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Inner Child

A Work in Progress ...

Copyright © 1997 by Scott Abraham

 

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Sometime during the process of recovery, most men discover voices within themselves: the boy they once were, and the pain he must feel. Commonly known as inner child work, such a process can seem awkward and silly, especially to men acculturated to never, ever show vulnerability. To admit such feelings to others is one of the more difficult tasks I ever accomplished. Imagine, if you will, a fortyish, 6'5", 240 pound ex-college basketball player hauling around two teddy bears.

I'm too damn big for anyone to laugh in my face...and I didn't care if they did. Those bears were the key that unlocked the voice of the boy I once was, and hearing that voice saved my life.

Along with millions of others, I can testify to the power of getting to know one's inner child. We invite you to share your tales of getting to know your childhood. E-mail them directly to Scott.

Excerpted from a letter to a friend and fellow survivor, JPG of Utah. 1-25-91.






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Seems I have a new child to take care of: I'm building quite a family here. He's a little guy, a beautiful, loving, handsome boy. And he is scared to the bone. He clings to my neck, hides his head in the crook of my shoulder, and trembles at the touch of the world. He doesn't like me writing to you about him. All he knows about women is that they hurt him for no reason, that they beat him, that they molested him. All he knows about men is that they hurt him for no reason, that they beat him, that they molested him. He has no trust, yet he is desperately lonely and craves attention, as he hides his battered face.

I introduced him to the bears last night, and when Didi dived in to give him a hug, he pushed her away. He let Scotty bear cuddle him because Scotty is a boy. Didi told him the story of how we had adopted each other, and how good and strong and sober I am, and told him that she would like to be his friend when he felt safer. I swear that little bear was crying, looking so sad and rejected. I told him that this was his home now, and he could sleep in my bed. He asked if there was a lock for the bedroom door.

I showed him the cupboards and the refrigerator, and he marveled that there was so much good food. When he lived in the housing projects, when the welfare ran out near the end of the month, Momma would send him out to beg oatmeal or cream of wheat for dinner from the neighbors. He always came home with food. He has his own little world, where he retreats when life is scary.

Today, Scotty showed me the bunker. I called up the image of his foxhole, the shell holes gentled by lush grass, the trees regenerated in new foilage. He led me in a rush down a bare concrete tunnel to his living room, paneled in dark masculine wood and cushioned by thick carpet, and showed me his spaceship control room. He would dream, in his time, of escaping on a rocket, and would tilt a chair back to the horizontal in a corner of the room, and grimace as if the forces of unleashed gravity were pulling down the corners of his face, as he jetted to a kinder, gentler world adults could not find. Today he has a fast destroyer with a control panel worthy of Luke Skywalker, a ship with legs and muscle. He says he hasn't felt like going for a flight in a while, and dust gathers on blinking buttons.

He then led me to his room, neat and clean, each toy stored. As I entered the door slammed shut behind me with the solid sound of bank vault, and bars and locks and braces snapped into place, redundant yet re-assuring. No one would enter as he slept, safe behind solid rock and unyielding metal. In the corner there was a small twin bed, watched over by a B-17 Flying Fortress and a P-51 Mustang, the bomber carefully painted in camouflage green, the fighter resplendent in bare aluminum paint. Scotty invited me to lie down on the bed, and I did, filling the small space, lower legs hanging off the end. I asked Scotty why he slept in so tiny a bed. He told me so there was no room for anyone else to get in while he slept.

I just asked him if I could go back for another look, so I could see and describe his home. He's moved a crib and another small bed, proportioned for little Scotty, into his room. He's got another grown up size chair in the living room, in case you come to visit. The spaceship had always had three acceleration couches for a quick escape. The bunker had only been furnished for one. Scotty tells me that if he has to make a quick getaway, he's taking the kids. There's tie downs on the floor of the cargo hold for me, and if I drink, he says he'll tie me down like the Lilliputians trussed Gulliver, and not let me loose until I've sobered up and survived the hangover.

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