Confrontation, Compassion and Forgiveness: A Triage for Transformation James Prager October 3, 2010
The Plan for Sharing Today • Seemingly Unimportant Decisions • 7 Thinking Errors • How Recovery and Community change Thinking Errors • A Busy and productive life today
Who I Am • Sex Offender • Status in full compliance with regulations regarding Sex Offender Registration • Social Worker • MSW, Wash U. • Employed at the Reentry Coalition of Northwest Ohio • Member of Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) • My story
Seemingly Unimportant Decisions • Seemingly unimportant decisions led to thinking errors- These can appear to be unimportant at the time but have consequences later. • College story • Decision #1: Children are a stress reliever • Decision #2: I’m entitled and not doing anything wrong • None of this addresses childhood issues but adult thinking and decision making
Thinking Errors • Cognitive distortions which are later used to justify bad behavior. • Thinking errors developed in isolation rather than as part of dialogue and sharing with others. The isolation allows the distortions to grow and fester
Thinking Errors • I am providing affection • Contact is not sexual • It’s only one child • If you want to have fun, you MUST go outside the family • Sense of entitlement
Thinking Errors (continued) • Suicidal thinking, avoidance of responsibility, and keeping the cycle going • If people really knew me they would not like me (fear of abandonment) One of the 4 core beliefs of sex addicts first noted by Patrick Carnes
IT IS IMPORTANT TO DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM • Evaluate mental health issues • Evaluate addiction issues • Assess family history and dynamics • Don’t overlook medical issues • Assess how these interrelate
White Pine Hospital As A Starting Point • The journey begins auspiciously • Relationship with ex-wife • I’ll help you if you help yourself • Visiting conflicts • Relationship with step-son • Relationship with friends • Realization of recovery options • Relationships provide hope that I can change
Changing Thinking Errors Through Recovery • I am providing affection, contact is not sexual • It’s only one child • If you want to have fun, you must go outside the family • Sense of entitlement • Suicidal thinking and avoidance of responsibility
Changing Thinking Errors Through Recovery (continued) • If people really knew me they would not like me (fear of abandonment) One of Patrick Carnes core beliefs • Contact with family • Contact with friends • Contact with colleagues • Contact with victims of sexual abuse
The Community of Recovery • SAA and SLAA and SA • Sexual Rehabilitation Programs • Provision of feedback, support, and tough love • Reducing isolation, building trust to overcome the sickness of our secrets
Prisoner Reentry • With the large number of people being released from prison on an annual basis, this is a critical need for both public safety and the individuals involved • As someone released and with a professional degree, I am in a good position to help these individuals; especially those who are sex offenders.
Reform Sex Offender Laws • Goals are to create safer communities without use of the registry • Build coalitions with like-minded groups which includes defense attorneys and victims' rights groups who are more interested in safety and accountability than retribution
MIND OF A MOLESTER • I am writing my story of recovery to bring a different voice to the loud, fearful, and angry discussion of child sexual abuse.
TRAVEL TYME ? • The concept began in June 2008 when my partner and I celebrated 20 years of no molesting behavior on my part. • During the boat ride, I accidently touched the woman seated on my left and my addict was hooked. • Our discussion as a couple lead to wanting to find ways to help people travel safely.