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1in6 Thursday: Is It Worth the Fight?
I fought as a teenager on a daily basis to survive in an abusive home. I fought to survive the onslaughts of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse I would endure for most of my teen years. In fact most of my life I have been a fighter, sometimes in a healthy way, sometimes in a toxic way.
Countless times men have told me – I don’t know if it is worth doing all this work, I mean walking through and revisiting the past, it only causes me pain and anguish. Yet often times I have been watching and walking with them as they continue to spinout of control in a sea of shame and pain.
Sadly, those men have been offered a way out, and seemingly out of fear, refused to grab hold of the life rope. Yes it’s painful! What they may not realize is, there’s a bright light at the end of the journey they have been invited on, compared to the world of pain and shame they are living in.
I certainly did not want to revisit the feelings I thought I had so cleverly masked with drugs and alcohol and other mind-altering substances or behaviors. The difference between these men, and myself is simple – I did not know any better. No one had offered me a way out.
When I first walked into recovery I was handed a life rope. Not knowing what lay ahead of me, I grabbed hold of it, refusing to let go, no matter what happened. Yes, I too was more comfortable wallowing around in the shame and pain I had become so accustomed to living in. Having to revisit and walk through those feelings again in order to fully heal was hard, and uncomfortable at best. I’ll admit, I could not fathom how it was going to help me get better.
I can tell you today with confidence, it was the only thing that worked for me. Yes it was a battle at times. However, I was fighting for my life once again, and this time I would not be defeated.
Of all the battles I’ve endured, the biggest was when I started down my recovery path. I had far surpassed my wildest expectations in life as a human being; yet I was an alcoholic and full of despair.
Let’s face it; the road to true mind, body and spirit recovery can be challenging. I had to walk through some of the darkest moments of my past in order to heal from them. I had to face things I had done, people I had harmed, and I had to make things right with them. I had to look at myself in ways I never had before, and I had to do intensive work on my self and old beliefs.
True recovery is not easy; it’s hard, painful and intense. I had to fight, not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. I had to put on the armor of God daily and face my enemy - my old self, head on. I had to suit up and show up.
Unbeknownst to me, I learned a very valuable lesson on a November day in 1972. Everything I have achieved in my life I have fought for, and it all started on this very day. As I lay on the ground in excruciating pain bleeding to death as a result of a motorcycle accident that left my right kidney crushed, I could have easily given up.
But instead I fought for my life and beat death, which the doctors told my parents, was inevitable. In the same way I could have walked away from my marriage of 21 years in 2004, but I chose to fight for what was important to me. I could have given up on my recovery from alcoholism, and my recovery from my abuse, but I didn’t, I fought.
Oh believe me, even today there are times I just want to run, but because my life has gotten so much better, and I know its going to keep getting better, I keep fighting the good fight.
I can hear some of you, especially if your in recovery, saying – Randy we are supposed to “Let go and let God,” “Cease fighting everything and everyone.” You’re right, but it does not mean that we are supposed to sit around on our hands waiting for things to happen. There is still work we must do in order to fully recover.
- By Randy Boyd
Randy is a licensed California Alcohol and Drug Counselor, the founder of the Courageous Healers Foundation, and an associate of "It Happens to Boys." He speaks at conferences, schools, and treatment facilities, about the effects of abuse on men, and how men can heal from those effects. Randy is the author of the new groundbreaking book addressing the sexual abuse of boys entitled Healing the Man Within, a book for male survivors written by a male survivor.
The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.
1in6's mission also includes serving family members, friends and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.
The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Joyful Heart Foundation or 1in6.