(By John Joseph*)
Recovering from childhood sexual trauma requires a lot of courage and raw hope. Not only are we strapped with the excruciating memories of the abuse, we have to endure the stigma and misunderstanding of people around us should they learn of it. On top of all that is the Herculean effort to overcome the crippling side effects of addiction and emotional dysfunction. Recovery isn’t for sissies.
If not for the hope of getting better we would all give up. Hope is the fuel that keeps us going and drags us out of the ditch when we’ve driven off the road. Maybe hope is like a wrecker service we can call on when we need it. Instead of just crying by the side of the road, or worse, camping out there indefinitely, we should keep hope on speed dial and use it as necessary.
One thing that gives me hope is remembering that I am better off today than I was when I started dealing with my abuse. I was in crisis then; I am not now. I had little knowledge of what to do with it then, but much more now. I had no ability to quell the flood of emotions that was like a tsunami of guilt, shame, and fear sweeping me off my feet and swallowing me up, but I’m learning how to swim a little better now. Hope, if nothing, is a day to day choice to believe things are getting better despite how I may feel.