The original newsletter (pdf)
- A Reflective Moment: Life’s Integrity
- Rotation C Topic: Possible ASCA Meeting Topic for August: Maintaining a Relationship with a Past Perpetrator?
- ASCA Meeting Ongoing Education Moment: Supporting Your ASCA Meeting
1. A Reflective Moment:
by George Bilotta
(The following brief article is a continuation of our monthly series focused on pondering some of life’s basic questions.)
Life’s integrity resonates with a steadfast adherence to principles for life that we have thoughtfully explored and that we purposefully try to integrate into our daily lives. These principles for life are like compasses and maps that assist us as we proceed through life’s daily activities and experiences. When we feel confused and lost, they help to clarify and redirect. When we feel overwhelmed and challenged, they help us to pause and regain our composure. When we feel hurt and wounded, they are like soothing salves and restoratives.
With principles for life that take on qualities of soundness, wholeness, and completeness, we go forth down the path of integrity. Each of us assumes full responsibility for the integrity of our lives. Commissioned by life, we seek to uncover and to think through sound principles for living a life that will offer guidance during the usual difficulties, hassles, and stresses of daily living. Irrespective of what has happened to us in our childhood past or in our recent past, life calls each of us to fully account for the integrity of who we are and how we go about living our daily lives.
A life overflowing with integrity does not mean that we always have the right answer, that we always do the correct thing, or that we always feel confident that we are proceeding in the right direction. Rather, a life of integrity suggests that we have consciously and thoughtfully, purposefully, and wholeheartedly embraced specific life principles that function as our guides. If we have not been reflective about selecting our principles for life, then we probably have unreflectively adopted and haphazardly picked up many principles for life that may or may not be helpful.
These adopted principles for life may have belonged to our families, to society, to religions, to philosophies of the world, and to educational ideas that may not reflect our uniqueness nor how we strive to be as human beings. We all possess certain principles for life, out of which we function. Some may be born out of reflection and some might be picked up because they look nice or fill a void. No one is immune from the influences that surround us and whose air we constantly breath. If we desire to live life with integrity, it seems that we must first be reflective and thoughtful about the principles by which we want to guide our daily lives.
What seems most important is that our basic principles are thoughtfully and specifically chosen by each of us. Integrity assumes that we solidly stand on our own principles. Integrity assumes that we have not taken the easy way, the unreflective way that results in standing on principles that have been assembled by others or through cultural indoctrination. When we assemble our own principles, we know and we feel confident that they will not cave in while dealing with life’s usual difficulties, hassles, and stresses.
How do we judge that a principle for life is helpful or unhelpful for our lives? At their core, principles for life usually result in nurturing and enhancing life, in opening the heart and lifting the spirit, in forming us into better human beings. They usually encourage flexibility, increased listening, and promote awareness and sensitivity to the people, events, and things around us.
Questions to ponder:
- What are your basic principles for life?
- How did you uncover and think through these principles?
- What are some of the principles that you have haphazardly adopted from others?
- How do you benefit from the core principles of your life?
2. Rotation C Topic:
Possible ASCA Meeting Topic for August:
Maintaining a Relationship with a Past Perpetrator?
One of the more heart-wrenching considerations for adult survivors is whether and how to maintain a relationship with a past perpetrator(s). For most people, this process reveals a horrendous array of potholes. Our perpetrators were almost always family members and, more often than not, parents or foster parents. As an adult, and irrespective of the type of relationship we may have maintained in the past, our choice to expand or limit our relationship with a past abuser remains fluid. Nothing is ever set in cement. We always have a choice, though it is often perplexing, difficult, and painful.
Each of us makes a variety of ongoing decisions based on our particular circumstances and desires. It may be helpful to have a healthy degree of suspicion of people and books that focus on one-size-fits-all answers to this complex question. An ongoing dialogue within ourselves might be helpful in exploring some of the following questions.
Perhaps the first question to struggle with is what do we mean by a relationship? A relationship could simply be a civil, polite acknowledgement of the perpetrator, such as at a family gathering. On the other hand, a relationship might involve investing part of our hearts.
A second set of questions might explore what kind of relationship do I want? What is my realistic assessment of the perpetrator’s ability to engage with me in the type of relationship that I want? What are the parameters of the relationship, i.e., what am I willing and not willing to do to foster the relationship that I want? Given my current knowledge, what scenario of an unfolding relationship appears likely and realistic?
A third set of questions might include whether I might be blind, or that I might be setting myself up for disappointment and frustration. What is the risk/reward equation for this relationship? Am I looking to regain something that I lost as a child in this relationship? If so, as an adult, what are the possibilities of regaining this aspect of the relationship, or has time simply erased its possibility?
Thinking about maintaining a relationship with a past perpetrator raises a wide variety of questions and feelings. Perhaps the bottom line for many of us points to the simple question—is maintaining a relationship with a past perpetrator at this time in my life a healthy or unhealthy endeavor?
3. ASCA Meeting Ongoing Education Moment:
Supporting Your ASCA Meeting
Your ASCA meeting could use your ongoing support in several basic ways. An ASCA meeting just does not happen but rather relies on the goodwill of its participants. We support them by observing the meeting guidelines and backing up the co-facilitators. In a community-based meeting, participants support their meeting through their willingness to take a turn functioning as co-facilitators. Also, supporting the meeting includes giving a reasonable donation to help with the ongoing expenses of a community-based meeting. Provider-based meetings charge a fee between ten and twenty dollars, which covers meeting expenses, including payment to the provider who organizes the meeting and is usually the facilitator or co-facilitator of the meeting.
Another important way of supporting your meeting includes spreading the word. You might have the best support group meeting in the world, but if others do not become aware of the meeting, a productive meeting can soon die off. In addition, if you have the time and energy, you might consider helping one of the new board members by joining a committee. The Morris Center, the creator of ASCA, is primarily a volunteer-oriented organization. Without interested and enthused people coming forward and donating their time, energy, and talents, our organization would soon fold.
The meeting might take a little time each week to discuss the various needs of the meeting and how members can creatively and concretely support the ongoing success of their meeting. Without you, there is no meeting.
Selection editing note
Above, for clarity, the words “secretary” and “co-secretary” were replaced by “facilitator” and “co-facilitator” as the current titles used in ASCA meetings for the same roles.