12 Steps for Survivors of Sexual Assault

1. We admitted we were powerless over the past and as a result, our lives have become unmanageable. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)

 

2. We came to believe that God could restore us to wholeness, and realized His power can always be trusted to bring healing and wholeness in our lives. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”  (Philippians 2:13)

 

3. We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God, realizing we have not always understood His unconditional love. We chose to believe He loves us, is worthy of trust, and will help us understand Him as we seek His truth. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”  (Romans 12:1)

 

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, realizing all wrongs can be forgiven and renouncing the lie that the abuse was our fault. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)

 

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of the wrongs in our lives, including those acts perpetrated against us as well as those wrongs we committed against others. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  (James 5:16)

 

6. By accepting God’s cleansing, we renounced our shame and were entirely ready to have God remove all our distortions and defects of character. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”  (James 4:10)

 

7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings, including our guilt.  We released our fear and submitted to Him. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9)

 

8. We made a list of all persons who had harmed us and became willing to seek God’s help in forgiving them, as well as forgiving ourselves.  We realized we have also harmed others and became willing to make amends to them. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  (Luke 6:31)

 

9. We extended forgiveness to ourselves and to those who have harmed us, realizing this is an attitude of the heart, not always confrontation. We made direct amends to those we had harmed, except when to do so would injure them or others. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”  (Matthew 5:23-24)

 

10. We continued to take personal inventory as new memories and issues surfaced.  We continued to renounce our shame and guilt, but when we were wrong, we promptly admitted it. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”   (1 Corinthians 10:12)

 

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God and our understanding of His character, praying only for knowledge of His truth in our lives, His will for us and the power to carry that out. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”  (Colossians 3:16)

 

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as we accepted God’s love and healing through these steps, we tried to carry this message of hope to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs, claiming God’s promise of restoration and wholeness as new memories and issues surfaced. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

 

 

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