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Importance of Survival Skills

Beyond Survival: Voices of Healing – John

Beyond Survival: Voices of Healing – John


Well my name is John Walker I’m 87 years
old now I was sexually abused by my father and one of his friends when I was
a teenager. And I had all the symptoms of people who’ve been abused; unnecessary
unwarranted anger, the depression, the isolation, and they affected my life and my career because I had no people skills from my parents. As a matter of fact when I went to a therapist to explore family of origin because of the
behaviors of that I had; I wanted to know where they came from,
this therapist at one point said to me “have you, were you were you sexually
abused by your father?” and everything came back in Technicolor.
It just blew my mind I because I completely repressed it for 45 years
because I was in my early 60s when I went to see him. And I then began to look
for resources and it was very difficult to find any. But then I volunteered for
Rape Recovery Center here in Salt Lake City and during volunteer training the
volunteer coordinator said “well, there’s a poster out here about recovery for
male survivors” and I looked at it and it was for Weekends of Recovery to be held
at Alta. So I got in the car and drove up there but I almost didn’t go in. You know
I was really afraid of what might happen. But I finally got the courage to go in
and I did, and the minute I walked in there
I had finally found a home; because I was with people who understood me and I
understood them. And sorry if I get a little emotional about this but growing
up homeless I felt like I’d finally found a home. Through working in there, the
first thing that I was pointed out to me that yeah I was deluding myself by
saying that I was was a solitary person but not a loner. I was in fact a loner. I
kept finding out things about myself and better ways of coping with life. And one
of the things I found out that was really important was getting in touch
with my inner child which I’ve never done before; I’d you know and in my
isolation I’d left my inner child behind. One of the exercises at one of the
Weekends of Recovery was to write a letter to my inner child and through
that I began to get some self-esteem and and some idea of who I really was and
not this this person that had been created by the abuse. I’ve attended
several Weekends of Recovery now and every time I go I learn something new
about myself and about my behavior and that’s why I keep going back to these
Weekends of Recovery; because I know I’m always going to learn something new and
useful. As a result of this I’ve become much more assertive; and that has really
been important in in a number of ways in my relationship with with my wife, she
doesn’t always like it but it’s it’s the way it is. I also volunteered for Hospice for 20 years as and
went and sat with the patient while the caregiver got out for two hours and I
found this to be very rewarding; and because of my experience at Weekend of
Recovery I was able to go into these encounters with a completely open mind
and and be assertive and not try and take over but but do what was what was
necessary to do at that particular time. So today I lead a life of much greater
ease than I did before Weekends of Recovery. Weekends of Recovery are not
for the faint of heart it requires a lot of work, and it may indeed require a lot
of pain. You have to learn to be introspective and really analyze
yourself and look at your problems and be serious about solving them; but I
wouldn’t I wouldn’t trade my experience at Weekend of Recovery for anything
because it’s been literally a lifesaver for me.

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