Below is a list of people and their books that I’ve found invaluable to my recovery. Even though this list is in no particular order it does loosely follow a timeline of my healing journey still in progress.
Miss America By Day Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love by Marilyn Van Derbur Atler.
After reading an excerpt of Mrs. Van Derber Atler’s story in a book on suppressed memory and memory retrieval, I found her website www.missamericabyday.com, promptly ordered the book that would become my instruction manual for my life for the next 2 years. Her courage and compassion on those pages guided me to the therapists who would help me accept my history and systematically remove its power over me, regaining my life as I have never experienced it before; with trust and safety. Mrs. Van Derber Atler was willing to e-mail me several times during my darkest times which I found to be phenomenally encouraging and nearly life saving. I treasure her last response to me,
“It would be an honor to have you reference my book. I am so grateful if any part of it was helpful in your recovery process. Blessings to you, Marilyn”
Redemption: A Story of Sisterhood, Survival, and Finding Freedom Behind Bars by Stacey Lannert.
Diane Rehm interviewed Stacey Lannert on NPR and I found myself so mesmerized while driving along that I simply pulled my car over in a parking lot and listened to the entire interview. It blew me away. It apparently did the same for my husband who called me at the same time telling me to turn on NPR immediately and listen to the young woman, an incest survivor who was recently released from prison. As soon as it was over and I had stopped crying enough to drive, I went immediately to the bookstore and purchased her book. One would have to read it to get the full impact of her story but the message of becoming free, even within the confines of prison was the message I was after. At this point, I was a closet incest survivor and rarely spoke to anyone outside of my husband or therapist about the abuse that occurred in my childhood. Stacey Lannert helped set me free and when asked if I may post about her here, she replied simply,
“That would be nice and you have my permission. Good luck and may God Bless you. Thank you, Stacey Lannert.”
You may visit Stacey’s blog, Healing Sisters by clicking here.
Living for Today by Erin Merryn
Stolen Innocence by Erin Merryn
My first glimpse of Erin was when she appreared on Oprah, lovely and eloquent. I found myself so intrigued with this young woman from the same state as I was in, sharing the same type of experience of living through incest and sexual abuse. Needless to say, I purchased her books and have become a follower and supporter of her very important work.
Erin Merryn writes two very emotional memoirs about her rape and subsequent sexual abuse by a family member as a young girl. Journaling in her diary, she takes us through her assault and the difficult times that she and her family face as they confront her abuser and navigate the family problems that arise. She narrates the story as a courageous yet fragile young woman who contends with the emotional challenges and post trauma repercussions. The true testament of her resiliency comes when she ultimately forgives her abuser and begins work on the legislation that will become known as Erin’s Law. Erin turned her trauma into triumph by becoming a tireless advocate for children by assembling legislation for schools to adopt age-appropriate curriculum addressing sexual abuse of children. Illinois was the first state to pass Erin’s Law on February 14, 2010.
You can visit Erin’s blog and website or get information about her books by clicking here.