STEP THIRTEEN: We follow the principle that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The witness of our lives is the only message we need to carry to others.
Instruction: Seek help when you are ready.
We have come to learn that the message of the Religious Recovery program isn’t for everyone. It is not our responsibility to rescue people who have been hurt, disappointed, or abused by religion or the religious unless they are ready to be helped and they seek us out. Ours is not an aggressive, on-your-door-step and in-your-face approach. Even as kind and loving as many door-to-door messengers try to be, there is still something offensive about the front-porch approach. We know that our program has the ability to help thousands of people, but we also know that it is important to be certain that we don’t become another program that people will eventually need to be healed from. Our initial growth was slow and not very steady, but we did some minimal advertising on the Internet simply to let people know about us. People have found us mainly through personal recommendations, and at least in the beginning, we spent more time working with individuals than with groups.
The program also endeavors to avoid controversy, which is a challenge considering that religion is such a volatile subject. The need for the program is immense, and one of our goals is to develop enough literature to help those who cannot attend a physical meeting or who wouldn’t attend a meeting even if one was available. Some people who have been abused by religion are still caught up with that same religion, and because of such practices such as shunning, formally or informally, they aren’t ready to leave their religion, because it would destroy their world. Other people have been sexually abused by a religious leader, or they know someone who has been sexually abused, and our program can help with the spiritual aspect of that abuse — but we also recommend that these individuals seek help from someone other than another religious leader. Our doors are open, and our hearts are open. Our message is simple. We understand religious abuse, and you don’t have to go it alone if you don’t want to. We are here for you.
In today’s assignment we first want to repeat what we’ve said before that those who have been sexually abused might want to seek professional help. We welcome you to our meetings, but we also encourage you to seek additional help unless you don’t feel comfortable in those settings. Some can’t afford to pay for help and don’t feel comfortable seeking help in a religious setting. We want to help in any way we can, but please remember we are a self-help, nonprofessional organization, but like Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, and other 12-step programs, we help people recover from abuse, whether it is self-abuse, abuse from an organization or an individual person.
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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.