- Try to remember that you don’t have to punish yourself now in order to recover. Remember the pain of the little boy inside you who was abused – he’s suffered enough. You are in no way to blame for the abuse.
FINDING A WAY THROUGH ADDICTION
There are many ways of dealing with the distressing after-effects of childhood sexual abuse. One way is to become addicted. Being addicted to something means being out of control in your use of it. You can become addicted to many things :
- Strenuous exercise
- Taking risks
Do you feel, or have you felt, out of control with any of these things? If your answer is yes, then you may be wondering, ‘what’s that got to do with being sexually abused as a boy?’ Well, being abused is extremely painful. Such pain is hard to cope with. There may have been no-one around to listen to your pain. Traditionally, men are supposed to be strong and to cope with anything. But you still have to find a way of coping and surviving. Some men turn to addictions. If this has happened to you try not to beat yourself up about it. It’s important to understand that addictions serve many valuable short-term functions :
- They help to blot out the pain of the abuse.
- They can temporarily reduce tension.
- They might help you feel good – briefly.
- They might help control distressing symptoms like flashbacks, or lack of sleep.
Unfortunately, with addiction there’s always a price to pay :
- Your physical health might suffer.
- You might suffer financially.
- You might lose time at work, or even your job.
- Under the ‘influence’ you might be more likely to get yourself into situations where you might get hurt, or hurt others.
- If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself you might be more likely to do it ‘under the influence’.
All these things are potentially dangerous. In addition, it’s hard to begin your recovery whilst you’re in the grip of addiction. This is because recovery involves expressing and feeling your feelings. This can be very hard and painful. The point of addiction is to try and blot out painful feelings. So, while you’re addicted it’s hard to get to your feelings.