Survivor Stories
Greg Kolwicz

Greg has journeyed far, both physically and psychologically, to reach the place of
healing that now graces his life.

The mythical Hero’s Journey has countless variations, but every Hero’s story involves a long period of struggle; encountering and overcoming obstacles; falling into despair; questioning one’s courage; finding one’s courage; finding one’s strength.

So it is with the journey of survivors toward reclaiming health and selfhood.

Greg was sexually abused by an older boy who befriended and then horribly betrayed him. The abuse lasted four years and ended when Greg was eleven. For many years, he buried the experience so that he could get on with the tasks of childhood and adolescence.

During college, cracks began to appear in the trauma retaining wall. Greg noticed that intimate relationships felt impossible, made him feel insecure. “I wasn’t being honest with myself.” He went into therapy, but it never touched the source, the abuse that had marred his childhood. He spent years in Alaska, working for the U.S. Park Service, living on a fishing boat, guiding kayaking trips. Looking back, he knows that he was running away from the central problem of his life.

His wanderings landed him in Missoula, where he began setting real roots: a good job, a steady intimate relationship. But the fears and needs evoked by intimacy still undermined him. When relationships continued to fail, Greg was propelled into therapy, and this time it clicked.

In crisis one day, he called his therapist and was told to come in immediately. He did, and the memories of the abuse came pouring out. He told his therapist, “I used to be raped.” And so the real healing began.

Now, four years later, Greg is building a new chapter. He takes care of himself with meditation, therapy and exercise. He finds solace through being in the mountains with his friends. He is entering a Master’s program to become a therapist. He is working to bring resources for male survivors to Missoula. And along the way he found Beasley, a rescue dog who needed love. “I learned to love myself through loving and taking care of her.”