Back home from the wild mountains of California and my first ever face to face chance to meet other survivors and share our lives. It was such a gift to myself to step out from the safety of the old patterns and try this.

The love, joy and strength of the men have so encouraged me. The shared stories and shared life experiences has given me such an unbelievable feeling of peace and hope. All my life I sought out other men's groups and the talk has left me feeling that I was different, that I was less than them.

Then my memories of abuse returned to me and I felt I now knew why I was different and yes, less. It gave way to a despair that I would never find a group of men who shared my life, who could truly say I understand what you are feeling. I have found that place of fitting in and I and we are not less than men fortunate enough not to have been abused.

Laughter echoing through out the retreat was something I never thought would occur. Tears and anger I was expecting and there was some of that, but joy in astounding abundance. How could I ever have known that would be there?

Thank you to all the retreat staff and participants. My heart is full and my soul is at peace. Life is going to happen, but I have new memories and a new remebrance of that strong child that has survived so much already. We are ready for the world. I can handle the difficulties it may bring and I am finally ready to accept the love it has to offer as well. \:\)

_________________________
Ken Followell

Everything works out right in the end. If things are not working right, it isn't the end yet. Don't let it bother you, relax and keep on goin
- Michael C. Muhammad

"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."
� Rabbi Hillel