In Reply to: Building a new life and memories at Christmas posted by Donny on December 16, 2002 at 09:15:38:
Funny you should express it that way Donny, building new memories, because that's exactly what I said to my sister in a letter I wrote her just the other day. What brought it about was the first ever Christmas tree I put up at home. Despite being out for 8 years, it's really only this year that I put one up. I realized later that it was symbolic of my coming to terms with my past. As I was putting it up I was filled with happy Christmas memories of my childhood. I decided then that I would do my best to give the same legacy to my child so Iíve made a personal resolve to start building good memories for his sake. I realized I deprived him of the gift of happy memories of Christmas for the first impressionable years of his life.
I was always out on some insane Christmas push and when he was old enough he would come door-to-door with me begging people to buy the tapes and videos. We were so good at denying that we wanted to celebrate Christmas too and be with our families, partake of the goodies, and exchange gifts and became like the poor boy wishfully eyeing a shiny new toy in the toy store window who, after doing a reality check, sniffs, turns away from the window, and sneers "I didn't want that stupid toy anyway".
I will never forget the look on my son's face the very first Christmas we spent outside the fam. I belong to a very large family, and this being the very first Christmas we were spending with them, my son was showered with so many gifts. His eyes were popping out of their sockets with unbelievable glee. And man, he was carousing with his little cousins, so happy, laughing and dancing, he was all over the place. Finally, the child is free to be a child. I was filled with remorse watching him. It broke my heart that I deprived him of so much happiness. But the full significance was lost on me because I was still deep into the cultic thought and behavior patterns. There was still a part of me that didnít approve of all the materialism. I wouldnít even write ďxmasĒ as we were taught that it was like removing Christ from Christmas. This went on for years. Still no tree at home.
This year itís different. I finally embarked on my journey towards recovery. Itís darn hard work. Untruths started to be exposed for the shameless lies that they are. The vicious thought and behavior cycles are slowly being identified and broken. The shackles that had kept me in mental, spiritual and emotional bondage are coming off one by one. Iíve forgiven myself and am beginning to love myself again. Berg has lost his power over me. The road has not been smooth, but thanks in large part to you folks, it has not been lonely. Itís been painful but bearable. I learn so much from the exmem community and it is my sincere hope that all will have good memories of this Christmas, and Christmases to come. I look at my tree and smile. Oh what a beautiful tree it is. Merry Xmas everyone.