Living Safety First! — A Final Note
The goal of this chapter is to encourage you to develop a daily practice of
living SAFETY FIRST! In any situation, with any people, facing all kinds of choices or decisions, you always want to start with your SAFETY FIRST! plan, both to evaluate potential dangers and to identify useful and appropriate coping mechanisms for the situation. The more you can incorporate your SAFETY FIRST! plan into your life, the more you will eliminate the kinds of setbacks that plague so many survivors (and that probably plagued you as well). You can then focus your energy on creative recovery efforts and reduce self-sabotaging behavior. In so doing, you will begin to experience the stability that is so essential for healthy functioning.
You can also carry elements of your SAFETY FIRST! plan into your
involvement with ASCA. Should you ever feel overwhelmed or triggered by what you hear in a meeting, you will have a range of options at your disposal. Instead of listening to what is being said, you can direct your focus to your personal reaction and determine why you are having that particular reaction. If your feelings are overwhelming, you can always leave the meeting. You can raise your hand and ask the Co-Secretaries to ask for volunteers to go outside and sit or talk with you. You can decide not to attend meetings on days you feel especially vulnerable. You can discuss your reactions to meetings or shares with other ASCA participants or even the Co-Secretaries. And, of course, you can discuss your reactions with members of your support network to determine if it is still helpful for you to attend ASCA meetings. Any or all of these strategies might be part of your SAFETY FIRST! plan, along with many other options you have identified for yourself.
Whatever your SAFETY FIRST! plan, it is important that you adopt it as
part of your daily life. The more you do this, the more you will internalize a sense of safety that non-survivors take for granted. From this foundation of SAFETY FIRST!, your recovery can proceed, bringing with it the development of a new self capable of creating the kind of life that you long for.