|What is ASCAA?
Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Anonymous (ASCAA) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from the abuse and traumas of their youth. The only requirement for membership is a desire to recover and heal. There are no dues or fees for ASCAA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. ASCAA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. ASCAA is a spiritual program based on the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are grateful to AA for this gift which makes our recovery possible. Our primary purpose is to recover from the abuse and trauma of our youth and help other adult victims to heal from theirs.
Who can belong to ASCAA?
Any adult who seeks recovery and healing from abuses and trauma in childhood, including sexual assaults, violent or physical abuse, severe emotional traumas or through neglect, may belong. The only requirement for membership is a desire to recover and heal. Our fellowship is open to women and men, regardless of age, race, religion, ethnic background, marital status or occupation. We welcome members of any sexual identity, whether they are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual or transgender.
No one need belong to any other 12 Step program nor any spiritual or religious group to belong to ASCAA. We come from every walk of life and are of all ages and experiences. If you wish to heal from the abuse and trauma of your youth, you're in the right place !!
A design for living that really works !
We'll closely model our program of healing and recovery after the AA experience.. which has been modified and adjusted many times in the past to address many other specific life-problems. The Big Book describes the program as "a design for living" that really works.. and works when applied to any number of situations.
An incomplete list of groups that have borrowed the AA program would include Al-Anon and Alateen of course, but also Co-Dependents Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Survivors of Incest Anonymous and many, many more. There are over 50 such organizations: 12 Step Programs
We have found there are many adult child abuse survivors, already on their healing journey, who've included one or more of these 12 Step programs in their process of recovery.. so right from its launch ASCAA will benefit from their experience, strength and hope.
Attending ASCAA meetings starts us on a new way of life. While the ASCAA fellowship supports our recovery, the actual work of recovery is described in the Twelve Steps. Meetings are forums for learning how to integrate the steps into our lives. Working the Twelve Steps leads to a spiritual transformation that results in sustainable relief from the abuse and trauma of our youths. When we start attending meetings of ASCAA, many of us are surprised to meet people who are enjoying life and experiencing relief from the painful history of their lives. [Listening to other members share about their recovery, we gradually realize that, in order to make the same kind of progress, we need to do whatever it takes to effect this recovery.] We have learned from hard experience that we cannot achieve and maintain recovery if we aren’t willing to change our way of life, but if we can honestly face our problems and are willing to change, the Twelve Steps of ASCAA will lead to an awakening that allows us to live a new way of life according to spiritual principles. Taking the steps allows fundamental change to occur and be sustained in our lives. They are the foundation of our recovery.
The Twelve Steps of ASCAA
We admitted we were powerless over the abuse and trauma of our youth -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other still-suffering adult survivors of child abuse, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
These steps are the heart of our program. They contain a depth that we could hardly have guessed when we started. As we work them, we experience a spiritual transformation. Over time, we establish a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves, each of us coming to an understanding of a Higher Power that is personal for us. Although the steps use the word “God” to indicate this Power, ASCAA is not affiliated with any religion, creed or dogma. The program offers a spiritual solution to our recovery, without requiring adherence to any specific set of beliefs or practices. The path is wide enough for everyone who wishes to walk it.
The [revised] Ottawa Promises
Through a renewed Relationship with God/our Higher Power, the healing force of recovery will take hold in our hearts. By giving ourselves over to God/our Higher Power and working our program, our lives will become manageable and we will be restored to sanity. We will receive the inner strength and support needed to face our anxieties and fears, and to deal with the painful feelings of our recovery.
[Relations with Others will improve as we learn to respect our and others boundaries and allow ourselves and others the freedom to be themselves. Reaching out in trust and connecting with others will come easier, dispelling or sense of isolation and loneliness.]
Relating to Ourselves, self-absorption will give way to self-discovery; secrecy to honesty; feelings of unworthiness to dignity; and shame to grace. A restored integrity will guide our behavior. We will feel more alive and regain a sense of happiness. We will hear ourselves laugh again and rediscover play. We will embrace change and will grow.
A Spiritual Awakening will free us for recovery. An awareness of being guided by a Higher Power and supported by caring friends will sustain us. Regret for the past and worry for the future will give way to living for today. We will open ourselves to the possibilities of a life worth living- our life.
Are these extravagant promises? WE THINK NOT! We have seen them fulfilled. They are ours, if we want them and work for them.