stress. fear. anxiety
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.
You can find peace and tranquility through repeating the serenity prayer. This prayer is part of 12-step programs.
Isolation, mental health issues, abuse, and financial problems may lead to thoughts of ways to ease stress and fear. Those with addictions may find this time challenging. One mistake can cause a relapse. If you feel that drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, or over-eating are taking over your life, there is help.
Narcotics Anonymous offers recovery to addicts around the world. na.org
Alcoholics Anonymous offers recovery from alcoholism. aa.org
Overeaters Anonymous is a program for people with problems related to food and overeating. oa.org
Gamblers Anonymous is a group of people who support each other to overcome gambling addiction and help others do the same. gamblersanonymous.org
Nicotine Anonymous (“NicA”) is a non-profit, 12-step fellowship of people helping each other live nicotine-free lives. nicotineanonymous.org
There are groups for family members and friends of drug addicts and alcoholics. They benefit those struggling to deal with addicted family or friends. It is very hard to see someone you love addicted.
Unfortunately, I know from firsthand experience the downfall of family members from addictions. You try to rescue them, which can take a toll on your own health. Letting them go is difficult.
These groups can help you learn how to let go of the addict if it becomes necessary. You can learn ways to deal with the addicted person.
Nar-Anon Family Groups: A 12-step program for family and friends of addicts. nar-anon.org
Al-Anon: Help and hope for families and friends of alcoholics. al-anon.org
Narateen is for Teenagers Affected by Someone Else’s Addiction. Find a narateen meeting
Alateen is a place just for teens affected by someone else’s alcoholism. Teen corner alateen
“Abuse is known to have a relationship with addiction.” Read more about domestic abuse and it’s connection to addiction. Learn more here.
“Recovering financial independence after struggling with substance abuse is a crucial step to recovery.” Learn more here.
Domestic violence numbers are on the rise with #ShelterInPlace orders during the pandemic of Covid-19. Also known as #StayAtHome orders, these put victims of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, child abuse and sexual violence at a higher risk. The home may be the most dangerous place for many people.
“Do not give up. Help is available. Make a safety plan to escape. Make a phone call.”~CL Valens, Domestic Violence Survivor
International Domestic Violence Lines:
Americans overseas: 833-SAFE-833 or 1-866-879-6636
Australia: 180 -737-732
New Zealand: 0800-733-843
South Africa: (+27 11) 715-2000
Brazil: 1: +55-51-211-2888
Puerto Rico: 787-765-2285
Dominican Republic: 809-200-1202
Stalking is defined as: harass or persecute (someone) with unwanted and obsessive attention; move silently or threateningly through (a place)
Some signs of stalking are:
- Follows you as you travel
- Sends you unwanted text messages, cards, and emails.
- Sends you unwanted gifts, like flowers.
- Uses social media/GPS to track you.
- Constantly calls you and hangs up; or leaves voicemails.
- Appears in places, they should not be; waiting outside of your employment, church, house.
Stalkers control their victims, try to trap them and become threatening in many ways.
Your school life, work, social life, and daily functions are affected.
There is always a fear of what might happen should the stalker find you.
The feeling of being hunted can cripple you.
Stalking is illegal in every state.
Get the police involved and make sure to find out their jurisdiction. You may have to involve multiple locations.
Victim advocates are very helpful. They can provide assistance with safety issues.
Always know it is not your fault. You did not cause this person to become a stalker.
You may have to relocate, as I did. A restraining order did not stop my abuser/stalker.
My stalker appeared where he was not supposed to be. I was a confident, strong woman who became fearful of shopping, going to church, in fear of answering the door and spent many sleepless nights wondering if my stalker was outside. I alerted people ahead of time of where I was going so they could be on the lookout for my stalker.
I always was looking around everywhere I went, even when driving until I went into hiding.
I am still very cautious when answering the door after relocating. I have heard of stalkers finding their victims years later, so I stay alert to my surroundings.
You can feel panic at any time, even years later. Telling my story encourages and strengthens me, knowing that I can help others. I know that God is protecting me wherever I go. Praying daily has helped me gain back my confidence.
Here are some ways to keep safe:
- Stop all communication with the stalker.
- Remove yourself from social media.
- Alert your friends, employer, and family members that you are being stalked.
- Change places you shop, routes you drive and times of your activities.
- Get some training in self-defense.
- Keep track of all interactions with your stalker, even if you do not think they mean anything. In the future, you may realize that minor incident was leading up to something major. Stalkingawareness.org has resources, such as a “Stalking Incident and Behavior Log”.
- Go to the local authorities.
- Get a protective/restraining order. The difference between protective and restraining orders is explained here: https://victimconnect.org/resources/protection-orders
- Become part of the address confidentiality program: http://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/help-for-victims/address-confidentiality-programs
- Take back your power.
Written by C.L. Valens; Advocate, Author and Speaker. “I am in hiding for Domestic Violence and Stalking. Relocation and a permanent restraining order have not stopped my abuser/stalker. The arrest cases were dropped for lack of evidence. After the last arrest and release, I asked the district attorney, ‘What will it take for you to stop him, for him to kill me?’ I got no response and stay alert to my surroundings every day.”
Holidays and Domestic Violence
Holidays are a time for celebration with friends and relatives. For domestic violence victims, it can be exhausting and dangerous.
Your abuser may appear as a perfect person in people’s eyes. Pay attention to what they are doing. Are they drinking too much? Are they arguing with people?
When I realized my abuser was getting drunk, I asked him to leave the celebration. Sometimes he would leave before he was out of control. Other times, he would ignore me.
He would always remind me how I embarrassed him. No one knew about the abuse. I dreaded all invitations because of the years of abusive behavior.
When we spent birthdays and holidays at home, I feared what the abuser would do to ruin another celebration.
Now that I am away from my abuser, I can enjoy holidays, even if I am alone.
If you are living with your abuser, I pray for your protection. May you find peace and healing this holiday season, if you have escaped the abuse.
Feeling his hands around my neck saying, “I am going to kill you b….”, living in fear, knowing I might not see the next day! That is how I felt many years. When I finally got away, I did not realize how scared I was of my abuser. Just the thought of him made me tremble to my inner core. Seeing him, made my legs so weak I could not walk.
Standing against a wall after getting a temporary restraining order, trying not to pass out, I realized that this was the end of my abuse and the beginning of a new life. I was making a statement that I would no longer tolerate abuse of any kind. I was scared, not knowing the next move, I realized that no matter what happened I had to get away and never look back. Appearing in court with him was more than my body and mind could handle. After the first arrest for stalking, with the restraining order in place, the court accepted my plea not to appear with my abuser in court again. For that, I am grateful.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and that was a reminder for me to realize how much I have healed both mentally and physically. PTSD is something I will live with the rest of my life, but fortunately, I have learned ways to cope with it. I found many ways to heal alternatively and I want to help others learn those ways and become survivors, leaving the victim mentally behind.
One way that was healing for me was to write, “Domestic Violence Survivor Handbook, Steps to Freedom“. If you are a victim of abuse and trying to find your way to freedom, please check out my book.