Together We Heal

Together We Heal is for any who suffer from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. We provide a safe forum for survivors of abuse to share, learn and heal. We work to expose sexual predators and their methods of getting into our lives.

Who Matters To You?

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What are their names? Who are they to you? Your mentors, guides or tormentors? No matter their role in your life, they all had a significant impact on you…for good or bad. And whether they fell on the wrong or right side of the “life” tracks, they all shaped who you became.

For me, on the plus side; Granddaddy, Mom and Dad (Jim or RJ depending on when you knew him), Melvin, Doc Allee, Cindy, David and Mrs. C (although I could never call him David, only Mr. as I have so much respect for him), Ken, Fred, Ricky and Johnnie, and Susan. Each has been a significant contributor into the man I became. Who are yours? Write down their names. Think about their faces.

And of those, how many are still around and which are not and have found peace eternal? If they are still alive and kicking, remember what they’ve done for you and thank them. Let them know how much you appreciate their time, energy, focus and sacrifices they gave or made to encourage you along the way.

For those who are not…YOU are their legacy. They live on by how you live your life. Honoring their lives with yours. They live on in our memories, hearts and in some cases the lives of children they had. But mostly, they “live” through what actions we take based on lessons learned from them.

On the negative side of my life; Frankie, Madeline, Jeannie. And who is on your list? They too have a piece in this puzzle. If it weren’t for the struggles, adversity and pain caused, you wouldn’t have the endurance, fortitude and strength to know you CAN carry on in spite of what happened.

So why do I bring this up. It’s that time year again, New Years, and with it the onslaught of resolutions that will be mentioned, sworn to and then ultimately fall by the wayside by February. Unless, you really think about those people I mentioned. This year, forget about the gym memberships, junk food and drinking too many cokes. This year, think about these people. Think about what you have learned and how you can help others by living your life by the example they taught or by knowing how NOT to think, speak or act based on what you saw from their lives and/or how they treated others.

So here’s my resolutions. To remember the lessons my granddaddy taught me and try to be just half the man he was. If I do that, I’ll be just fine. To thank my mom everyday for being the amazing mom and woman she is and for giving me the opportunity to have a great relationship with my dad, even though at times he didn’t deserve it. To remember the good side of my dad and be appreciative of the talents he passed on to me and use them for good. To apply the lessons I learned about being a man from Mel and Ricky. And to apply the guidance that Doc, Ken and Fred gave me about being a positive spiritual or business leader. And to remember what I learned by simply observing Johnnie’s daily walk. To try and be as kind and tender-hearted as she is. Over the years we, or at least I, have become a bit jaded, and I want to be more like her, more sensitive to the needs of those that need and not to be so quick to judge. And for Susan, without her keen insight into addiction I might not be clean today, or even alive. So I will continue to lead a narcotic free life, one day at a time, and pass along to my fellow addicts lessons learned in the hopes of helping them avoid incarceration, hospitalization and morgues.

From those extreme challenges, those negative influences, I also need to take action. Madeline taught me a valuable lesson or two. First, that you CAN overcome ANY obstacle in your path when you face it in the right state of mind and with no hesitation moving forward. Second, that sometimes working within the system is more successful but takes longer and other times you simply have to break the mold, charge Hell with a squirt gun and challenge the establishment if your convictions and heart are pure. But think long and hard about which approach is appropriate in any given situation. Jeannie taught me no matter how broken a heart gets, it can eventually heal and you can find love afterwords if you open yourself up to it. And last, from the monster, Frankie, I learned that there is no tragedy a child can’t overcome. There is so much resiliency in the human spirit and in the heart of a child, that no matter how large the evil, goodness CAN overcome. But not without love and support from others.

To do all I can with Together We Heal to help my fellow survivors of childhood sexual abuse begin their own healing process and learn how to grow and thrive.

And there is one last resolution I have. It’s kind of important. As many of you know I am engaged to my sweetheart, my loving and kind Linda Mary. I resolve to be the man, fiancé and husband she needs and deserves. To show her that love every day in some way. And to let her know how much I appreciate her and am grateful for her love.

In actuality, there’s so many names of people that have helped me along the way that it would take up pages and pages. And I know I can’t keep you here that long, I’m thankful for you all. And I hope you see in my life the positive reflection of what you taught me.

It’s my sincere belief that if you make this type of resolution, if you do this, and I mean REALLY do it, the junk food, gym and other stuff will take care of itself. Be well, peace be with you all and may 2014 truly be a blessed year for us all.

Copyright © 2014 Together We Heal

Author: Together We Heal

In 2006 David took the first step in a long and painful journey back from the abyss of addiction and self-destruction. He promised his dying father that he would get clean. And he did. But as he cleaned his body and soul, he began to confront the sexual abuse that his addiction had for so long obscured — abuse perpetrated by a church youth minister when David was 12 to 15 years old. Those three years of abuse destroyed the foundation of love and faith that had been built by his family. For 25 years, David kept the abuse secret and lost himself in a fog of drugs and alcohol. He was by turns destitute, at times incarcerated. The promise to his dying father was the catalyst. And the bedrock of his mother’s love and devotion was the foundation on which David rebuilt his life. Therapy, 12-step meetings, and soul-deep determination were the bricks and mortar. David founded Together We Heal to provide fellow survivors and their families, guidance through the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. In 2015 he was asked to become a part of the Child Safeguarding Initiative team with GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to empower the Christian community through education and training to recognize, prevent, and respond to child abuse. David represents Together We Heal & GRACE across the country as a public speaker and instructor; teaching churches, schools, and families how to talk with their kids about sexual abuse, how to better identify predatory behavior, and how to properly respond to those harmed. "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” - Dr. Seuss

One thought on “Who Matters To You?

  1. Really important article. Thank you for sharing it David. It reminds us to honor the people who are able to show up and love us. And helps us understand the strengths we built being in difficult relationships or when people have not loved us, or respected us in the way we deserved. Thank you for doing this important work.

    Like

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