First, I appreciated your comparison with the film Driving Miss Daisy. I loved that one and I'm thinking I should give it another look.
I staggered through decades not knowing why things felt so difficult for me. I just assumed life was meant to be like that, I suppose. I had got clean in 1975, when I was 26, so i didn't want to go back to drugs. But I sure did exult in alcohol, procrastination and "make-work", and obsession with my work at the expense of my family.
I can't say I had any specific light bulb moment of the kind you describe; I guess my progress was a bit different. I was having nightmares and flashbacks and thought I was losing it; I began therapy because I thought I was becoming mentally ill. We did make progress, but my sessions were in German (I was teaching in Germany) and so the ambiguities of translation allowed me to talk in circles and platitudes a lot. At least that's how it seems now.
If there was a big moment, it was one day when I was alone and thinking about a nightmare I had had. I kind of relived it as I sat there - a flashback maybe. But there was a boy, always the same boy, and I was afraid to look at him directly. I'm not sure what happened next, just that he was staring at me, I knew it was me, and I was crying and wanting to know why no one will help me.
After that it was just one thing after another, kind of falling into place. What really did it for me was coming here and thinking, "Huh? What's this? I'm not alone?" That was huge for me. I think just about every big step I took in therapy I first tried out on the guys here. Some of them will remember me writhing and agonizing as I struggled through things like disclosing to my Dad and facing the fact that I had been abused with a close friend.
So yes, years of struggling along with no idea what was wrong, a waking moment when I admitted to myself that I had been abused, but then a long gradual process of realizing how everything fit together. I still get surprised that way, when something happens to show me a new dimension of how abuse has affected me.
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me. (Woody Guthrie)