Below are selected words of wisdom and encouragement from men who participated in The Bristlecone Project.
Not all of these men will speak to your situation. As always, take what you need and leave the rest:
“Coming alive has been a liberation. Not all at once. It is happening day by day.” — Brigham Faria
“I’m actually going back. Back to where the abuse occurred. I’m going back to my city, back to the community that I grew up in, that was taken from me, anything good there was taken from me…and I’m going back to take that back. I’m going back to reclaim my childhood.” — Randy Ellison
“Definitely growing up was rough, but what got me through it was running. I started competing when I was nine years old…I realized that running was my outlet, it was what kept me going. Any time I run, it’s such a relief. I feel so light. There’s nothing that can hold me down or stop me.” – Stephen Land
“I want other guys to know that they can achieve happiness…It’s not an easy hole to dig yourself out of, but you can definitely do it…I’m just an average guy, and if I can achieve happiness, anybody can do it.” — Manassah Bradley
“There were 30 men in the room, and they just started talking about what happened to them in childhood, and I thought, “wow, I’m where I need to be,” so that was the start of my real recovery journey. It was being with other men who had experienced what I had experienced.” — Ken Clearwater
“What are the emotions that we teach boys? What are the safe emotions to feel? One of them is hatred and anger. Boys aren’t supposed to cry. Boys aren’t supposed to feel side. Boys are supposed to suck it up and be tough…But grief is a path that you walk and you don’t get from one end to the other unless you do that walk…I had to grieve all of the things that I lost…but if you had told me how good my life would be today, I would not have believed you.” — Jeff Dion
“I live my life believing that we are here to learn life lessons. And I’ve reconciled my abuse in a way that, if I can tell my story and help other men, who can clearly look at me now and say, you know what? He has an incredible life, he’s found incredible love, and I live a life of beauty and compassion. I can see that as a reason for why I went through it.” — Keith Rennar Brennan
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