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We welcome submissions of brief testimonials from WOR/DOR alumni that can inspire other survivors who are considering whether to attend a healing retreat. We also welcome brief testimonial submissions from allies – partners, children, parents, friends, family members – offering feedback concerning how your loved one has benefitted from or changed as a result of attending a WOR/DOR. If you have any questions or for submissions, contact Jim Struve.

You all were a life raft to me while I was drowning - Jeff N.   

After years of engaging in negative behaviors, I understand that change (and recovery) are gradual. The WOR was like another stone placed on the pile that will eventually form a sturdy wall between my past and present.

Building a wall doesn’t mean that I want to (or even could) forget the past. What was done to me is as much a part of who I am as the color of my hair or eyes. Realistically I can’t prevent my past from affecting my present. There are times (and there always will be) when I feel unsafe, when I want to disappear, when I feel permanently damaged and unworthy of love.

But the WOR helped me see that I don’t have to let the past undermine or distort the present. Building a wall means that I arrive at a point where I feel compassion for myself, where I have a capacity to feel joy and freedom, to form and maintain positive, mutually supportive relationships, where I can experience emotional intimacy and trust. Although recovery is gradual, the WOR was genuinely transformational in helping me arrive at this point of understanding. I can now look forward to the future with optimism and a relish for life. Thanks to the WOR I can see that I am so much more than just a survivor. - Ralph – Age 62 - Hope Springs 2019 WOR Alumnus

Overly nearly thirty years of therapy and 12-step recovery I’ve been in lots of rooms with lots of people struggling to find the next right thing. In all that time I have never felt the sense of belonging I felt this weekend.  I am used to being the only guy in the room, or one of only a few, in spaces where survivors gather. 

I was incidentally aware that some men were straight, gay, bi; some fathers, some without children; some cis, some trans; some white-collar workers, some blue-collar, some service-industry, some students, some retired; some gruff and butch in their gender performance, some femme; some never partnered, some partnered for years, some serially partnered and divorced. 

And in this odd melting pot of men I found that there is power in a shared story. Whether or not the details line up among individual stories, there is a shared experience around being a man and surviving childhood sexual assault/abuse that made the weekend powerful in a way I wasn’t expecting. There’s something dramatically healing about standing in a circle with 30 or so guys, telling a piece of my story, and looking around the room and knowing that my fellow men understand, some with sympathetic tears, some with the understated “guy head nod”, some with hand on heart.  I am not often part of a Brotherhood, this weekend I became aware of the healing network of men like me (1500 men have been through recovery weekends over the past years).

I am grateful for my brothers. –Alta 1 WOR

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  I signed up for this retreat on a leap of faith and had to just do it or I knew I would procrastinate and continue to put it off.  I signed up for the WOR 1 in Alta in the end of Sept first of Oct of 2016.  I was scared out of my wits.  I remember sitting in my car at Alta Lodge trying to get the courage to go in and just register.  I knew though that if I registered that I wouldn't be able to back out.  I entered Alta Lodge and immediately had negative self talk kick in as I was working to get my room.  The gentlemen that was helping me was kind and considerate . . .  .    READ MORE

Days & Weekends of Recovery can (and will) become essential and habit-forming because I can finally be with people who ‘get’ what I experienced and suffered because they, truly, have been through the wringer and come out the other side, just like me. You made me proud of myself! That, in and of itself, is a precious gift.
–Toronto DOR (2014)

Amazing! One has to be there to experience it! Definitely helped me grow! DOR brought me to a better place than I was before. I wish MaleSurvivor had of been available at the time I was victimized. But, nonetheless, it is here now, and has been for some time now. –Toronto DOR (2014)

My story is common among survivors, the pedophile who gained my trust only to betray it was a priest. He left me broken and for many years I operated far below my potential, sought comfort in  alcohol, lost friends, 2 wives and more jobs than I can count.Then came group and for years I shrugged off suggestions of a Weekend of Recovery. The idea of it just felt uncomfortable, then as time went on I didn't believe I needed anything beyond group.

Then the first amazing thing happened, I began to trust again and believed the advice my counselor was giving me.

The second amazing thing was my Weekend of Recovery with Jim and his team in Ohio.

Extremely powerful and moving. I don’t think at the point in my recovery I was at that I could have handled a whole weekend. The one day intro was perfect and left me deeply moved. –Toronto DOR

Was exactly what I needed at this space and time in my life. –Alta Advanced WOR

Enlightening, affirming, safe, caring community. –Alta Advanced WOR

The WOR was a heart rending experience that was beautiful to witness. Thanks to all organizers and facilitators. You are doing a mighty work. –Alta Advanced WOR

Each and everyone of the facilitators were invaluable! –Toronto DOR

It was a great experience! It was amazing actually. I chuckled at the end in my small group and asked, "Are you sure this is for abuse survivors? Because man... I got so much out of this weekend!" They chuckled back and agreed that so much of it is applicable on many levels. I find that I am really missing that small circle of support. I will definitely keep in touch. - Hope Springs Level 1 WOR

We had things in common that I wished we didn't, unspoken things we understood about one another. Over time, I did believe that if I worked hard, I could find a way to live a life where my past did not consume me. In our smaller assemblies, we would share our stories with the understanding that we, as individual men, could indeed heal. - WOR Alumnus

A lifeline in time when I really needed one to validate a lot of things when I was a kid really were that messed up & there really are folks who understand & an entire brotherhood of others navigating their own healing paths. I've become more mindful & grateful for the path & on the path as I stand with others who trod with open hearts, reframing much, all while seeking healthy love, peace, & balance while doing no harm. 
- WOR Alumnus

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