Reclaiming Your Life. The Gay Men's Guide to Love, Self Acceptance, and Trust
Rik Isensee. Alyson Books, 1991, 1997
Provides the readers with a deep understanding of all of the topics covered, this includes definitions and background information on everything covered in the text. Many of the chapters at the end have 'Relating These Ideas to Your Own Experience' which invites the reader to integrate and contrast with their own belief system. There are very good notes and references. Some of the issues mentioned have changed so what it refers to can feel dated, one example is the lack of recognition of gay relationships.
Part One: Homophobia and Trauma
The first part includes six different sections:
, Growing Up Gay in a Homophobic Culture which details Homophobia and Heterosexism, How Homophobia Becomes Internalised, Establishing a Gay Identity, Phases in Self -Acceptance.
, Dysfunctional and Abusive Families contains information on the Origins of Positive Self Image, Dysfunctional Families Defined, the Intergenerational Cycle, Types of Abuse, and the Particular Abuse of Gay Boys.
, Effects of Abuse on Gay Sexuality outlines Child Molestation and Homophobia, Age Consent and Youthful Curiosity, a Definition of Sexual Abuse, Reactions to Sexual Abuse, Disclosing the Abuse, and The Effects of Intimate Relationships.
, Posttraumatic Stress explains the Effects of Trauma, AIDs as a Source of Trauma, Internalised Homophobia as a Form of Post-Traumatic Stress.
, Self-Blame and Shame shares information on Guilt and Shame , Abuse and Self-Blame, Homophobia and Shame, Religious Shame , and the Development of a False Self.
, Origins of Self-Destructive Behaviour, breaks down the Cycle of Shame, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Compulsive Behaviour, Sexual Compulsion, Relapse into Unsafe Sex, Overwork and Overachieving ,Food, Debt and Other Compulsions, Self- Deprivation, Co-Dependency in Gay Relationships, Repetition Compulsion and Revictimisation, and Domestic Violence.
Part Two: Reclaiming Your Life
The second part includes six different chapters
, Understanding the Process of Healing, a walk through the stages of Healing
, Recovery from Addictions and Compulsions covers the Reluctance to Seek Help, the Strategic Use of Will, Support for Recovery, Gaining Control over Compulsive Behaviour, Explaining the Moment between Impulse and Action, the Higher Power and the Nurturing Self, Spirituality and the Search for Meaning, Relating These Ideas to your Own Experience
, Working Through Feelings helps the reader with How Feelings Work, Grieving for Your Lost Childhood, Gaining Access to Sadness, Feeling Overwhelmed, Depression, and Mobilizing Anger for Positive Change, Pacing Yourself, Awareness of Feeling Exercise.
, Self-Nurturing focuses on Distortions in Thinking, How Thoughts Influence Feelings, Feelings versus Conclusions, Suicidal Impulses, Nurturing Your Own Child Self, The Cycle of Healing from Internalised Shame,
: All the information needed to increase the support around you points out Self Help, Friends and Lovers, Individual Psychotherapy, and What to Expect in Group Therapy
: Self Empowerment , How to empower one's self through Countering Co-Dependency, Confrontation, The Issue of Forgiveness, Combating Homophobia, Creating Your Own Life.