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Solutions - Statement Of Healing
Max's Statement of healing

    My journey to healing from suffering sexual abuse took me a long time. Seriously ...too long. This is the majority of the reason why I'm so eager to help you so that your healing does not have to take so long. Collectively, we now have a better understanding and superior literature on this subject. Please visit all of the links included in this website to access some of this excellent literature and the guidance that it offers. Sometimes, people become confused between their need to heal from the experiences of sexual abuse and their confusion about their own sexual identity. These are two very different topics. We now have specialist therapists who can help you get clarity about which topic you are pondering. Maybe you just don't have proper information about a healthy sexual life. It would be good for you to learn the healthy information. Follow the links to this healthy information. I honor your courage. Keep it up! 

Solutions - Incest Survivors
Survivors of incest anonymous

     Thank you for coming to this section of my website. This section is for the 12-Step Fellowship called, SIA - Survivors of Incest Anonymous. SIA defines "incest", very broadly, as a sexual encounter initiated by any person that betrays a child's trust. One area of knowledge that will be helpful to you is that here, in Nashville, Tennessee we have a very strong support system of meetings and therapists for victims of sexual abuse. Following this opening note from me, I will include several sets of information: "An Introduction To SIA", "SIA Newcomer's Meeting", and an updated list of where the Nashivlle, Tenn. area SIA meetings are located. You can locate "Max endorsed CSAT Therapists" to find qualified specialized therapists that can help the healing and thriving for victims of abuse. SIA's World Service office is  located at PO Box 190,  Benson, MD.  21018-9998. Their website address is:


Please feel free to look up their website. Another 12 step fellowship is called "ACA"--Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families. The main office for "ACA" is ACA World Service Organization, Post Office Box  3216,  Torrance, CA. 90510. Their website is www.adultchild.orgSome of us here in Nashville have found the very natural blending of these two international organizations' basic information. "SIA" has such wonderful understanding of the delimma's and solutions for victims of sexual abuse, and the "ACA" organization has such wonderful insights into the healing systems that entire families and individuals need. 


So, here in Nashville, some of us have found significant strength to merge the excellent literature from both of these two separate international organizations. We are grateful to both and we find that we need both sets of guidance. I know that as a healing, thriving former victim of sexual abuse, I , Max, have received irreplaceable wisdom from both organizations. I probably would not have healed without both--therefore, I offer both to you, the readers of this web site.  -Max Haskett

An Introduction To SIA/ACA [as written by members of Nashville, Tn. SIA/ACA]

    We welcome you to Survivors of Incest Annonymous and hope you will find the hope,  camaradarie and recovery that we have been priviledged to experience. We open and close the meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer:

                  "Loving higher power, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot 
                   change, courage to change the things we can,  and the difference to know the 

    We are a spiritual self-help group of women and men, 18-years or older, who are guided by a set of 12 Suggested Steps and 12 Traditions as borrowed from AA, along with some slogans and the Serenity Prayer. There are no dues or fees. Everything that is said here, in the group meeting, or member to member, must be held in strict confidence. We do not have any professional therapists working in our group. SIA is not a replacement for therapy or any other professional service when needed. The only requirement for membership is that you are a victim of child sexual abuse, and you want to recover.

    We define incest very broadly as a sexual encounter initiated by a family member or by an extended family member that damaged the child. By "extended family" we mean an aunt, uncle, in-law, step-parent, cousin, friend of the family, teacher, coach, another child, clergy, or anyone that betrayed the child's trust.

    We believe we were affected by the abuse whether it occurred to you once or many times, since the damage is incurred immediately.

    We learn in SIA not to deny, that we did not imagine the incest, nor was it our fault in any way. The abuser will go to any length to shift the responsibility to the defenseless child, often accusing the child of being seductive. We had healthy, natural needs for love, attention and acceptance, and we often paid high prices to get those needs met, but we did not seduce our abuser. Physical coercion is rarely necessary with a child since the child is already intimidated. The more gentle the assault, the more guilt the victim inappropriately feels. We also learn not to accept responsibility for the abuse, even if they occurred over a prolonged period of time. Some of us are still being assaulted.

    We in SIA share our experiences, common feelings and hopes. We realizae that we felt we had to protect our caregivers from this horrible secret, as if they were not participants. We felt alienated from the non-abusive family members. Often, greater anger is directed toward them since it is safer to get angry at people we percieve to be powerless. Some of us became caretakers in order to maintain an image of a nurturing family. Our feelings of betrayal by our families are immeasurable. We need to mourn the death of the ideal family that many of us created in our own imaginations.

    In dealing with this pain, it feels as if we are pulling the scab off a wound that never healed properly, and it hurts! However, it is easier to cry when we have friends who are not afraid of our fears. We can be comforted - that's why we are here. Our pain is no longer in vain. We will never forget, but we can, in time, end the regretting that accompanies destructive remembering. We can learn, one day at a time, that we are incest survivors, rather than incest victims.

SIA Newcomer's Meeting:

    Welcome to SIA (Survivors of Incest Anonymous) / ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics). We are glad that you are here. This meeting is designed to help newcomers get acquainted with SIA/ ACA and our meetings. We will review some of the information read in the main meeting and then have a few members who can share some of their journey to SIA/ ACA and why they keep coming back. Most importantly we want to ensure that we provide a safe environment for you and allow you to ask any questions you may have.

    We attend SIA/ ACA meetings to better understand our past and our present, which gives us the ability to improve our future.

    While growing up, Adult Children who are survivors of sexual abuse, alcoholism and other dysfunctional family systems learned:  Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, Don’t Feel.

    When we lived in an abusive or dysfunctional home, no one listened; we were told our feelings were wrong. We took care of other people and neglected ourselves.

    In SIA/ ACA meetings, we break those inaccurate false rules. We talk about what happened then and what is happening now. We feel the feelings we could not feel then and get in touch with our feelings were wrong. We took care of other people and neglected ourselves.

    As we begin to talk, trust and feel, we break the patterns which were necessary to our survival as children but which now prevent us from fully experiencing life.

    Many of us come to our first meeting distressed and in some stage of unresolved grief. We need to understand what happened to us as children. We need to know that there really was and is a problem – that we aren’t just reacting to something we imagined.

    The Twelve Steps of SIA/ ACA help us with the effects of sexual abuse, alcoholism or anyother family dysfunction has in our lives. In SIA/ ACA meetings we find the safety and love to experience what we never allowed ourselves to feel or express before. We trust the people in the meetings to respect our feelings and treat what they say as confidential.

    In SIA/ ACA we learn to lead full lives through the healing that belongs with participation at meetings. We can expect to get in touch with emotions and experiences we have denied – perhaps fear, perhaps anger. We may discover unexpressed love. We hope you will join us. The only requirement for joining this group is the desire to recover from the effects of family dysfunction. Most of us identify with “The Laundry List” which I have asked _____________ to read “The Laundry List” traits as well as some additional traits.

    Adult Children who were sexually abused or adult children of alcoholics, addicts, compulsive gamblers, overeaters, debtors, sexaholics, rageaholics, workaholics, abuse-aholics and of other dysfunctional family systems have found help and acceptance in these meetings. If you identify with us, you are welcome to consider yourself one of us. In this group you are welcome to share the confusion and pain that has haunted you. There is enough love here for all of us.

    There are some things that you should know about SIA/ ACA meetings. First and most important, is that I am here for my health and my recovery, so the following are some general guidelines we follow to create a safe meeting atmosphere: 



Lecturing, advice-giving, criticism, feedback, commentary on others, fixing, playing psychotherapist, etc. during the discussion part of the meeting is not permitted. Crosstalk violates the safety of the meeting by recreating the family experience of not being heard, being ridiculed, criticized or belittled. In SIA/ ACA we work toward taking responsibility for ourselves rather than giving advice to others. We do this by sharing our own feelings, for ourselves rather than giving advice to others. We do this by sharing our own feelings, keeping the focus on ourselves. While it may be painful and difficult to do so, and new for most, this is how we get well in SIA/ ACA. This isn’t selfish, it is healthy. It is strongly suggested that the meetings be the safest place to share and that responses or discussion take place on a one-on-one basis outside the meeting.

HOWEVER:  In this newcomer’s meeting, crosstalk and questions are allowed.


    Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever minding us to place principles before personalities. We try to have no gossip or criticism among us. Anonymity allows us a new freedom to share our feelings and to experience an “Identity” apart from a “Label”. “What we hear here, who we see here, let it stay here,” is a good rule to follow in creating a safe place to share our Recovery without fear of gossip or retaliation. I have a right to say that I am in this program and at this meeting, but I do not have a right to say that you are in this program or at this meeting. I can say what I said at this meeting. I can’t say what you said at this meeting. If I’m affected by something you said, I can always process this in a way where I’m still keeping the focus on myself.


    Sometimes we find these meetings disturbing as we get in touch with emotions we have denied ourselves until now. We may feel fear, or anger, or unexpressed love or any other human emotion. Sometimes we feel we belong, and at other times we feel alone and afraid. When we hurt, we cry; even tears from unknown sources are fully accepted here. Sometimes we laugh when we hear stories that parallel our own lives, knowing at last that we are not alone.

Identify With The First Step

    We admitted we were powerless over the abuse and the effects of the abuse and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Are There Any Questions?

    Let’s open the meeting and allow a few members to share their experience, strength and hope.


    That’s all the time we have. Remember, we are each responsible for our own recovery, and the opinions expressed here were strictly those of people who gave them. Take what you like and leave the rest. Some of us have trouble with touching. No one is required to be hugged or touched … you are free to say, “No.”



The Six Suggestions For Ongoing Recovery (ACA  - Adult Children of Alcoholic/Dysfunctional Families (2006), pgs. 571) These six suggestions of SIA/ ACA recovery represent the basics whether we are a newcomer or a member with years in the program. These suggestions work in the first year of recovery or the 20th year. We find them helpful in getting the newcomer to focus on himself.

  1. Stop acting out on food, sex, relationships, gambling, spending, or alcohol/ drugs.

  2. Go to meetings regularly and break the “Don’t Talk” rule.

  3. Get a sponsor and work the Twelve Steps.

  4. Get the ACA “red book.”  Give yourself a break and read it.

  5. Get telephone numbers. Don’t isolate.

  6. Get a Higher Power.

Intimacy Reminder:

   I would also caution you that sharing and receiving intimacy as we have done here can easily awaken the addict/critical voices to confront the honorable healing that is taking place. Please be aware of your feelings and stay safe.


“The Laundry List Of Traits” (ACA  - Adult Children of Alcoholic/Dysfunctional Families (2006), pgs. 5 – 6)

    Since childhood we have carried a wound created by our primary relationship with our parents or family. We were ruptured emotionally and spiritually as children. To survive we lived by the laundry list traits which reject self-love and God. These are the laundry list traits.

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.

  4. We either became alcoholics, marry them, or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.

  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims, and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look to closely at our own faults.

  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves and instead of giving in to  others.

  8. We become addicted to excitement.

  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and rescue.

  10. We have “stuffed” our feelings because it hurts so much. This includes our good feelings such as joy and happiness. Our being in touch with our feelings is one of our basic denials.

  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have very low self-esteem.

  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

  14. We became reactors rather than actors.


Additional Traits (Optional) …

  1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal is.

  2. We have difficulty having fun.

  3. We take ourselves too seriously.

  4. We have difficulty with intimate relationships.

  5. We constantly seek approval and affirmation.

  6. We usually feel different from other people.

  7. We are either super responsible or super irresponsible.

  8. We are extremely loyal even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

  9. We tend to lock ourselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behavior or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over our environment. As a result, more energy is spent cleaning up the mess than would have spent had the alternatives and consequences been examined in the first place.

  10. We think we have more problems with sexuality than the general population.

  11. We tend to look for immediate as opposed to deferred gratification.

  12. We are overly sensitive.


(1.)  An SIA/ ACA member is qualified to host or participate in a Newcomer’s Meeting if he has a SIA/ ACA sponsor and that sponsor has approved his readiness to participate in Newcomer’s Meetings, and hopefully has been regularly attending SIA/ ACA meetings for at least six months.

Solutions - Dictionary Terms
dictionary of understanding

Dictionary of Understanding - First Section

My name is Max and I have divided the dictionary portion of this web page into two distinct sections.  

The first section is located here and has this growing list of terms, phrases, concepts, and words that I have found helpful in the healing journey. This section will not be exhaustive in any respect; rather this initial section of this web page’s dictionary will be a starting place and a general description of the term, or phrase.  

The second section of this web page’s dictionary will be in the Members Only section of this website. I intend to speak strongly and boldly in describing the heart of the terms that have become the most valuable concepts I know in the healing from trauma, abuse, and addiction, into the experiences of surviving and thriving.
I will also invite a number of others that I respect to add their variations and definitions into both of these sections of our "Dictionary of Understanding".

Remember, this entire website is dedicated to persons that have suffered the most with the least amount of support.  It is to them that I write information about the following terms, phrases and concepts.  There are many other ways to describe these terms, but this is how I do it for the purpose of helping persons of big hurt with little resources.  Let me know what you think.  max (mh)

List of Terms/Words:

1.  "Safe"
            I choose the first word in my "Dictionary of Understanding" to be the word "Safe". I do believe the most significant component to healing from sexual abuse and other abuses is the development of safety. Safety involves "shame free" people and situations. It is hard to find them, but it is critical to find some safe, honest, trustable people to share with and be protected by them. A good place to begin is within some of the 12-step fellowships. Find a meeting and just visit it one time. Listen and see if anyone there seems safe to talk to. See if anyone in the room "understands" and has, quite a bit, recovered from their violations. (mh)

2.  "Respect"
            Respect is a gauge to test whether or not some one is treating you correctly. The more someone respects you, the more they will probably honor and hold you in esteem. Respect is not a brief and passing thing. True respect will be given you repeatedly and will last longer spans of time. Some one respecting you can be seen by others and you can ask others to help you "test" whether some one is just pretending to respect you or if they are truly sincere.  (mh)

3.  "Shame Free"
            Shame Free is really a "phrase", but it is so critical that I want to place it here near the beginning of my Dictionary of Understandings. Many people confuse "shame" and "guilt". Guilt is an emotion that follows when someone makes a mistake.  The assumption is that when a person has the knowledge and freedom to make choices with his/her knowledge, that person will therefore be responsible for the result of their choice. Guilt follows a mistake. Self respect, pride, or self esteem would thus follow someone's choice that turned into something honorable and positive.

             Shame is very different. Shame is a misunderstanding of the truth about whom owns the guilt. This web site is especially focused on the dynamics of healing sexual abuse, therefore, I will address these Dictionary of Understandings within the topics of healing from sexual abuse. Shame is what belongs to the perpetrator of abuse, but is many times felt by the victim of abuse. The perpetrator, many times,  falsely convinces the victim that not only is the victim the cause of the abuse, it is the victim's job to carry the feelings of degradedness. To feel shame is to believe that not only was a mistake made, that it is even true that the victim is  indeed "bad", "tarnished", "blemished", "defiled" and now of a "second rate person". Shame makes the victim feel as if their very "essence" is bad. Separating the feelings of honest guilt, from feeling the incorrect feeling of the perpetrators  shame is a critical and central issue. Honorable friends in the 12-step fellowships and honorable therapists/counselors can help you sort out these feelings. Shame free is a wonderful way to live life. It is worth the work and journey to find it.  (mh)

4.  "Integrity"
        "Integrity" is the central target that our healing from trauma is trying to recapture. When people are violated, the struggle becomes whether to take care of our own hurts or to make sure the perpetrator's demands are met. Survival mandates that we try to self protect by making sure the perpetrator won't keep hurting us. So we begin to "please" the perpetrator's needs. Some times we "forget" how to take care of ourselves. Therefore, the process of healing, of becoming a former victim, means we have to relearn how to take care of our own basic needs and boundaries. The task of re-balancing is called the search for our own integrity.  (mh)

5.  "Dignity"
        Our Dignity is that part of us that represents our respect and value.  We are important lives and our lives matter.  Everybody gets to make up their own mind, but for me, I choose to believe that I get my dignity from God, the one I call, THE GREAT GOD OF THE UNIVERSE".  It has been a long journey for me to come to believe that my life is worthwhile.  For a long time I felt like I didn't have any self esteem.  I had to do a lot of individual counseling to come to believe I have dignity.  And as a person of dignity I have come to believe it is my job to expect respect and dignity from others as they treat me with their behaviors.  It is a skill, but you can learn about your dignity also, and to learn how to insist on receiving it from others too.  (mh)

6.  "Innocent"        
        I believe we are conceived and born with "innocence."  What I mean by that is that when we are conceived and born, we have not done anything that would be a reason for which we could be called "guilty".   We have done nothing wrong.  We are innocent.  When those of us that were some how "violated", abused, etc, in our early years, the mere experience of have been violated, makes us as babies, children come to "falsely" believe that we did something wrong and thus we falsely feel "guilty" of something---being that we had such hard and painful childhood.  I insist that we, the little ones that had someone other than us harm us, that we not be the carriers of their guilt.  We are and have always been innocent of their guilt.  Healing is the recovery of that understanding of our original innocence.  The mistakes were their mistakes and therefore they must be the responsible agents to carry the "shame" and real guilt for their deeds.  The heart of good trauma healing counseling helps us separate out such confused feelings.  (mh)

7.   "Quality Self Care"
        30 years ago when I was just entering the world of recovery, I was told I had to become "selfish".  I told them, the ones telling me to become selfish, that I could not do that.  That suggestion seemed wrong.  They kept talking and what they were saying was that I was way out of balance in the taking care of others and nearly totally empty at taking care of myself.  I finally got their point, but I still could not muster the whatever to "be selfish".  So what to do?  I knew they were correct, in that, I was nearly starved for nurture and surely felt completely "empty" inside.  What came to me was that I needed to increase "Quality Self Care" as the solution.  I couldn't become selfish, but I certainly could increase my self care.  Slowly I began to grow up and became more "adult" in the taking care of my own needs.  Time usage, rest, health related activities, dentist topics, etc.  I discovered I could help myself feel better and indeed, be more self responsible.  My depression began to lift and my self esteem matured.  I still consider "Quality Self Care" to be fully significant in my personal daily life.  I found "Quality Self Care" decisions leading to numerous solutions that seemed impossible to achieve.  Not everybody can afford therapy, but everyone can work to improve their own "Quality Self Care".   One more thought about "Quality Self Care".  This is the # 7th term I have listed in this "Dictionary of Understandings".  The previous 6  terms are embedded with in "Quality Self Care".  Safe, Respect, Shame Free, Integrity, Dignity, and Innocent are all part of how and why we can and should treat ourselves with "Quality Self Care". We are worth it, and we are worth the effort to learn to treat ourselves with such respect and dignity.  Think about it.  It was good for me.  (mh)

List of Phrases:

1.  "One Day at a Time"  
            "One Day at a Time" is one of the most famous phrases used in the 12 Step Fellowships.  It was first used in the AA meetings.  "AA" stands for Alcoholic Anonymous founded by Bill W. and Dr. Bob in the 1930's.  It means that many of the things we are trying to do to get better need to be broken down into much smaller efforts.  It means lets set the goal of just focusing on trying to do the better thing just for this one day.  Just one day at a time allows us to stay focused enough to make decisions and choices that can indeed be achieved, especially with some help from some caring people and friends.  (mh)

2.  "Next Right Thing"
        "Next Right Thing" is a focus tool.  Sometimes, maybe many times, we get "overwhelmed" and/or frustrated without clarity of what to do to help ourselves.  Many years ago I began to use the term "I should just do the next right thing".  In those days, the other term used to help stop the feeling of being so overwhelmed was "chunk it down".  Breaking larger tasks down into much smaller pieces.  Pick one tiny piece that can be done soon and it will help "move" the solution along a bit.  Some times we can use the phrase, "one small step at a time".  All these phrases point to the helpful understanding of smaller pieces to focus on in smaller time frames.  Try to get a task down to the size that it can be achieved in the small amount of time that you have right now.  Hopefully, you can give it a try. (mh)

3.  "Fixing Mistakes"
        "Fixing Mistakes" means the efforts to heal the hurts in personal relationships.  Another way to say this effort to heal hurt or broken relationships is to admit mistakes, make apologies, and when full truth is told and understood, we can receive forgiveness when properly and heart felt given.

         Humans make mistakes.  We all make mistakes, and sometimes others we care about feel hurt or betrayed or alienated by our behaviors.  Sometimes our behaviors are misunderstood.  Sometimes we just did wrong things.  When the relationship is a valued relationship, one we certainly want to keep and cherish, we need to find ways to heal the bruises and hurts that happen over time.  When we believe the relationship is worthy of healing, we can make a decision and a choice to tell the truth, own up to the mistake, and tell the other person that we simply made a mistake.  We can be "bigger" than the mistake and make an apology.  It takes courage and choice to say, "I made a mistake. I was wrong.  I am asking for you to forgive me for my mistake".  The other person is therefore, given the opportunity to also chose to honor the "value" of the relationship and to be "bigger" than the mistake and offer words of forgiveness.  Healing and restoration can come into the relationship now.  

          If our mistakes or betrayals are repetitive or routine, that becomes something different and needs to be more deeply understood before forgiveness can be fully provided.  Probably the help of a professional counselor might be helpful at this time.  (mh)

4.   "Mercy Granting"  
            Sometimes the hurt done is so great, and the person that did the hurting will not, or can not make an apology, "Mercy Granting" can be made to allow the person hurt to get freedom from the experience of having been hurt.  " I grant you mercy, not because you deserve it, or because you have honorably asked for it, but simply because I am tired of thinking of you, and tired of feeling hurt by you."  Granting Mercy is like forgiving someone that has done wrong and may not even know it.  Mercy Granting helps the victim become a "former victim".  I will write a lot more about "Mercy Granting" in the "Members Only" section of this web site.  (mh)

List of Concepts:

1.  The following concepts are called "Cognitive Distortions".  
They were coined by Dr. David D. Burns, MD.  in 1989.  We are grateful to him for his clarity and precision of understandings.


  • "All or Nothing Thinking"

"This type of distortion is the culprit when people think in extremes, with no gray areas or middle ground. All or Nothing thinkers often use words like "always" and "never" when describing things. "I always get stuck in traffic!" "My bosses never listen to me!" This type of thinking can magnify the stressors in your life,  making them seem like bigger problems than they may, in reality, be."

  • "Overgeneralization"

"Those prone to Overgeneralization tend to take isolated events and assume that all future events will be the same. For example, an Overgeneralizer who faces a rude sales clerk may start believing that all sales clerks are rude and that shopping will always be a stressful experience."

  • "Mental Filter"

"Those who use Mental Filtering as their distortion of choice tend to gloss over positive events and hold a magnifying glass to the negative. Ten things can go right, but a person operating under the influence of a mental filter may only notice the one thing that goes wrong. (Add a little Overgeneralization and All or Nothing thinking to the equation, and you have a recipe for stress.)"

  • "Disqualifying the Positive"

"Similar to Mental Filtering, those who Disqualify the Positive tend to treat positive events like flukes, thereby clinging to a more negative world view and set of low expectations for the future. Have you ever tried to help a friend solve a problem, only to have every solution you pose shot down with a "Yeah but ..." response? You've witnessed Cognitive Distortion firsthand."

  • "Jumping to Conclusions"

"People do this all the time. Rather than letting the evidence bring them to a logical conclusion, they set their sights on a conclusion (often negative), and then look for evidence to back it up, ignoring any evidence to the contrary. The kid who decides that everyone in his new class will hate him, and 'knows' their only acting nice to him in order to avoid punishment is Jumping to Conclusions. Conclusion Jumpers can often fall prey to mind reading (where they believe they know the true intentions of others without talking to them) and fortune telling (predicting how things will turn out in the future and believing these predictions to be true). Can you think of examples of adults you know who do this? I bet you can."

  • "Magnification and Minimization"

"Similar to Mental Filtering and Disqualifying the Positive, this Cognitive Distortion involves placing a stronger emphasis on negative events and downplaying the positive ones. The customer service representative who only notices the complaints and fails to notice positive interactions is a victim of Magnification and Minimization. Another form of this distortion is known as catasrophizing, where one imagines and then expects the worst possible scenario. It can lead to a lot of stress."

  • "Emotional Reasoning"

"This one is a close relative of Jumping to Conclusions in that it involves ignoring certain facts when drawing conclusion. Emotional Reasoners will consider their emotions about a situation as evidence rather than objectively looking at the facts. "I'm feeling completely overwhelmed, therefore my problems must be completely beyond my ability to solve them," or, "I'm angry with you; therefore, you must be in the wrong here," are both examples of faulty emotional reasoning. Acting on these beliefs as fact can, understandably, contribute to even more problems to solve."

  • "Should Statements"

"Those who rely on 'Should Statements' tend to have rigid rules, set by themselves or others, that always need to be followed -- at least in their minds. They don't see flexibility in different circumstances, and they put themselves under considerable stress trying to live up to these self-imposed expectations. If your internal dialogue involves a large number of 'Shoulds,' you may be under the influence of Cognitive Distortion."

  • "Labeling and Mislabeling"

"Those who Label or Mislabel will habitually place labels that are often inaccurate or negative on themselves and others. "He's a whiner." "She's a phony." "I'm a useless worrier." These labels tend to define people and contribute to a one-dimensional view of them, paving the way for Overgeneralization to move in. Labeling cages people into roles that don't always apply and prevents us from seeing people (ourselves included) as we really are."

  • "Personalization"

"Those who personalize their stressors tend to blame themselves or others for things over which they have no control, creating stress where it need not be. Those prone to personalization tend to blame themselves for the actions of others, or blame others for their own feelings.

                    This is the end of the list of "Cognitive Distortions" From: Burns, David D., MD. 1989

Solutions - Lessons Learned
lessons learned & shared

    My name is Max. My healing has been long and hard. I needed to know things I did not know. I needed teachers to teach, souls to care, guides to guide. I needed help how to get out of hell and get into living life. I needed people that cared enough to send the very best of themselves. I got some of that leadership. More would have helped my journey be less painful and probably of a shorter duration. This is information about healthy living and dysfunctional pain. Stories by people who have lived in both and know the difference. They choose health. They choose it one day at a time.

    I have asked a number of persons to share their wisdom, courage, insights and lessons learned from their honorable journeys and pain. These people have lived the real processes of healing. They have faced their fears. They have cried and they have cried out to God for help. They are what I call "Good People". I am asking a host of these people from the realms of the living and thriving, to offer and share the best of their “lessons learned” for your benefit. Take what you want and leave the rest for someone else. These are real people who have risen above their struggles to sing and to find serenity. These are not "Saints" but, indeed caring, honorable, authentic human beings. I can vouch for each one, and each one has been personally invited, by myself, to share their hearts and souls with you. Thanks for reading and thanks for trying to heal.

I choose my wife, Kathleen, to be the first of this list. She is a gifted writer with a depth of wisdom to share. She is creative and compassionate. She loves teaching and sharing her heart. You will be blessed to read her "lessons learned and shared".

Where is My Heart? by Kathleen Haskett
January 20, 2011

Each day is about the heart finding its way, which might not be easy, if your heart is broken, tucked away in a “safe” place, hidden deep within your psyche, or worse yet, fearfully bound to an unidentified conclusion.Is your heart held hostage? I know mine was for many years, and I am pretty certain that today I still may need to monitor the degree to which my heart feels free.

Dependency claims the heart with a lie, most often bound in place by ropes of fear. (Maybe read that again, or as often as it takes to make perfect sense.) If you were tied up, and screaming at the top of your lungs, anyone within earshot would probably drop everything to come running to your aid. This is the scene inside a wounded body. Fear rivets your cells through recall of ugly sights, possible dangers, historical wrongs, bad smells, and general nastiness. At the mind’s conscious level, we learn to disregard our own internal screams of fear. So, you might not have noticed the familiar cheap perfume, or the tone of voice similar to your perpetrator’s voice, the time of day when things would go wrong historically -- and so on. But your cells notice.

For nearly two days after the Tuscon shooting, I did not attend to my screaming cells. I watched the news, and felt sad about the entire situation, but I remember feeling shocked to see the judge who had been killed talking with some Senate committee about some bill. It was a tape of course. But I remember thinking, “If I were that man’s wife or daughter, I would hate seeing his picture - so alive and intelligent - on t.v. right now.” I think that’s when my cells began to scream their loudest. My body remembers the terrible grief that shot through me when I heard the words,”Your father’s been killed.” [I was 21 -- he was almost 51 when he was murdered.]


That was in 1968, and 43 years ago. I don’t do big pieces of work over his death anymore. What happened instead was my body remembered, and I went into hypervigilance -- a state I lived in for more than thirty years before I knew what it was. Two days after Tuscon, I remember warning someone on the phone, “Please don’t take my level of intensity personally. I’ve slipped back into a state of hypervigilance since the shooting in Tuscon. I’m watching it, and hoping it only lasts a couple of days.” After I explained it two or three more times, I was able to find a physically, spiritually, and mentally calmer place from which to conduct my daily business. My body did what it had to do.  It wasn’t wrong; it just needed more information -- and oxygen. I did a lot of deep breathing, and letting myself know, “this is just a memory.”

I use this understanding in my body to relate to what others  require to heal from violent acts against them. The state of alert is more than an alarm. When healed, it provides a platform for both empathy and intuitive helping, once this hypervigilant state is recognized for the value it had at one time, and now is truly no longer needed. I am so accustomed to using my own body’s understanding to understand the needs of others, that I seldom feel compelled to put all this into words, or to explain, what I’m experiencing. But if this template becomes -- inflamed, let’s say -- the way it did when Congresswoman Giffords and the others were shot, I have my own heart monitoring to do.

In a flash, my heart had been taken hostage (temporarily) by resident body memory. When my father was killed, my heart splintered into a million little pieces, and God and I had to reconstruct a new one. I think this one is even better than the one I first started with, but it has a few programming glitches that send it away, off on a dead run, overly-anxious, or of course (and again) co-dependent.

Each day, the heart walks the journey. Some days the path is filled with sweet smelling flowers, the heart stops to enjoy. Now and then, a surprise reminds me of where I’ve been, and even how far I’ve come. The heart hiccups briefly. I breathe. I sigh. I wait for the heart to catch up with me, so it can continue to co-lead the way.

Solutions - Literature Gifts
gifts from literature

I, Max, have selected a number of books and articles that I believe are of quality and beneficial to a large number of persons that might seek information from this website. I will be asking different people to give a gift to you by writing a brief summary of these articles, books and websites. Each book is available through most major bookstores or online book seller websites. Articles will contain information on how to obtain a copy for yourself. Websites include a link for access.  


 Max's Primary Recommendations:


  •  Adult Children of Alcoholic/Dysfuntional Families; First Edition, 2006 

  •  The Language of Letting Go (Melody Beattie)

  •  Beginning to Heal: A First Book for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (Ellen Bass & Laura Davis)

  •  A Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps (Patrick Carnes)

  •  The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (John Gottman)

  •  Why Marriages Succeed or Fail (John Gottman)

  •  Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting (John Gottman)

  •  What am I Feeling? (John Gottman)

  •  When a Man You Love was Abused (Cecil Murphey)

  •  If the Man you Love was Abused (Marie H. Browne & Marlene M. Browne)

  •  Disclosing Secrets:  When, to Whom, and How Much to Reveal (Deborah Corley & Jennifer Schneider)

  •  Facing the Shadow:  Starting Sexual and Relational Recovery (Patrick Carnes)

  •  Your Sexually Addicted Spouse:  How Partners Can Cope and Heal (Barbara Steffens & Marsha Means)

  •  The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Malcolm Gladwell)

  •  A General Theory of Love Lewis (Amini & Lannon)


Other Book Recommendations:


  • Addiction and Grace (Gerald May)

  • Adolescent Sex and Love Addicts (Eric Griffin-Shelly)

  • Adult Children: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families (John Friel & Linda Friel)

  • After the Affair (Janis Abrahms Spring)

  • Boundaries (Henry Cloud & John Townsend)

  • Boys Adrift (Leonard Sax)

  • Coming Out Straight (Richard Cohen)

  • Crisis in Masculinity (Leanne Payne)

  • Deceived (Claudia Black)

  • Desires in Conflict (Joe Dallas)

  • Drama of the Gifted Child (Alice Miller)

  • Every Young Woman's Battle (Shannon Ethridge)

  • Facing Codependence (Pia Melody)

  • Facing Love Addiction (Pia Melody)

  • False Intimacy (Harry Schaumberg)

  • Four Pillars of Man's Life (Stu Weber)

  • Girls on the Edge (Leonard Sax)

  • Healing the Masculine Soul (Gordon Dalbey)

  • Healing the Shame that Binds You (John Bradshaw)

  • Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction (Patrick Laaser)

  • How to Be an Adult (David Richo)

  • I Don't Want to Talk About It (Terrence Real)

  • In the Grip of Grace (Max Lucado)

  • Inner Voice of Love (Henri Nouwen)

  • Life of the Beloved (Henri Nouwen)

  • Living with Your Husband's Secret Wars (Marsha Means)

  • Love is a Choice (Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth & Paul Meir)

  • Love Sick (Sue William Silverman)

  • Mending a Shattered Heart - A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts  (Stephanie Carnes (editor) & various experts)

  • "Mom, sex is NO big deal!" (Sharon A. Hersh)

  • My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers)

  • No Stones (Marnie Feree)

  • Out of the Shadows (Patrick Carnes)

  • Power to Choose (12-step workbook)    

  • Recovery Devotion Bible (NIV) 

  • Relationship Cure (John Gottman)

  • Restoring the Pleasure (Clifford Penner & Joyce Penner)

  • Reviving Ophelia (Mary Pipher)

  • Sacred Marriage (Gary Thomas)

  • Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (Big Book) 

  • Sexaholics Anonymous, "The White Book" 

  • Sexual Anorexia (Patrick Carnes)

  • Sexual Healing Journey (Wendy Maltz)

  • Sexual Identity:  The Guide to Living in the Time Between the Times (Lori Burkett & Mark Yarhouse)

  • Shattered Vows (Debbie Laaser)

  • Silently Seduced (Kenneth Adams)

  • Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality (Doug & Wilson Rosenau and Michael Todd)

  • Talking to Your Kids About Sex (Mark Laaser)

  • The Betrayal Bond (Patrick Carnes)

  • The Masculine Journey (Robert Hicks)

  • The Passionate Marriage (David Schnarch)

  • The Power of Two (Susan Heitler)

  • The Problem with Porn (Jill Manning)

  • The Shack (William Young)

  • The Voice of the Heart (Chip Dodd)

  • Wild at Heart (John Eldridge)

  • Wild Men to Wise Men (Richard Rohr)

  • Women, Sex, and Addiction (Charlotte Kasl)

  • You Don't Have to be Gay (Jeff Konrad)

  • Cognitive Distortions,  1989 (David D.  Burns, MD.)

Web Resources:

Solutions - CSAT Therapist
how to find a csat therapist

How to find a "CSAT" Therapist in the Nashville, Tennessee Area:

"CSAT" therapists are specially trained, licensed therapists. Dr. Patrick Carnes, PhD., the founder of "IITAP" (International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals) has developed the certification program required for all therapists wishing to treat in these specialties. To discover qualified "CSAT" therapists in the greater Nashville area, contact  "IITAP" at

Dr. Patrick Carnes, PhD.

Dr. Patrick Carnes is a man who I greatly admire. For over 40 years he has traveled our country, and throughout the world, teaching professional therapists the in-depth skills of how to therapeutically lead people of abuse and trauma to heal from their pain. He is the founder of IITAP - International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals. Dr. Carnes is a significantly important person in my life and a critical teacher and mentor. It was in the mid 1980’s that I heard Dr. Carnes describe various parts of addiction and the beginnings of possible paths to healing and thriving. I have followed many of them and I am blessed for it. He has forged the path of certifying the quality and depth of adequate specialized therapy for helping people of trauma and addictions.  

He has trained and certified me.  He has trained hundreds of therapists, world wide, to be CSAT therapists and/or CSAT supervisors. CSAT Supervisors oversee the monitoring the quality of licensed therapists seeking to receive the quality specialty certification of becoming a CSAT therapist. 

More information on Dr. Patrick Carnes, Ph. D. 

Dr. John Gottman, PhD.


    Dr. John Gottman has, for 40+ years, focused directly on the discovery and communication of what makes for a meaningful and significant marriage. Out of the mystery of why so many people were divorcing and most without clarity of reason why, Dr. Gottman began intense research seeking the answers to such marital pain. I respect his dedication and his tenacity to stay the course until his research pointed to common sense answers. He interviewed thousands and thousands of spouses about their pain and their joy. He correlated all the research information into more and more refined summaries until he was able to grasp the understanding of why some couples share life times of compatible living and others have a positive relationship for a while and later on have so much heart ache.

    I honor his findings which he has condensed into his writings and summarized on his web pages. I encourage you to go to his website and see and hear his wisdom. He followed up his discoveries about healthy marriages with detailed studies as to how to help raise children and teenagers within healthy families. His books, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work", "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail", "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting", and especially his best work, (in my opinion) "What am I Feeling?", are all excellent. 


My name is Max and I have also spent 40+ years seeking solutions to marriages, families, and raising children. My opinion is that Dr. John Gottman provides the best information I know about helping people live healthy marriages and families. I encourage you to seek out his wisdom.

More information on Dr. John Gottman:

Solutions - 12 Step Program
12 Step Fellowships

    The heart of this "" website is to especially be helpful to persons that were forced to suffer sexual abuse, or desire to be respectful and helpful to someone they know that was harmed by sexual abuse. Many other topics and 12 Step Fellowships can be beneficial, yet secondary to this website.

    All 12 Step Fellowships owe honor and respect to Bill W. (William Wilson) and Dr. Bob (Dr. Robert Smith) and the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) 12 Step Fellowship. I have included the AA "Promises" and their local (Nashville) phone number as our starting point. Almost all victims of sexual abuse know too much about "dysfunctional families". I give exceptional appreciation to the ACOA Fellowship (Adult Children of Alcoholics)/Dysfunctional families, and now they are calling themselves the ACA Fellowship. Nashville, Tennessee is blessed with a number of ACA meetings. The "ACA Laundry List" and contact number have also been listed here for your consideration.

    The SIA (Survivors of Incest Anonymous) Fellowship seriously helped me, Max, save my life, three decades ago, and I am forever grateful for their guidance to face, and heal from, the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. In Nashville, at this time in the SIA development, we have seven to nine men's SIA meetings, with a small number of SIA meetings for women. We are working to help grow the women's meetings. I, Max, have included the Nashville SIA contact phone number and the beautiful and gentle version of the 12 step process to healing and THRIVING. Also, I am asking several persons who personally choose to share their "VOICE" of victory, truth, and THRIVING. 

The AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) Promises | AA Nashville - P: (615) 831-1050

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.

They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

They will always materialize if we work for them.

The ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) "Laundry List" | ACA Nashville - P: (615) 584-4243

These are some characteristics we seem to have in common due to being brought up in an alcoholic household:

We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.

We either become alcoholics, marry them, or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.

We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. This enables us not to look too closely at our own faults.

We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.

We become addicted to excitement.

We confuse love with pity and tend to "love" people who we can "pity" and "rescue".

We have stuffed our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (denial).

We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

Alcoholism is a family disease and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of the disease even though we did not pick up the drink. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

(Adapted version) Tony A., 1977 Reprinted from WSO Newcomer, Page 2, with permission from Adult Children of Alcoholics, World Service Organization, P.O. Box 3216, Torrance, CA 90510 310/ 534-1815.

The Twelve Steps of SIA (Survivors of Incest Anonymous) | SIA Nashville - P: (615) 584-4243

1. We admitted we were powerless over the abuse, the effects of the abuse, and that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a loving higher power, greater than ourselves, could restore hope, healing and sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a loving higher power, as we understood that to be.

4 Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves, the abuse, and its effects on our lives. We had no more secrets.

5. Admitted to a loving higher power, to ourselves, and to another human being our strengths and weaknesses.

6. Were entirely ready to have a loving higher power help us remove all the debilitating consequences of the abuse and became willing to treat ourselves with respect, compassion and acceptance.

7. Humbly and honestly asked a loving higher power to remove the unhealthy and self-defeating consequences stemming from the abuse.

8. Made a list of all the people we may have harmed (of our own free will), including ourselves and our inner child(ren), and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people where ever possible, except when to do so would result in physical, mental, emotional or spiritual harm to ourselves or others.

10. Continued to take responsibility for our own recovery and when we found ourselves behaving in patterns still dictated by the abuse, promptly admitted it. When we succeed, we promptly enjoy it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with ourselves and a loving higher power as we understood that to be, asking only for knowledge of it's will for us and the power and courage to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other survivors and practice these principles in all our endeavors.

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