Sunday, 17 March 2013

And finally, months later, I come to confess myself to myself, my higher power and another human being.

Step five of the narcotics anonymous programme is really just the vocal extension of step four, where we make a moral inventory of our selves, and our condition. In step four we list our resentments: the people who caused them, the details – our all-consuming feelings arising out of these resentments, and most painfully, our role in each of these events that shaped us into our most exquisitely broken selves.

Pain borne out of a realisation that on many occasions, we had no role to play in causing the torment: things happened to us; things were done to us; we suffered losses, degradation, humiliation and abuse that would bare out a mindset primed for the numbing chemicals that would follow in the subsequent decades. I won’t confess to being a victim. Not anymore.

Pain borne out of a realisation that the people who were supposed to protect us never did. Sometimes, out of ignorance – they just didn’t know better. Sometimes, out of the momentum of their own situation, out of their own damage. And sometimes, because they got off on the sadistic degradation of our bodies and souls. I won’t confess to being a victim, of either. I am a survivor – a pithy phrase; a cliché: so often we hear it.

I’ve come to believe that every time we do hear the heartfelt and heart-wrenching cry of identity being reclaimed when a voice says “I am a survivor”, the voice is crying out the naked truth: that somehow, life has fallen short of the mark, and left them damaged, deranged, in a painful miasma as the decision to survive or to die is quelled; then fuelled, energised and then numbed again and again, in an alcoholic, chemical solution that is anything but…

Step five calls on me to confess this history of my life to another person, vocally. To look another person in the eye and say these things: “I was abandoned! I was judged! I was forgotten…”

I was raped.

I was…

I cannot say it a second time; pain and anger – two fists tempered out of pure rage and shame – grip my throat, strangle the words…”I was raped”

Only once. But isn’t that enough? It has been more than 24 hours since I confessed this, and there has, in this short space of time, been absolution absolute for the events and voices of my earlier childhood: a tired mother, aching from a painful divorce; the death of my father; an unwanted stepmother – these I have come to terms with, understood that perhaps while the adults could have handled the situation better, they were really looking out for me – they just didn’t know better.

Only once, that I was raped. But isn’t that enough? It happened when I was 21. It happened when the man I loved not only cheated on me, but forced the object of his sick and afflicted affection onto me, in a vile threesome of drink-fuelled, violent lust. I could have said no – I should have said no. I had the right. But I didn’t have the ability.

I confess this line to my sponsor. I will confess this to the world on my blog. I will confess this to the man I used to love, who all those years ago, was supposed to protect me, and instead, drew me into a situation I could not control, and watched me get raped by another man, while he lay to one side, pleasuring himself.

For him, there can be no absolution, because I believe he does not think he did anything wrong – it was a sexual adventure, and two men aged nearly thirty were seducing a much younger man, fresh out the closet, a man who had nowhere else to turn, because he had made the choice to leave his family against their wishes, to move in with his much older lover. How I wish I was that man again, so that I could make a different choice.

For my former lover, there can be no absolution; it is not mine to give. He will answer to his conscience and  to his higher power, when the time comes. Along the way, he will destroy more lives as he ploughs through innocence and morality like a bull in a china shop.

For the younger me, there is absolution – I finally accept that I had no role – I could not stop what they did to me. They had no right to do what I never asked or wanted them to do.

I absolve myself, of the guilt of my past; and of the pain it caused me.

I absolve myself of holding onto that pain, and in confessing myself to my sponsor, and to the world, I reclaim my life, my freedom, and my future.

© Dave Luis 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Absolute serenity: with my sponsor in Jonkershoek forest, after completing my step 5 confession.
Absolute serenity: with my sponsor in Jonkershoek forest, after my step 5 confessions.


  1. Tears in my eyes. Those 3 words are the hardest to say. And I have infinite respect for you. I hope I can be part of this beautiful journey you are taking. Best of luck & love.

    1. You already are, by helping me bear witness to the confession, and joining me in reclaiming the my life. Your friendship and love are the new currency of my life, I have no more place for the pain and the drugs.

  2. This is the third time I’ve read this and only now managed to get through it completely. Admitting this to the world is such a feeling of defeat to the young man, defeat of not being able to control something that was never yours to control and the regret of knowing perhaps a choice enabled this path to unfold. The anger and betrayal of a lover who was suppose to be protector or guardian but fall short, horribly of that duty. Cant imagine being fresh from the closet and taking that independent step to be who you are and what you want and have it burn you for years later.
    I love how you said yesterday to not cry and be sad for its getting better slowly. Now I can smile through the tears, Now I can see the value of friendship, love and laughter and what a positive change it can bring. Edging close to the year mark and it’s been one helluva ride of discovery through your journey. Thank you for the reality you type and living it daily!!

    1. Sniff. I’ve learned to build a callous over this. It’s been scratched open to write this, and I see the horror anew through the comments of my sister, comments and reactions from friends like you and Latricia…words of wisdom from Dorothy…you know, in my head, I still have moments where I think this cannot be compared to the really horrific and brutal rapes. But that’s just it – there is no scale of increasing evil: all rape always is wrong. Always.

  3. An article that unsubtlely stampedes a host of emotions through my brain. Especially for a quiet Sunday morning in my kitchen 🙂 Dave you should be climbing mountains with that mental fortitude. Inspiring.

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