I hold my own meaning about the abuse that releases me from the legacy of the past.

HEALING [Step 19]: This is the last step that focuses directly on your abuse, but it is nevertheless critical in this long process of putting the abuse behind you once and for all. After all your hard work on the previous eighteen steps, your last task is to arrive at your own philosophical understanding of why the abuse happened to you and what it means for you today. After growing up thinking that the abuse occurred because of who you were as a person, you must now replace this with an explanation that accords with what you now know and who you now are.

In a sense, this step asks you to reflect on how and why things happen the way they do and what this means for the person who is caught up in events beyond her/his control. You may ask yourself about the nature of good and evil. Why do bad things happen to good people in this case, innocent children? You may call into question your notions about God or reaffirm your faith in a Higher Power. Your answers to these questions will be highly individual, as has been the development of your new self.

You need to organize the thoughts, feelings and information you have gathered during your recovery into a consistent and unified concept that will stay with you for the rest of your life, so that, when old doubts arise, you can return to it to explain to yourself what the abuse really meant. As such, your explanation will serve to anchor you when you are buffeted by the challenges and opinions that will inevitably be voiced by some around you.
© The Norma J. Morris Center, San Francisco, California