Recently I sat on my screen porch with my cup of coffee, listening to the rustling oaks, seemingly filled with birds welcoming the new day. I opened my laptop, checked my email, the news, the usual routine.  Only now there is an additional task, checking on friends from my Weekend of Recovery (WOR).   In September of 2019 I attended my first WOR, in Alta, UT.  Much happened during the weekend, but most life changing for me was the group of men who are now a part of my life.  We shared small group sessions together, seven strangers sharing a common experience, who became friends.   We laughed together. Cried together. Shared intense pain together.  Shared words of encouragement and hope together.  Something happens when you learn you are not alone, not the only one.  Something happens when you share from the heart and are accepted for who you are.

Something happens when you share from the heart and are accepted for who you are.

 In three short days a bond grew between us. This was on display during one of our large group exercises.  Persons were invited to step into the center of the circle of chairs and strike a pose representing what they were feeling.  One man crawled under a table.  Another hunched, turtle-like on the floor.  One of our small group stood in the center and struck a strong man pose, arms lifted, biceps flexed, head held up.  As he stood there, unmoving in the center of the room, one of our group stood up and began to walk around him.  Then another and another, until he was encircled by our entire small group, surrounding him in support, reminding him he was not alone.  I still get goosebumps remembering it.  

 After the weekend we went home and stayed in touch.  Some of us more frequently than others.  Yet we are still here for each other.  From time to time someone sends a message out, checking in, sharing a success or a struggle.  Someone else responds each time.

 Now each day I check in on a couple of those friends.  We talk regularly.  We share challenges, screw-ups, pains and successes.  They accept me as I am. I don’t have to explain why it feels this way or I do those things.  They get it.  We remind each other; “no you are not crazy,” “I feel that way too,” “It’s hard,” “You are a good man.”  Their unexpected messages of encouragement and support lift me up and give me courage.  I send them messages which are as much to remind me as for them. 

 I went to the Weekend of Recovery hoping to gain insight for my healing journey.  I came away with so much more.

There is room for you!

Do you have some people who “get it” in your life? Do you know you are not alone? There are men out here who walk together on the journey of healing.  There is room for you.

Be well. Stay safe. Take good care.

Mike

Saturday, November 7th is All Survivors Day, a day to share stories and raise awareness about sexual abuse. According to allsurvivorsday.org: All Survivors day is “an international day to recognize survivors of sexual abuse, bring their stories into the light, raise awareness of the widespread nature of the issue and organize for change in the culture that allows sexual abuse to continue.” You can find more details and information about how to participate at http://allsurvivorsday.org/.

2 thoughts on “So Much More”

  1. Hi Mike,
    Thank you for writing this. As the person that was in the middle, striking the pose of strength, bravery, and courage I never anticipated what would happen next. That each member of our small group would stand with me, encircle me, protect our strength. What a gift! I think of all of you often and will forever remember locking eyes with each of you, the unspoken message of love and support between us. I hardly have words for that moment as my tears of connection are beginning to well up.
    Ben…

  2. This post sent me back to some of my experiences at WOR. Some of the most powerful moments were when men intuitively and improvisationally responded to each other in ways that drove him how much we male survivors have in common. Even when our histories and experiences varied greatly, there were many ways in which the effects of our abuse on our responses and personailites were strikingly similar.

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