Step Four Self-Help
  1. Record in your journal each episode of abuse that you recount in ASCA meetings or in your therapy. Describe your story in your own words or in the way you have heard other survivors share their stories. Just be sure that the experiences you recount are yours and not someone else's. Draw pictures to accompany the words and to create a fuller image of the surroundings. Include as much detail and emotional expression as you feel comfortable with. Writing and drawing in story form is helpful in organizing and integrating the past experience for you in a different manner, one that takes into account your adult perspective and knowledge. Try to sort out exactly what happened and your reactions then as well as now. Your goal is to develop a more complete understanding of the abuse episodes, one that incorporates the roles played by your parents, your abusers, your family and the forces over which you had no control.
  2. You really need to take good care of yourself while working this step because re-experiencing your memories can be very exhausting. Try to incorporate exercise, plenty of sleep, stress management techniques, meditation, maybe even some high-dose vitamin therapy in your daily routine. All of these things can help your body and spirit stay healthy and vigorous while you work through your memories.
  3. If you tire of writing, try tape recording your memories and listening to them a few weeks later. You may choose or not to add new segments at the end of the tape. Listening again to these tapes several months later may be especially eye-opening because it may both confirm your progress in remembering and trigger new memories.
  4. What about that group you were going to join? By Step Four, a support group may prove to be an invaluable source of support and encouragement for your efforts. Recovery is usually faster and safer if you don't do it alone. You need people more than you might think.
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Survivor to Thriver, Page 71
© 2007 THE MORRIS CENTER, Revised 11/06