S-Ateen Story…

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.

Recovery, My Recovery

When I first went to an S-Ateen meeting, I thought I’d go once and never go again. But after just one meeting, I was hooked; in a good way of course. Everyone I met there was burdened with their pasts and mistakes, yet there was such hope and cheer in everyone that I thought, “I might have a not-so-nice past, but that doesn’t need to dictate my future.”  You could tell that each person had a story to tell, and struggles to withstand, but also infinite wonders and joys still ahead of them. Going to S-Ateen makes me feel like I have support, comfort and courage to continue the path to recovery. (And I’ve only gone to two meetings so far!!) Already I can see the progress that is pushing my mom, my sister and me forward. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I feel sure that I can handle it and remain on an optimistic track. It won’t always be easy, but I can persevere. A week or so ago, I journaled something that really helped me. It perfectly described my ups and downs and helped me to be focused and cheerful. It gives me hope and somehow makes me truly realize that I have choices in life. I hope it will help anyone who reads it.

“Sometimes, when you’re sitting there musing or walking around completing an errand, you’ll suddenly sigh, a very heavy and emotional sigh. Then fear, sadness, regret, anxiety and hopelessness–these are the feelings that mangle your mind and entice you to their darkness. But just as quickly as this assault descends on you, a faint light presses through the dark, gently letting a ray hold itself out to you, telling you existence doesn’t have to be this way. Then and there, in that space of ten seconds, you know this is one of the many moments of truth that you will face. You, on your own, need to make a decision. What every individual in this life needs to decide is, is that faint light great enough to believe in and pursue? Well, I’ve decided. And I’m not going back to what I once was. (It wasn’t pretty.) And I am sure that many have, and are going to, choose as I did.”

Reprinted from the Summer 2009 issue of S-Anews©.

Getting Support as an S-Ateen

S-Ateen groups are not counseling or therapy groups. We do not give advice. The S-Ateen group sponsors at meetings are not professional counselors. They are S-Anon members working their own recovery program, who offer guidance and support, as the S-Ateen members learn to support each other. S-Ateen members may also seek out the assistance of professional helpers like therapists, clergy, or doctors to help deal with crisis situations or to focus in depth on personal issues.

S-Ateen meetings are not a place to complain, gossip, criticize, or stay stuck in our problems. Each S-Ateen member is given time to share in the meetings. You will have the support of other S-Ateen members, as you learn to focus on the solution, rather than the problem.

 

Reprinted from Is S-Ateen for You?, page 2.