Unfortunately, there are no groups for male CSA survivors in my local area (at least none that I have found after looking awhile). It sucks. In my searching I am pretty sure I even found a group for people who recently lost a pet...I don't mean to make light of other people's suffering or need for group therapy. I am merel upset I could not find one for me when there appear to be so many others for a myriad of different kinds of survivors and struggles.
Well, I decided to attend a "general issues" group at a local Christian church. Being non-Christian quickly became an obstacle as the first 90 minutes of the meeting was worship. Furthermore, they utilize a 12 step biblical program for every aspect of one's recovery. Now I believe faith can be instrumental in the healing process for religious individuals but I was uncomfortable with their approach. However, I vehemently disagree with this particular group's first principles and methodology. Namely, the facilitator suggested our problems (addictions, compulsive behaviors, mental struggles) stemmed from our inherent sinfulness and that the only solution was letting Jesus Christ into our heart.
On top of this a few people spoke about their problems (SSA, co-dependency, alcoholism) and attributed their problems to difficulties in childhood...I am not even kidding you or exaggerating what was said they spoke shortly in attributing their problems to non-specific childhood issues. I mean they even had a pamphlet on SSA that was written like something out of TV's American Horror Story: Asylum among other issues CSA survivors often face. That being said they were all very kind and supportive but it was extremely difficult for me to feel like I was in a group of people who did not understand me/were not ready yet to face their problems/genuinely believed the problem had to do with us and not what was done to us.
The whole original sin/accepting Jesus part actually made me angry because recovery invariably includes some measure of relapse, but what happens if you believe accepting Jesus into your heart is supposed to cure you but you still relapse? Couple this belief with the attitude that your struggles originate from the darkness of your own soul and you might see why I was upset. After all, what conclusion does one reach given the following:
1. I am inherently evil therefore I do these things
2. Accepting Jesus into my heart will heal me, not myself
3. I am relapsing again and again
Frankly, I imagine a number of individuals such as ourselves and others might come to the conclusion that he/she is not only evil but beyond redemption/God's grace and therefore is faced with a hopeless situation...
There is an old Latin saying "Corruptio Optima Pessima," which translates into "corruption of the best is the worst." That is how I felt most of the meeting and in spite of their best intentions ("road to hell is paved..." and all that. I kept quiet and remained respectful the whole time, however, I wanted to straight up tell them that people are not inherently good/evil but make good/evil choices. That, in the case of CSA survivors, someone chose to impose a great evil upon us which naturally had horrible repercussions upon our mind, body, and spirit and so on and so forth. But, I would definitely not tell survivors they are inherently evil or powerless to help themselves or others!
Was I just unlucky/foolish to attend that meeting or has anyone else had a similar experience and/or difficulty finding a group? In any case, I think in the future I should definitely stick to groups set up specifically for CSA.
"Life is like this dark tunnel. You may not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place." ~ General Iroh