A survivor is born... Some of my early life is pieced together from family stories, and the notes from the child psychologist who treated me early in my childhood, due to physical abuse but that's getting ahead of the story.

I was not just from a blended home, mine had been through a freakin Cuisinart. At 6 months old my French Catholic mother divorced my hillbilly Southern Baptist father. My mother had come home from doing the shopping and found me and my crib with bruises from head to toe. It was at that time their marriage ended. When Dad returned to the ship, mom bought 3 steamer trunks and packed up as much of her, my brothers, and my belongings as she could and started her new life. When dad returned we were gone. He filed for custody of me the next day. Claiming his wife had abandoned him which was a true statement she did. He just didn't explain the reason why. This interstate custody battle went on for 4 years with me bouncing between my mother, my father, and my grandparents. The Illinois courts ruled there was sufficient evidence to show a history of domestic abuse and gave primary custody to my mother. This back and forth tit for tat between my parents had one negative piece of collateral damage, my older brother M. Even though he was two years older, he didn't understand why my parents were fighting over me and not over him. We would learn later in my life that we had different fathers. We also learned that my father adopted him then abandoned him during the divorce. To say that he had anger issues towards me is a bit of an understatement. On no less than three occasions he attempted fratricide. When I was 1 he was found holding me in the tub under the water. When I was two he pushed me out of a two story window. Fortunately either the ground was soft, or I was able to roll with it but, I was uninjured. It was when mother came into our bedroom and found him holding a pillow over my face, she realized he needed counseling he was five I was 3. M took to counseling fairly well, I was a bit of an enigma to my therapist. He could not understand why I was so forgiving to my big brother. I guess it was simply because he was my big brother. Our relationship changed after his counseling he became my protector my knight in shining armor. Though on occasion that armor would be tarnished. You've heard the phrase thick as thieves, that was us. We were a two toddler crime-wave, M learned I had the gift of stealth early. He also learned that I could carry four 8 packs of RC cola bottles from our neighbors garage without making a sound. We would take them to the local 5 and 10 cent store, to cash in for our sugar fix. Then he entered our lives in the summer of 69, the man who would eventually become our step dad. He took my mom and I to a rock concert in Bethel, New York . Before anyone asks I was ALMOST four years old, the only thing I remember about it is, when the cow started wandering around the grounds, and all the rain and mud. I am told that's more than most people remember about Woodstock. After the trip Mom and Pop decided to live together. To this day my bio-father thinks Mom and Pop got married first. When I turned four my bio-father married my Irish Catholic step monster, well earned title (think Cinderella). Then my mother married the man I would eventually adopt as my father I guess you could say he was Jewish agnostic, he did not practice his parents faith, unless his mom was visiting (Bubbe Dagmar was a force of nature). December was more than a little confusing. Like I said well mixed. I was nothing special, I was like any other kid who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, you know normal. Damn!

I wish you could have known the boy before CSA. I was 8, thin, and small for my age, shy, blond haired, with blue green eyes that my grandmother said sparkled. I was always smiling with a big infectious toothy grin that would light up a room. That was my cousin's description of it. All of that changed when I was 8 years old. The story of my abuse began the day after my brother (M) was sentenced to reform school. M had always been my protector. That big toothy grin I was telling you about, was the decorative grill that sat in an equally large and smart assed mouth. Sadly, that mouth was also connected to a brain that had more big words in it than most bullies could understand. That was constantly getting me in trouble. M would always have to come to my aid when the bullies would come after me. M had attempted suicide, during the last week of April in 1974. The judge sentenced him to 30 days in residence mental health screening, followed by relocation to the Chaddock Home for Boys.

May 2nd 1974 mid-morning: Thomas's boys saw me on the back porch crying. TJ, the older brother, he was a mighty high school freshman and was the first to speak, he wanted to know what was so wrong. For the first time in the year I had known him, he actually said an entire sentence without a profanity, and with what appeared to be genuine concern. I felt very special, he was almost 5 years older than me, a huge age difference to an 8 year old. D the younger brother was two years older than me and had been in my brothers class at school. After telling them about my brother's incarceration D thrust his unopened bomb pop into my hand. I thanked him and took it but, thought it was odd, I hadn't heard the ice cream man. TJ asked if I wanted to take a walk at which point my mother yelled out the window and said yes he does. I blushed, I didn't know mom was listening. As we walked down the road I told them that I was in trouble for breaking our family's cardinal rule, what happens in the house stays in the house. After walking around the lake for a while skipping stones TJ suggested we go back to their house and get another bomb-pop, maybe we can watch the TV. Being the sugar junkie I was I said yes, that and I did not want to go back home and face my mother. We entered their house, by today's standards it could have been showcased on an episode of Hoarders. There were piles of food containers, and trash everywhere with paths going through the living room. It was odd but I thought it was neat, did I mention I hated cleaning my room. We went through the kitchen and entered the pantry TJ opened the big chest freezer and when I looked in, it was filled with every frozen confection a child could ever have wanted. When we grabbed our treats, TJ then suggested we go back to his room and watch TV. I looked at him and said you have your own TV? He said yeah it's not that big though, dad says he's going to buy me a bigger one. I asked D are you getting TJ's old TV? He replied dad bought me the same one last year. I could not believe it until the boys showed me their rooms. Not only did they have the big console TV in the living room but, each of the bedrooms had at least a 19 inch television. Unheard of for 1974, I thought our house was the exception. We had a console TV in the living room, and mom and pop had one in their bedroom that was it, and dad sold them for a living. The other thing I noticed when peeking into D's room, it was immaculate the clutter stopped at the door. We entered TJ's room and it was the same way spotless. He had shelves lining all four walls each filled with different semi-tractor trailers, models built to exacting specifications. This did not surprise me, I knew his father was a truck driver for a large moving company. My parents bitched that his truck was always coming home with him, and it made too much damn noise. I thought it was cool. He had the ability to take a little bit of his house with him no matter where he went. Clearly with 5 TVs in their house truckers got paid a lot of money. TJ turned on the TV in his bedroom and flopped down on the mattress motioning for me to grab a seat as well. D sat on the floor and leaned against the bed as a backrest.

I descend into hell:
The house was hot, central air conditioning was a luxury item that not many people had back then. TJ suggested we take off our shirts. When both TJ and D took there shirts off I figured I had better do the same and blend in. Aside from my brother I didn't have any other friends and I didn't want to lose the chance for these. After 20 or 30 minutes, TJ looked bored with what was on the TV. He reached under the corner of his mattress and pulled out a stack of magazines. They were glossy with pictures of adults engaged in different sexual activities. When I saw what was on the covers I blushed. TJ looked at me and said hey its just sex you will learn about that eventually in school anyway. It's more fun learning before then though. By now you probably have guessed, Thomas was using his boys to get his hooks in me. He had a preference for boys 7-10, “lucky” me. Both of his boys were outside that age group, but that didn't stop him from using them other ways, such as finding him new victims. I was about to discover this “innocent” exchange was about to bring me into the family. I had refocused my attention on the television. D reached up to his brothers stash and pulled down a black and white glossy magazine showing boys engaging in sex. I grabbed my shirt and started walking towards the door saying I needed to get home. TJ had gotten to me before I reach the door. You're cute, and I want you to stay as he pushed me back to the bed. That was when I was raped for the first time. Both TJ and D took turns using me. This was not pedophile seduction, this was brute force. Then while TJ moved from position to position I heard click followed by the sound of a motor. At some point during the assault I passed out. I awoke to the sounds of a loud argument. TJ was explaining to someone that I was not as cooperative as they hoped. Then came the sound of a loud slap, and TJ yelped! I was shaking as Thomas opened his son's bedroom door. He walked over to the bed and sat down putting his hand on my lower back. Tears were streaming down my face. “I am so sorry, my boys were a little too rough on you. I guess boys will get excited about a cute little body like yours. I have told the boys that you are off limits.” As his other hand is flipping through the Polaroids, he tells me it looks like you were having a pretty good time though. D brought his father a bowl and pitcher and a wash cloth. Thomas gently bathed me, removing his son’s deposits. My skin was crawling. I just wanted to disappear, to get away anywhere but here. When Thomas had finished, I asked him if I could get dressed. He told me TJ and D were washing my clothes to get the Popsicle and other stuff out of them. He gently picked me up and carried me into the master bedroom. He laid me down on his water-bed and told me that my mom gave me permission to have dinner here, and how pleased she was that I found new friends. I went numb, when he rubbed his rough calloused thumb across my lips and whispered how he wanted to be my friend as well. He went on to say how this was totally natural and everything was going to be okay. Thomas started kissing my body, and my mouth. He tasted and smelled of stale cigarettes, then directed me how to perform oral sex on him. He was disappointed in my performance and told me I would get the hang of it in time. He turned me over and raped me anally, still more tears, “Breathe deep and relax sweetie. I don’t want this to hurt. How much it hurts is entirely on you.” After he finished, he told me that I was the cutest thing that had been in his bed since his wife left. He kissed me again and told me that D had started a bath for me and that he would be along shortly to help me clean myself up. Thomas made it clear to me, I was his to use as and when he wished. Then came the threats, be quiet or else. Most of the time it was a threat to burn down the house while my parents were sleeping. Thomas was very graphic in what would happen if the back of the house was set on fire with the burglar bars on the front. He added your mother dumped your brother off on the state because he was too much trouble, you will be no different. To an 8 year old boy he was very convincing. That night as I was getting ready for bed, I was again betrayed by my body, I lost control of my bowels. I felt shame and utterly useless as I cleaned myself up the best I could. When I washed the poop out of the pajamas I found the blood in the fabric. I couldn't scrub it out, no matter how hard I tried. I used toilet paper to line my underwear in case of more blood. I then snuck across the hall and put on new pajamas. I put my stained pajama bottoms deep underneath my dresser, so that my mother would not find them, she did a month later. I was 8, I was not a criminal mastermind. The next morning I awoke to a white haze on my window and my stepfather screaming. “God damn sons of b******!” As he was thundering down the hallway. Upon closer examination all but the center section of my window had been soaped. The clearing in the soap film formed the shape of a heart. I was sore from the previous day, but I dressed as quickly as possible to find out why dad was so mad about one window getting soaped. We went outside and all the way down the side of the house every window was soaped up with messages, where's M what happened to M. But that's not what upset pop the most. Someone had painted bright blue letters the same message, with the addition “We love OUR family.” I knew who was responsible for it but could say nothing. Without turning around, I could feel TJ looking at me from his bedroom window. Thomas came out of his home looked at my father and said “It's a damn shame, what this neighborhood has fallen to. Your boy was out of control, you did the right thing. No doubt who did this” as he pointed to a home painted in the same hue. My normally calm and cool headed step dad was fully enraged. He was also very mad that this happened while he was sleeping in his bed. I thought to myself as I looked at Thomas, your point has been made. And dad looked at me and asked, “You didn't hear anything? How could you sleep through this!” I started to cry I turned and walked away. As I did I heard Thomas tell my dad, “This world is going to chew that boy up and spit him out as soft as he is. You need to start toughening him up.” Dads reply was equally chilling,“Any ideas?” A couple weeks later my mother decided to re enter the workforce. Because I was so young, she thought I needed someone to look after me when I got home. She turned to the one person in the neighborhood who condemned the graffiti on our house, Thomas. I was told one night that I would be returning home with TJ and D from now on. Not only was I in hell, I felt like it’s chief citizen. The rapes continued for about a year and a half, between 3 to 5 times a week. I was used by multiple men over that time, far too many to count. When I was in therapy at 21, I often referred to that part of it, as being passed around like a party favor. I also did many sessions of child pornography. One of my worst recurring nightmares, involves a manila envelope dropping on my desk and spilling open containing those many super 8 films, two glossy slick magazines to my knowledge (produced by a Dutch “photographer” who I was rented to for the afternoon) and all of the photos. The envelope never stops spilling out its content. I normally wake at that point shivering. I had also been sold as a child prostitute on multiple occasions, normally when my attacker needed something. On one occasion I was traded for a set of tires for his family car, another time it was for CB for his truck.

Safety at last:
A bit more than one year after the first attack, my step father came home from work and announced that his store went bankrupt and we were moving to the other side of the state. I was overjoyed, I believed the long nightmare was over. We moved to the other side of the state and started our new lives. I was walking home from school, when I suddenly bumped into someone on the sidewalk. I looked up, it was Thomas. The pit of my stomach froze and I started shaking uncontrollably and peed my pants. He put his hand on my shoulder and told me to pull it together. He then slid around to my side keeping his hand on me and sliding it to the other shoulder almost fatherly. We walked two blocks down and I saw his semi. as he put me in the vehicle, I truly believed that was the last time I was ever going to see my parents. As we drove to a nearby truck stop he told me to climb into the sleeper and strip. He barely had the vehicle and park when he climbed into the back and reclaimed his prize. I went numb, my brain shut down, and I just did what he told me to. He told me he was going to be coming up regularly shuttling cargo, and that I should be ready when I see him. Again he had threatened my family, and I believed him. I got home and immediately washed my urine soaked pants before mom came home from her job. This was my new reality for another 6 months, every Wednesday afternoon I was in the back sleeper compartment of his truck and every Saturday I spent the day with him or whoever he brought to the local motel. My grades plummeted, and my behavior became erratic. When my mother could take no more, she asked what the hell was wrong with me. I told her, "I can't forgive you for what you did to my brother, I hate you, and I want to live with dad." She believed me, and 2 weeks later, I saw Thomas for the last time. We met at our usual rendezvous spot. When he was finished with me, I told him mom doesn't want me anymore and she is kicking me out to live with my father. He said well that's not a problem you know I can travel, where does your old man live? When I told him he was a MCPO and lived on Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Thomas turned white as a sheet, “Well, damn!” With that I knew it was over. Thomas reminded me about the peril of telling anyone, “I may not be able to get to you or your dad but, I do know how to get your mom.” I still believed him. One week later I moved in with my father.

One nightmare ended and a new one begins:
It was about 3 months after I moved in with my father when I finally felt safe. I was down in the TV room with him we were watching the news, I was going to do it I was going to tell my father what had happened and why I moved in with him. Then he shouted at the TV I forget what the story was about, “f****** queers, that's what's wrong with the world, too many f****** queers.” To say my dad was hostile to the gay community was a little bit more than an understatement. Because of what I had done and what was done to me I thought, this was not a safe environment to explain what had happened to me for a year and a half. Two days later attempted to take my life for the first time. I jumped from a train bridge and ended up breaking my ankle when I hit the water. If I had stayed on the bridge another two minutes, I would've been hit by the ore train.

We moved off base before the new school year began. I was walking around the neighborhood and made friends with one of the girls who would soon be one of my classmates. I don’t know what I said but apparently she took it way out of context. Two weeks later when I was standing in front of my new school the whispers began. I was approached by the school bully and was promptly called a queer. No matter how much I protested, or tried to ignore the bullies I would be called, fairy, fag, or queer boy several times a day. I retreated back into my safe place and went numb for 7 years. Over the course of my middle school career my grades never rebounded. School administrators and some of my teachers suspected something wasn't right. It was decided that I would speak to the school shrink, by this time I had learned nothing send to a school psychologist ever stayed private. Too much was counting on my silence. It did not help that my step monster began repeating the school bullies taunting. She also questioned whether I was my father's son. She alleged with the slants in my eyes, my mother must have bedded an “Asian man” (that was not the word she used). She made my home life for living hell. Was I the perfect child? Not by a long shot, but she did not win any awards for mother of the year either. I had been pushed to the limit. In the 8th grade when my mom had me for a visit, we went to our family's favorite park for a family picnic with my cousins. My cousins and I were climbing all over the river side of the cliffs when I “became” separated from them. I found myself just under Lovers Leap. When I looked down at the river below I was filled with an incredible peace. I realized that if I fell, my pain would end. I also recognized I would probably been hung up in the pines below. Nope, if I was going to do this again their could be no screw ups, I wanted this s*** over. I started climbing the loose stone face until I was just under the lip. I looked down at the river again, there it was again that wonderful peaceful feeling. This was it I remember thinking “God was giving me a pass.” Just as I made up my mind to let go, two pairs of hands came over the edge and grabbed my wrists pulling me over onto the ledge. I felt so disappointed as I thanked my rescuers.

Sophomore year in high school, there was a moment when the numbness faded and anger was able to escape. The class bully Tim was held back twice and was the strongest and largest kid in the class. He also took delight in tormenting me, the smallest kid in the class. When I said one of the smallest kids, I'm talking having to sit on a Chicago phone book in order to see over the hood of the driver education car (a 78 FORD LTD II). This incident happened after gym class. I've never been comfortable with the communal showers in the gymnasium. I always felt they were too open, too vulnerable. I did my business I got dressed and practically sprinted out to the gym, and waited for the bell. That is when my tormentors, the school bullies would normally torment me about being "gay." This day was no different. Tim approached me with his usual antics and asked, "Did you see anything in there you liked queer boy." I will admit that normally in invoked a shame based blush response. This time I just gave him an icy stare. When he did not get his usual rise out of me, Tim did something new, he grabbed my head and rubbed it against his crotch. I got angry and my fist slammed right into his balls. Then began spasmodically beating on him. He was the beneficiary of 8 years of pent up rage. There was a problem with this, I was the smallest kid in the class. Tim was held back twice, he was one of the largest and strongest kids in class. After the initial victory, Tim literally handed me my ass with a epic beat down. I was fortunate we were still on the bleachers. Being the smallest kid in class does have its advantage. I was able to slip between the slats in the bleachers. I made my way to the theater lighting crawl way, and through the theater and out into the hallway. I was able to hide in the bathroom until the bell rang. He would continue call me a homosexual till the day he dropped out but, he never laid his hands on me again. Later that year I would attempt to end my life for the last time. I was 16 and on my way home from summer school, I failed a course that was mandatory for graduation, driver's education (step monster refused to let me practice on the family car). I had a bad day, again it came to me that I had the power to end it. I rode my bike down a trail with the intent of hitting the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, instead I clipped a log on the trail and wiped out. All I got was a concussion, and temporary short term memory loss. Was I really trying, I think so. Still, both my mother's family and even my ball busting step-monster were catholic. I didn't want my family stained by a suicide. But an accident that would be tragically acceptable. After each of the three attempts I had the same emotional result feelings of; shame, guilt, and abject failure. Oh, my family dismissed my injuries as me being a klutz, oh joy. Over that summer puberty finally struck me hard. I shot up almost a foot,and my voice went from an alto to a "basso profundo" deep bass. The taunting finally ended one day when one of my tormentors wrote a suicide note saying that I could not live with a failed gay romance and signed my name to it. Then he passed it around the class. When the note hit my desk and I read it I became so angry I grabbed his head and shoved it into a cinder block wall. In my whole life up until that point I have never been violent but something snapped. I felt guilty immediately and more so when I was told during my disciplinary counseling that he had developed a concussion. The dean said we cannot abide violence in the school, you are being suspended for one day. The other boy was suspended for a week. My father after reading the note was so angry. For the first time he stood up for me. He looked at me and said you've been putting up with this s*** this long. He then added next time drag him off campus and beat him till he is dead. At that point my father was escorted out to his car. The Dean looked at me and said I have to suspend you for one day. However, I want you to go to the courthouse tomorrow. If you do a report of what you see, I will give you credit for being at school. This guy rocked. I squirreled the pain and memories away into a small box in my mind and kept it there. I guess I always had trouble with my sexual identity. I couldn't reconcile what was done to me and who I was. I knew I liked women, I just couldn't attract one.

Alone Again:
A few weeks before my 17th birthday my step-monster and I had it out, the end result I was thrown into the street. I worked two part-time jobs and kept a full course load. After a couple months I was falling apart. I “zombied” my way through the halls until I realized it was too much. I only needed two damn classes to graduate, Gym and American Government. I asked my guidance counselor to drop all of the other classes. She said no, I could not drop them without my father’s consent and he refused. Two weeks later I collapsed in the hall, and dropped out. Surprise I could do THAT without him. I told the Dean I would be back next year. He bet me $50 I wouldn't. A couple weeks later I lost my part-time job, it was my fault I slept through my alarm. As a result I lost my apartment. I moved into an abandoned shower facility at the state park with a fellow dropout “Cat”, we pooled everything. I was bathing out of a gas station sink, and foraging for food for us out of restaurant dumpsters. She was hooking, to support her habit. I had to keep expanding my range looking for work, it seams 17 year old high school dropouts are not in demand in the middle of a cold Chicago Winter. I had walked back from the mall, still no job and now no sign of Cat. I did however score 3 cans of Sterno. She would be happy when she got “home” our makeshift coffee can warming stove would keep us warm tonight. Three days passed, I found out she was found dead in a motel from an overdose. I realized I cannot do this alone. I asked a friend for help. JM owned a hair salon she told me she could use a cute shampoo boy and someone to cleanup the shop. In exchange I got a free room in back, and tips. Women tip the guys who shampoo their hair, WHO KNEW! I learned they tip heavy $10-$20 on a $5 shampoo!!!

Life begins to recover:
Shampoo boy goes back to school. JM encouraged me to get my ass back into school, “I’ll feed you, but you need that slip of paper” I agreed. Ironically my big clients moved their hair appointments around my school schedule. THAT is loyalty. My Dean was there on registration day, I smiled and said pay up! Mr. H opened his wallet and started counting out $50, then he said double or nothing on graduation. I said let it ride. To my surprise MOST of my teachers offered bets against my graduation. One week before school started, my dad reentered my life. The registration office called and advised I needed parental consent to register, ODD I didn't need it to drop out. My father said no, I advised him to rethink that position I “WAS” still a minor and “HE” was now depriving me of an education. With that he signed the documents. Though I only needed 2 semesters of Gym and one semester of American Government, I chose to carry a full course load. This time they were the classes “I” wanted. Graphic Arts, Choir, Speech, Drama, Anthropology, Psychology, Advanced Literature and Honors Lit. When I graduated All of my teachers formed a line at the bottom of the stage, each had an envelope, and a hug or hand shake.

I enlisted in the Air Force after graduation.
When I enlisted in the Air Force at 18, the walls in the mental box started to crack. After graduating boot camp I was shipped to Biloxi, Mississippi for technical school. I was a decent bass, and was encouraged to volunteer for the Keesler Male Chorus. One of the benefits of volunteering was that you immediately became a "phase 4" student. Being in phase 4, you could wear civilian attire whenever you were off-duty and you could drink. Oh, I found my new mistress, and loved her completely, alcohol. She numbed the pain of the past, and dominated the dark memories. We went steady and hard for almost 4 years. I found that I was a highly functioning drunk. I also found that I was a violent angry drunk. But for the first time in my life I wasn't out of control because of someone else. This was my own little act of defiance, my own little piece of chaos. A chaos of my own choosing. Or so I thought.

Just before my 22nd birthday, I was called into my Director of Operations (DO) Office. The major looked at me and inform me that there were more than a few people on base who were concerned about me. He open the folder which contained my bar tab for the month. Advised me that I'm not in any trouble FOR NOW. How you choose to recreate is your own business until it impacts the mission. But, that is a hell of a lot of booze. Is there something wrong with you son? I shook my head. Are you sure? I found in my career people drink this hard there's normally something wrong. Your service jacket is clean, although your previous DO did advise me you do have a bit of a temper when you drink. I know you were a forward air controller and that career field is work hard and play hard. When a person has more booze in the cupboards then food that's a sign. One more time are you having a problem. I thought to myself lucky me I'm the only person in the command who has a director of operations with a psychology degree. I'll give you this Izzy as far as drunks go, you are at least a top shelf drunk. He reached under his desk and pulled out a trash can, my trash can. And he started pulling out the crown royal bottles. 3 bottles of Crown Royal in 4 days, that on top of your club drinking, is a bit much don't you think. That's assuming you didn't make a dumpster run since the last dormitory inspection. I replied to my drinking was not an issue, I could go cold turkey tomorrow if he wanted. I just enjoy the feeling. There was the opening he needed, why do you enjoy feeling anesthetized? Is this because of what happened in Honduras? The board cleared you of any wrongdoing. You did what you had to. I told him no and that I'd been drinking long before Honduras. Sergeant if you do not grab hold of your demons they shall certainly hold you for life. I don't know whether you've just given up. There's a hell of a lot of people here who care about you, your career, and hell your life apparently more than you. I've never been disappointed with your actions until now. I don't know when it happened but, sometime during that chat the wall started coming down. I started telling him about my early family life, the shooting in Honduras the previous year, and oh by the way I was raped when I was 8. I went on to a few more items and he stopped me. Go back to that last one. Part of me that was hoping he was listening passively was a bit more than disappointed. For the first time in my life someone was actually listening actively to every word that came out. I painted a picture in broad strokes hoping he would inquire no further. He picked up his phone and called the crew scheduler and directed him to take me off the schedule. Izzy you have more than a wagon load to deal with, and I'm going to give you the time to deal with it. That time starts now. You said you could quit booze cold turkey show me. But I'm going to go one step further I want you to go down to my church and talk to my Reverend. He has expertise in counseling sex abuse victims. I think he can help you if you want to help yourself. The last thing I want is this counseling going on your military record. Military mental health with automatically strip you of your flight status and PRP that is unacceptable, none of this was your fault except how you dealt with it and I can't condemn you for that either. If you need anything the door is always open. For now you're on light duty. You will help Commander’s secretary with filing and reviewing performance reports and decoration packages. When the Reverend tells me that you are stable enough to take shift, I will be the first to welcome you back into the MWOC. That is when I met my first therapist. He was a Lutheran minister but I didn't hold that against him. With my goofy family’s background when it comes to faith, what's one more. My tour of duty in North Dakota was the longest of my career and the most rewarding. The Reverend and I discovered the alcohol in my case was not and addiction, it was my way of numbing the past nothing more. A crutch that I could cast away it will. 2 months of light duty later the Reverend and I sat down with my DO and advised him I was ready to go. Some parts of counseling were more difficult than others. You haven't lived until you've made a man of God blush by explaining in great gory detail, different aspects of BDSM based torture. As I recall he used the shortest verse in the Bible many times during our sessions "Jesus wept." After 2 years of counseling 3 times a week the Reverend asked if I would be willing to join his peer counseling circle, I told him I didn't have any problem with it. For my last three years in North Dakota I got to be part of the support system for a lot of people.

Do I blame God for what happened, no not even a little. Evil came into this world by our own nature not his. Do I regret that it happened? Everyday. Has good come from it? I believe it has it has made me a far more compassionate person than I may have been otherwise. It has made me reach out to help others. Can good grow out of evil beginnings? Yes. I'm reminded of the quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I am far stronger today then I was at 8. Do I still have issues? Yes. I believe I will have those issues probably the rest of my life. But I know they're manageable just as I know each day that goes by I have more control, I have moved from powerlessness to power.

I have been in therapy for CSA off and on for 20+ years. Last month I had a 4 day run of nightmares and flashbacks, that is what brought me here.

I feel for the first time in 40 years I own my past, it no longer owns me. It does occasionally have a lease but I own it.

_________________________
Izzy

After 40 years of just living with it, I am "starting to thrive"
"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" C.S. Lewis