I knew about the sexaholism in our family. My parents were in the process of a divorce, when one night I received a phone call from my father, who said that he needed to tell me that he had sexually abused me as a child and that the abuse would be reported to our local children’s welfare agency. I know that if I had not been in S-Ateen and not had a program and a sponsor, I probably would not be here today. My sponsor let me cry it all out and helped me accept my feelings. I began to understand that even though this was very painful and sad, that everything was going to be all right; that God had a reason even for this.
The children’s welfare agency did press charges against my father on my behalf, and my father served a year in jail. I love my father so much, and I felt guilty because I agreed to continue with the trial and felt partially responsible for his having to go to jail. I believed I had to do what I could to protect others whom he could possibly harm because of his profession. My S-Ateen sponsor and the people in my group told me it was not my fault; what had happened to me was because of my father’s illness and the choices he made, and I was doing what I needed to do for my recovery. S-Ateen has also been a great help in dealing with some difficult feelings about my mother. Part of my recovery has been to accept that my mother tried to do what was best in the situation, but also to accept that I still felt a lot of anger and resentment that she could not see what was going on. Sharing with other S-Ateens helped me work through that anger and resentment, and it helped me to realize that both of my parents were sick people, not bad people. They didn’t mean to harm me. I know that eventually I will need to address my part in keeping the family secrets and the reasons why I did not come forward to talk to my mom about what was happening to me.
While working on Step Two, I realized that I also blamed God for allowing this situation to occur in the first place. I believed I had done nothing to deserve this abuse, and I asked myself why God would let this happen to me. I have come to believe that the God of my understanding does not have control over our decisions. He tries to show us the right way to go, but he does not make the decisions for us. And I realized that my Higher Power really is loving and caring. After all, he provided all the wonderful people in S-Anon and S-Ateen who have shared their experience, strength, hope, support, and courage with me.
Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, pages 76-77.