STEP FIVE CONTINUED: Share our struggles with others of like-mindedness trusting that our anonymity will be guarded by all.
Instruction: Tell your story.
At some point it is important to tell your story. For the timid and afraid, this can be done in a way that is non-threatening and meets your particular needs. You might tell your story by writing it down. You could use it for the plot of a book or simply write it for your own benefit. If you fear someone might stumble upon what you’ve written, lock it away or burn the pages after they have been written. Writing has power to heal. It gives validity to your story, and it can release your emotions. If you’re writing it as someone else’s story, you have the ability to choose how that hero or heroine deals with the situation. By creating a winning plot line, you might just stumble upon your own way of healing. Follow your hero’s lead and let it take you to your freedom.
For the less timid, telling your story might mean sharing in a group such as Religious Recovery or sharing with a close friend. It might also mean sharing with a stranger. One important concern is that your story remains your story. Be certain that whoever you choose to confide in will honor your secrets and protect the confidential information you share with them. It is said that confession is good for the soul, and I believe that is true, but confession and gossip don’t mix and can be a formula for more heartache. Religious leaders are often trustworthy individuals who will keep our darkest secrets, but, unfortunately, some of those religious leaders are the ones who hurt and abused us. To confide in them would be emotional suicide, and to confide in one of their comrades might prove to be just as reckless. There are groups and individuals who are safe. Always trust your instincts, and if you think something doesn’t feel right — wait, keep silent, and see how things work out.
Today’s instruction is for the timid person who might never share with a friend or attend a meeting, but this instruction can prove useful to those less timid, too. Take time today to write a small part of your story. Write by hand, write on a computer, or use a recording device, and record your story. You never have to show your story to anyone, you can delete it as soon as you want, or you can choose to keep it in a safe place. After you’ve tried this once, you can decide if you want to write more. Perhaps the first writing will be enough for healing, or perhaps it will give you the courage to write more, or to find someone to share with, or to attend a meeting.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.