At the tender age of three, my biological father started molesting me; using me for his pleasure, really. The abuse went on for years and finally ended when I found my voice at the age of 15. I’ve dealt with the pain of it for most of my life. Between the flashbacks, hating myself, self-abuse, feeling worthless and alone, and a twelve-year struggle with sexual addiction, it’s been a battle to stay whole and alive. I’ve tried very hard to not let the abuse be the “thing” that defines me, but it has been a difficult struggle.

For years and years, I held onto this “secret” part of me; that part of me that wanted to be loved and held and safe, but instead manifested itself into a sexual addiction and a bevy of lies. Even though I had told people about the abuse, it was easier to keep secret the shame I felt, while continuing to lie to myself and others about what those secrets were doing to me.

The biggest hurdle was getting over the victim mentality I carried around with me. Being a victim was a necessary aspect of my recovery, both from the abuse and the sexual addiction, but it wasn’t a state I needed to be in forever. I had to find a way to get past that way of thinking and into the mode of survivor. I had to allow myself to remember what he did, even if I was afraid, so I could deal with the pain and come out whole on the other side.

Part of my journey to healing was through journaling. I found a great site online and let it all pour out. Because I had already labeled myself a sex addict, I initially wrote about the sex act, itself. I guess I thought it was “cool” to write about all the sex I was having. It only took a week to realize how ridiculous that really was. I read the words I had written and felt kind of nauseous; I was sad about how I portrayed myself. See, regardless of my behavior, I knew deep down that I was a good, kind, compassionate, and loving person, and not only a sex addict. I realized that to glorify the disease would be to simply feed into all the misconceptions already out there. I realized I was a sex addict because of the abuse, and not because I was an immoral slut, and it was then I started telling my story.

My real story is about a girl who endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of her biological father and the adult who survived to tell about it. It was difficult in the beginning, but I just let myself write. I knew I was completely anonymous and could say whatever I wanted, so I did. It was pretty liberating.

I wrote about sex, childhood abuse, relationships, fear, my own paranoia, having hope, and overcoming obstacles. For me, it was as if I were finally free to just be myself, even though no one knew who I was.

The anonymity an online journal afforded me made a huge difference in what I wrote about and the words I chose. I wasn’t afraid that bio-dad would find the pages and kill me like he threatened all those years. I wasn’t afraid to be that scared little girl I regularly hid from my boyfriend. I wasn’t afraid to show my vulnerabilities because I knew no one could use them against me. I was anonymous, and free to say whatever I felt. All the rage, anger, pain, sadness, depression, and bad choices I’ve made came out and helped rid me of some of the shit I was holding onto.

After two years of journaling, I felt like a new person. I knew that the sex addict was gone and a new ‘me’ had emerged. I am still on a path of discovery, but know the former me no longer has the control she once did.

The next phase of my journey is telling my story to you. I’ve contemplated this book again and again, and wondered how much of myself I should reveal. Because I now know how important it is to be completely honest, I’ve decided to include many of the journal entries I wrote during that two year period. Yes, it’s hard to imagine the number of people who will read this book, my name included, and KNOW what I did and who I was then, but it’s important. If I want to help affect change, I have to be willing to lay out my soul for your review; I have to be honest in order to squash the secrets and the shame. My hope is that you get a good understanding of where my head was and how I got through it to the place I am now.

I guess what I want most is for you to learn from my experiences and understand that you’re not alone. Yes, we do some stupid things and put ourselves in risky situations, but those things are not a true reflection of who we are inside. Who we are on the inside is magnificent, and worthy, and loving, and unique. Embrace it and let the journey begin.