

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So called "self-help groups" are comprised of people with a common goal, usually involving the treatment of a mental health, emotional, physical, or behavioral issue. These groups work on the principle of mutual support. Members share a disability or problem, and meetings revolve around discussion and shared problem solving.

There are self-help groups of countless types, and we list all the local Groups and Services we can find elsewhere on our NAASCA web site.

Those of the "12 Step" (anonymous) variety are free, and depend upon the voluntary small contributions from passing a hat. Other groups charge fees.

There are also self help groups that are sponsored and led by churches and non profits.

In my case I recovered through dealing first with my problem with alcohol and drugs (I'm clean and sober since 1984) and a lot of the groups that now exist have sprung up since then. If you've got a drinking or drug addiction perhaps you can seek out the 12 Step program that's appropriate for you. (see info below) ..

Self-help groups may be led by peers or by a professional. Attendance is voluntary in most cases. Meetings are scheduled by participants and, as we said above, there are usually no formal dues, although there may be some fees associated with snacks or rooms for holding the meetings.

Some groups allow members to remain anonymous, using only first names. In online communities, members choose user names to preserve privacy. This anonymity allows people to feel more comfortable when sharing personal experiences, while still sharing common situations and feelings. Self-help groups can be effective in a number of ways.

Members often benefit from the support and advice of their peers. Another advantage can be improved self-esteem related to being able to help others. A common feeling of belonging and the ability to talk with others who can understand and relate to similar feelings can also be a valuable benefit of group meetings.

"Dr Jay" Tow recommends the following book: "Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction" by Dr. Patrick Carnes, the nationally known writer and speaker on addiction and recovery issues. Written in 1992 but now in its 3rd edition, "Out of the Shaddows" was the first of numerous books penned by Dr. Carnes, who is also credited with having pioneered the founding of the Certified Sex Addiction Therapist program.  This has evolved into a network of local, regional, and residential programs which specialize in this work.

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12 Step Programs

Now there's a just-launched 12 Step program, Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Anonymous (ASCAA) where the primary purpose is to help its members recover from the abuse and trauma of their youth and to help other now-adult victims to heal from theirs. The web site's at: www.asca12step.org

The ASCAA program's brand new, but is meant to appeal to everyone who's suffered childhood abuse abuse and trauma of any type, including physical violence, sexual assault, emotional trauma and neglect (also known as maltreatment) so as to be as inclusive as possible.

We hope fellow survivors will find the materials offered at the ASCA12step.org web site sufficient to start new meetings.

In the meantime, here's a page with over 50 types of existing 12 Step groups to give you some further search ideas: 12 Step Programs

12 Step Programs for Sex and Sex Addiction to look for (but do an online search that includes your location or state). Obviously you'll have to decide if any of these groups will be appropriate to your situation / story / experiences. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Twelve Steps

Below are the 12 Steps in their entirety, as originally published by Alcoholics Anonymous, the original 12 Step program. But each 12 Step group modifies the words "alcohol and / or alcoholic" to suit its specific purpose.

Also the term "God" can be understood as any "Higher Power" including the power of the group itself.

Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over alcohol [this word changes, according to program] —that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7 - Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics [this word changes, according to program], and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

NOTE: For me, one of the things that truly sets 12 Step Programs apart is the set of principals by which they run.

These are called the 12 Traditions and are unique to such organizations.

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Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

ASCAsupport.org


From Survivor to Thriver

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse ( ASCA SM ) is an international self-help support group program designed specifically for adult survivors of neglect, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. The ASCA SM program offers:
  • Community based self-help support groups
  • Provider based self-help support groups
  • Web based self-help support groups
  • Survivor to Thriver workbooks

The ASCA Recovery Framework is a 3 stage model for healing containing 21 steps.
The stages and steps are:

Stage 1 – Remembering

  1. I am in a breakthrough crisis, having gained some sense of my abuse.
  2. I have determined that I was physically, sexually or emotionally abused as a child.
  3. I have made a commitment to recovery from my childhood abuse.
  4. I shall re-experience each set of memories as they surface in my mind.
  5. I accept that I was powerless over my abusers' actions which holds them responsible.
  6. I can respect my shame and anger as a consequence of my abuse, but shall try not to turn it against myself or others.
  7. I can sense my inner child whose efforts to survive now can be appreciated.
Stage 2 – Mourning
  1. I have made an inventory of the problem areas in my adult life.
  2. I have identified the parts of myself connected to self-sabotage.
  3. I can control my anger and find healthy outlets for my aggression.
  4. I can identify faulty beliefs and distorted perceptions in myself and others.
  5. I am facing my shame and developing self-compassion.
  6. I accept that I have the right to be who I want to be and live the way I want to live.
  7. I am able to grieve my childhood and mourn the loss of those who failed me.
Stage 3 – Healing
  1. I am entitled to take the initiative to share in life's riches.
  2. I am strengthening the healthy parts of myself, adding to my self-esteem.
  3. I can make necessary changes in my behavior and relationships at home and work.
  4. I have resolved the abuse with my offenders to the extent that is acceptable to me.
  5. I hold my own meaning about the abuse that releases me from the legacy of the past.
  6. I see myself as a thriver in all aspects of life - love, work, parenting, and play.
  7. I am resolved in the reunion of my new self and eternal soul.

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Tool from Male Survivor.org:

Find a Support Group

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HOME PAGE
programs / projects
RECOVERY
together we can heal
RESOURCES
help stop child abuse
ABOUT
a little about us
CONTACT
join us, get involved