By Caileigh Smith, MC, LAC
Have you ever sent the wrong text message to the exact wrong person? I have. In fact, I did it recently. I sent a message about a person TO THAT person—the horror! The consequence? Well, besides being cut from that person’s Christmas card list, I suffered a complete and utter shame attack.
The Meadows Survivors Workshop Experience
Testimonial from Scott E - a 20 year-old participant in February 2012
I recently had the chance to attend the Meadows Survivors Workshop. Upon completion, I was asked to describe the experience and I wrote the following thoughts.
The Meadows was the most eye opening experience of my life. It has left me in awe; the program was a godsend for me. I was able to go places inside of myself that I was unaware of. Places that would be forbidden to go; and that I would unconsciously avoid. I was able to go there and break down walls from within. I love this workshop and the facility and staff because they made me capable of loving myself.
I had compassion for others and was able to share my emotions with others. I was able to cry when I needed to cry, and laugh when I needed to laugh.
Most importantly I'm leaving with a smile and love for myself. I'm content with me and I know that I am a gift to this world. I leave intrigued with myself, with a respect and love for others and ready to take on life on life's terms. My slogan for the Meadows is that shit gets real, real fast. I am 20 years old...
The current news coverage regarding the alleged sexual abuse perpetrated by Sandusky can potentially be activating of old memories for many men and women. Most people react with disgust, rage, and shame due to their own abuse histories that involve being sexual violated. Some others may find themselves acting out or acting in without consciousness of the trigger for their behavior. Regardless of the outcome of the Sandusky case, there is help and more importantly hope for survivors of sexual abuse. It is imperative to process thoughts and emotions regarding the abuse. Vital is for the individual to recognize that they did nothing to cause the abuse. They are not to blame. An Insidious feature of sexual abuse is for the victim to internalize and carry the shame of the shamelessness of the perpetrator. Feelings of shame and guilt are pervasive. Feelings of anger and rage often are expressed directly and indirectly to others. A classic question most, if not all, survivors ask is "what did I do to cause this to happen?" Men, in particular, have a greater propensity to express their emotions with rage, covert / hidden depression, and if the perpetrator was male - homophobia. Hope for the survivor comes with processing the abuse and engaging trauma treatment modalities such as EMDR and Somatic Experiencing to gain some resolution of what happened to them. Surviving sexual abuse, particularly from childhood experience, allows the individual to establish sanity in their lives, intimacy with loved ones. It affords the individual the opportunity to embrace the joy that can be found in life. Message to the survivor: "you did nothing wrong", "you did nothing wrong". Stepping out and accessing help in the form of counseling, peer support, or inpatient treatment is the first step in the journey of healing. You are not alone. Secrecy binds the individual to the trauma. Secrecy allows the abuse to continue. We all have a legal, moral, and ethical obligation to ensure the safety of all children. Report, report, report.
Michael Cooter, MSSW, LCSW
As part of its ongoing video series, The Meadows is pleased to present part two of a 10-part interview with John Bradshaw, world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, author, and a leading figure in the fields of addiction and recovery.
In this second video, Mr. Bradshaw discusses Survivor Week, the weeklong part of The Meadow's inpatient treatment program. The purpose of Survivor Week is to get family members actively involved in the patient's recovery process.
"Survivor Week allows people to understand where they are in the family system," Mr. Bradshaw explains, adding that this understanding is very important, especially when dealing with alcoholic families, battering families, or incestuous families, for example. The whole family system becomes dysfunctional and 'stuck together.' "The ability to differentiate, to be one's own self, becomes impossible unless you do some work on it," he says.
Mr. Bradshaw has been affiliated with The Meadows since 1979, giving insights to staff and patients, speaking at alumni retreats, lecturing to mental health professionals at workshops and seminars, and helping to shape its cutting-edge treatment programs.
Identified by his peers as one of the 100 most influential writers on emotional health in the 20th century, Mr. Bradshaw has changed the lives of millions of people around the world through his writings and teachings. Over the years, he has authored several New York Times bestselling books, including Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love, and Healing the Shame That Binds You.
In other videos in this series, Mr. Bradshaw discusses such topics as the importance of after-care facilities, the relationship between shame and depression, and The Meadows' model of family systems in treatment, among others.
To view this and other videos in The Meadows' series, see www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg. For more about The Meadows’ innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, see www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.