Assessing and Facing Risks
Facing your abuse and your reactions to it brings with it risk: risk that you
will feel overwhelmed, out of control, unable to make the right decision in any number of situations. You can't grow without taking risks, but you won't recover if you take risks that you are not prepared for. So, as part of approaching recovery from a position of safety and strength, you need to learn to distinguish between healthy and harmful risks.
Think of safety as an inverted U curve, with the left end of the inverted U representing total safety but no risk and the right end of the U representing no safety and total risk.
The optimum growth point is to the right of the middle of the curve
where high safety is combined with low risk. You always want to be conservative in balancing safety and risk because you want to avoid setbacks that may occur when the level of risk outweighs the level of safety you feel you need. Considering that many survivors have histories of self-sabotage or of being re-victimized as adults, SAFETY FIRST! means learning to take fewer risks while you create more safety for yourself.
Besides helping you to avoid setbacks, the idea of SAFETY FIRST! is to
maximize your chances of success when you do decide to take appropriate risks, so that you begin to build success and mastery into your life. By mastering challenges that contain some risks, you will begin to develop confidence in yourself, which in turn will enhance your self-esteem. In other words, you want to be s t r e t c h e d by your recovery but never broken.