Or Is It An Addiction?

Everyone has a need to be in control of the situation, to be in control of things, to be in control of one's life. We hear it every day on television. See it on the commercials, hear it on the radio, don't we? I mean, THAT's The American Way! Isn't it?

Well, in fact, it is even MORE so for the American male. And in fact, in our culture that seems to be what "defines" a male-it's his domain, and he is in charge of all which goes on there. Some say it's part of being a species, that the male rules. And others say that in the house, She rules. In all other things, he does.

It is clear that our society has no clear cut boundaries on these things. And that alone causes many a problem. But more than anything there seems to be an incredible stress on 'suceeding'. Yet most of us do not even know .... At What?

Whereas women fought for their rights, and still struggle against glass ceilings. Men seem to be struggling to find their place in the world where women work AND run the home. It becomes clear that the Road Rage and shootings at schools have a great deal to do with a need to be IN CONTROL. And we don't seem to be moving toward a solution.

So why are we so surprised that Domestic Violence is on the rise too? Some say that it's because of a heightened awareness among women. Others say that there is more now than at any other time in our country. But either way it is defined, one woman per day in our nation is being killed at the hand of one who promised to Love and Cherish her, til he died.....or in today's world.....until SHE does. Domestic Violence is the leading cause of murder in our nation. One woman per state per day.

And yet we have found no real concensus on what works. We have no real answers as to the Why's. But while going through something I NEVER would go through....until it happened to me....I suddenly realized what exactly was going on.

What IS Domestic Violence? That's Easy: It is an Addiction to Power and Control. How do we solve it?

The same way we do other forms of addiction.....a lifelong plan, following 12 simple Steps....and agreeing to work on the greatest need of all....LOVE. As Americans we have a long way to go in realizing that until we love ourselves, no one else can love us either.

The 12 Steps also offer something else. It offers hope FOR the Batterer. And survival for the woman, and their kids. Isn't it better for children to see their father as veering from the path, than as an eternal criminal. He loved you once. He loved them as well. We want to give them hope, and sanity. This view creates that for them.

And it offers a lifelong plan of recovery for those of us who were brave enough to leave, and strong enough to remain away, even if it means leaving the state or region in which all of her family and friends live. Because I am that person.

I left, to find absolutely NO help. There is NO help for a woman to relocate. And when we faced a fire, not one single church or civic organization would help because we were not from the area to which we had relocated. Because shelters are not accessible for so many families who have one or more differently abled individuals. This town is no exception.

Recover is a life long journey. Yours may be a short one. Perhaps you are able to leave and have no scars. I was only married for months. And yet my journey continues to be difficult because we at this time to not recognize that the Children need help as much as the batteree does. That they are affected as severly and yet offered no real treatment.

If your child has asthma for example, or is a male, they are simply not welcomed in shelters, in our nation at this time. Persons With DisABILITIES are not welcomed even though the Violence Against Women Act makes specific mention of the need. The barriers are NOT physical. They exist between the ears and behind the eyes of the shelter staff workers, who suddenly claim to "know" more about the disability than the PWD herself!

There is a need to be in control. We all have that. We must eat, we must drink fluids. We must feed our chidren physically and in every other way. But if we ourselves are needy, we have nothing to give. And if we expect others to fill the void, it can easily lead to ADDICTION. We must learn to REALLY LOVE ourselves. And we must teach our children the same thing. Because behavior is learned. Is that the behavior you want them to see?

Insanity? Or Serenity? Those are our choices! I choose Sanity through recovery.

We CANNOT TAKE CARE OF OUR HUSBAND's emotional needs, we CANNOT LIVE TO MEET THEIR EVERY NEED. And we must be allowed to meet ours as well, and live as individuals as well. He must learn to love himself, and meet his needs before he can meet yours, his, or his children's. And yet we do not teach these skills to our sons, or to ourselves. And all of the studies show that we have much work to do to find a solution to abuse.

But we live IN today. And with that realization we can choose every day to make the decision to give the things we cannot change, up to a higher power, to change the things we must, such as leaving an abuser. And we seek the wisdom to grow, using the Twelve Steps.

There may not be a group near you. In fact, there probably is NOT one. And you may not be in a situation to begin one. But perhaps a friend of yours could. Just tell them that you heard this was a good idea. See if they want to start one. Ask your pastor. Ask the counselor at your kids' school. But you don't need a group to begin DOING the Twelve Steps for the Addiction to Power and Control Known as Domestic Violence. Do it for yourself. Do it because you love your children. Do it because you know that THIS offers hope. And with hope, perhaps one day you will move from the situation you are in now, to a better one. And perhaps he will too.

The Twelve Steps are based on the national movement, and can be found online in many formats. This is just one of many ways it could be written. But the truth is that what is written in YOUR heart, is what will create the change you so badly seek now. You will notice the difference. Your kids will too.

Thank you for reading these pages. Thank you for reaching out for help. Take good care of yourself. And remember to be safe. If you are NOT safe, then reach out for help RIGHT NOW!

Copyright November 4, 1999

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