Survivors of Incest Anonymous 

We Define Incest Very Broadly


for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Roundtable: Working Steps 7 - 9

  • 04 May 2014
  • 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM
  • 1-626-677-3000; then press 673296 #
Sunday, May 4: Working Steps 7-9

Working the Steps undefined Part III:

The Role of Working Steps 7-9 in Healing from the Wounds of Childhood Sexual Abuse

An SIA World Service Conference Literature Committee Roundtable Discussion

To Create Text for the SIA Gold Big Book Hope Heals

You Can Make Our Big Book Reality! The SIA WSC Literature Committee & Gold Big Book Subcommittee is seeking your assistance in making our dream of an SIA Big Book come to life. To help with the creation of this text, we are conducting a series of discussions by experienced SIA members about various chapters in the book. You may listen in and participate in these discussions. Each discussion will be 2 and one half hours in length and non-speaker panel members are encouraged to participate during the last portion of the meeting. Additionally, all SIA members are encouraged to share their experience, strength and hope in written form with the committee and participate in our Literature Committee Meetings. Also, many of the Literature Subcommittees have monthly meetings. These committees include the Big Book/Steps Workbook/Survivor Narratives Book Subcommittee, the Newsletter Subcommittee, the Pamphlet & Translations Subcommittee, the Creative Writing Book Subcommittee, the Meditations Book Subcommittee & the Recorded Voice Subcommittee. To receive notices about these subcommittee meetings sign up on the SIA World Service web site to receive our quarterly newsletter because monthly meeting times are posted in our newsletter and all SIA members are invited to participate.

Roundtable Particulars:

Date: Sunday, 05/04/14

Time: 4:00 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Eastern Time/1:00- 3:30 P.M. Pacific Time

To Participate: Dial 1-626-677-3000; then press 673296 #

Topic Background

The Role of Working Steps 7-9 in Healing from the Wounds of Childhood Sexual Abuse

As one long-time member of SIA notes, “Step-work has taken me more deeply into myself. Step questions, inventories and the sharing of my writing with my recovery partners, sponsor, and therapist have opened my awareness in profound ways to how the sexual, physical and emotional abuse I endured affected me. Moreover, step work has given me the gift of acceptance. It’s helped me to let go of blaming myself for the profound effects abuse has had upon my psyche, my behaviors, and the way I view myself and others. Step work has gifted me with tools to use when I inevitably slip into victim responses. They’ve provide a means for growing a loving inner parent whose support and unconditional acceptance I can count upon at all times. Working the steps has allowed me to move out of victim responses and into unlimited dreams and possibilities. Without the insights that SIA stepwork has provided me with, I doubt I’d be here today because life was too painful to endure.

Today’s roundtable discussion will focus upon the profound role that working Steps 7-9 play in recovering from the wounds of childhood sexual abuse. Steps 7-9 require that we take an ever increasing responsibility for our lives today by seeking support for the self-defeating consequences that step from abuse, owning the part our inability to take responsibility for the self-defeating consequences of abuse plays in our lives, and finally, making amends for the way that our denial of abuse effects has injured ourselves and others. In this process, we begin to further shed the need to have control over traumatic responses that stem from the our abuse. We stop pretending that the abuse we endured did not affect us. We begin to let go of the need to be perfect or seen by others with constant approval. Instead, we find that being true to ourselves and seeking support for our challenges is enough. If Steps 4-6 provide survivors with a means for acknowledging the effects that unexpressed trauma has always had upon our lives, Steps 7-9 provide survivors with an increased ability to take responsibility for working with the effects of that unowned trauma. As with all of the previous steps, courage is required as we step further out of isolation, and take responsibility for behavioral responses that no longer serve the creation of a healthy authentic life. Along the way we become more able to jointly own our mistakes and realize that we are not a mistake. In the process our loving inner parent grows stronger and more able to comfort, set boundaries and guide the way to health, wholeness and possibility.

Questions for Consideration

1. Step 7 reads, “We humbly and honestly asked a loving Higher Power to remove the unhealthy and self-defeating consequences stemming from the abuse.” This step implies that survivors of childhood sexual abuse must be open about their character challenges and must be willing to seek healthy support and compassion for their challenges. What were some of the most difficult character challenges or short-comings that you had problems being honest with yourself about and seeking support for?  

2. Step seven reads, “ . . . truth was the key that unlocked the incest lie for us.” What’s your take on the incest lie or the deceptions and illusions that are difficult for survivors to let go of and why are they challenging to let go of?

3. Step seven explains that it is important to keep both our virtues and shortcomings squarely in front of us. Why is this so? Can you share a little about how you balance your virtues and shortcomings and why that balance is important to your ongoing recovery?

4. Of course, Step 7 asks survivors to ask a loving Higher Power for help in dealing with the self-defeating consequences stemming from the abuse. For many survivors this is difficult because their first Gods (or parents) were abusive. What needs to change in a survivor’s life to grow trust in a loving Higher Power that can be depended upon for support in all circumstances and why is this essential to one’s healing processes?

Step 8 reads, “We made a list of all the people we had harmed (of our own free will), especially ourselves and inner child(ren), and became willing to make amends to them all.” With that in mind, the following questions emerge:

5. A lot of step workers in SIA believe that the most important amends that survivors owe is to themselves. Do you believe this is so and what are some of the amends you discovered that you needed to make to yourself and your inner children or parts when working this step?

6. Making amends in SIA takes a slightly different route or jumping off point than in other 12-step programs. As many survivors who’ve worked the steps explain, amends to others are most often due to a need to fix or control others as a result of survivor inability to show up for the effects of abuse within themselves. This leads to the obvious question, how did your inability to show up for the effects of abuse result in harm to others? Put another way, how did your active engagement in ongoing self abuse hurt others? Some of the forms of self abuse you might want to comment on include perfectionism, irresponsibility, dishonesty, lack of trust, need to control, denial of sexual abuse effects, care-taking and a need to be taken care of by others. 

Step 9 reads, “We made amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would result in physical, mental or emotional harm to ourselves or others,” and leads to the following questions:

7. The process of making amends is frightening to many survivors because it can evoke a great deal of shame and guilt. Did you experience any guilt and shame as you worked Steps 8 and 9 and how did you work with your guilt and shame in your amends process?

8. Can you describe how you went about making amends to your children within and to the adult you had become?

9. In terms of your amends to others, what were some of the challenges you experienced in this amends process?

10. Step 9 reads that we make amends “except when to do so would be a denial of the incest [or] . . . revictimize ourselves. Did you have any amends that were impossible for you to make because of this scenario?

Spring/Summer 2014 Roundtable Topics

Sunday, June 1: Working Steps10-12 & Promises

July 6: Sexuality, Survivors & Intimate Relationships

Please Join Us!

Time: 4:00 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Eastern Time/1:00- 3:30 P.M. Pacific Time

To Participate: Dial 1-626-677-3000; then press 673296 #


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