I never truly knew what “courage” meant while in addictive addiction. I thought I needed courage to try new, exciting, and exhilarating activities that were harmful, destructive, and disrespectful to myself and others. I thought I needed the courage to be better and to do more.
Courage was always something I thought I had. Being in addictive addiction and acting out in addictive ways was not courageous – it was self-will run riot. I was a total mess and because of denial, I couldn’t see it for myself.
I was so lost in the pursuit of love, safety, and belonging – I was chasing a false high and reality. Today, I still pursue love, safety/security, and belonging but in healthy ways.
Today, I have the courage to say “no” when someone attempts to cross a boundary. I have the courage to try new, healthier behaviors, like online dating without attaching having sex as an immediate outcome.
I also have the courage to stand up and state my truth to people in my new book, I Just Wanted Love: Recovery of a Codependent, Sex and Love Addict. I am amazed how many people have written about the powerfulness of my book. I recognize that by writing it and publishing it, I have been courageous. I am no longer scared of who I was, who I am, or who I will become. I know that I am perfectly imperfect and I am okay with that.
I know now that I am a courageous person. I have the courage to be D.J. one-hundred percent of the time.
I am forever grateful to all of you for being a significant support.
Welcome to Journey On. I am D.J. Burr, the host and executive producer. I am a licensed behavioral addictions specialist and bestselling author of "I Just Wanted love - Recovery of a Co-Dependent, Sex and Love Addict," available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.
This podcast is for male survivors of sexual abuse and assault who want to experience a life worth living beyond a tragic past. I'm a survivor, just like you and I know the complexity of healing from trauma. I also know the joy that comes from the healing process. Hear our stories and share your own. You are not alone. You too can breathe deep and Journey On!
I encourage you to visit the Journey On website www.journeyonpod.com. There you will find a link to sign up for my recovery journey newsletter, learn about my weekend recovery events for male survivors and my online recovery coaching services for male survivors. If you have questions, concerns or comments or would like to be on the show, email me at email@example.com.
Journey is on social media. Tweet us at JorneyonPod. Find us on Instagram and Facebook at Journey On Podcast.
Thank you for joining me for this very first episode of Journey On (Listen Here). Journey On is inspired by my own experience with sexual abuse and assault. Each week, I'm going to bring to you stories of hope and recovery.
This week in our very first episode, you will hear my own story. The material you hear today may be hard to listen to. I advise discretion and the use of self-care tools as needed. Take what you like and leave the rest.
I grew up in Marietta, Georgia. I lived in a home with my mother, her husband at the time (my stepfather), my younger sister, and my younger brother. I was oldest, and I was responsible for taking care of what seemed like everyone in the house. I used to get my sister and brother ready for school, I would take care of them when they got home from school. I would cook dinner, I would do homework. My mom wasn't home very often, because she was often out doing work. She had a full-time job, she had a part time job. And she was the primary breadwinner in our family.
My step dad who is an alcoholic, he in my opinion didn't do much to take care of the family. He wasn't really a parent. The only time that he tried to discipline us kids was when, you know, we were interfering with something that he wanted to be doing. It wasn't because we had done something bad, or said something bad. Or because we brought home bad grades. It was just because maybe we were in the way. We are interfering with his drinking and hanging out on the front porch with this friends. And I fought a lot.
He would often scream and yell at me, and I would scream and yell at him. It was just not a healthy dynamic. I didn't respect him as a person or as a parent. And that caused a rift between my mother and I. She and I fought too. You know, she didn't like the fact that my stepfather and I fought, and I didn't like the fact that they fought. They fought like cats and dogs, and I would interject.
When they were fighting, you know, part of me believes that was because I thought it was my responsibility to take care of her and my siblings. Whenever I would interject, it seemed like my mom would get mad at me because I was interjecting into adult problems, and so she and I would have conflict. And so, it didn't feel safe in my house, I didn't feel safe. I didn't feel loved in my house. You know, I felt the door. I felt ashamed, I felt guilt, felt fear. It was challenging. You know, I would go off to school and come home with good grades and accolades from my teachers. And whenever I would share that with my mom, it was almost like it was expected of me, so there really wasn't any additional, like praise or support. It was somewhat like an okay, good, move on. It was shitty.
You know, I grew up in this neighborhood where there were a lot of low income families. I would say all of them were low income. But for some reason, it seemed like we were on the top of the food chain because my mom had a good job. She made good money, but we just didn't make enough. And as a kid, not really understanding how you don't make enough. But you’re perceived to make more than anyone else, it didn't make a lot of sense to me.
But you know, looking back I can see that, you know, just because my mom had a couple extra hundred bucks a month doesn't mean that we were living in a life of luxury. You know we did suffer, we did struggle to put food on our table at times. We did struggle with paying rent. We were on food stamps, we got other government assistance. There were occasions when on Christmas we would get donations from churches, and other organizations to help give us kids something to look forward to on Christmas Day. And I think my mom did the best that she could. You know, she had an alcoholic husband, they fought. So, there was a lot of domestic violence. And I don't think that she recognized at the time how damaging that environment was to us kids, and particularly to me as the oldest. He wasn't my father, he didn't act like a father. I think he was supposed to be a stepfather, but that didn't really work out well for us. I hated him. And there were times when I would admit that I hated my mom. And those were times when she and I would fight, probably the worse. I don't think that was easy for her to hear, and it wasn't very easy for me to say.
I grew up expecting to be hurt and not protected. And I think that's what left me vulnerable. It left me vulnerable, and left me at the mercy of abusers. You know, I grew up in a household with an abuser (my stepfather), and at times my mother was abusive. And so, I didn't respect adults. I didn't trust adults, not even with some of the most important information in my life. You know, I knew I was gay as a young kid, and I didn't have anyone I could tell that to without fear of judgment or harm coming to me.
This entire website is about me. I think you know just about everything you could ever possibly want to know. If not, here goes: