Hello, everyone. I've been here about a month reading your posts, learning from your experiences and making a few friends, so I thought it was time to give an intro.

I was sexually abused as a child. There, I said it.

I am 40-plus, married over 20 years to an amazing wife, father of 4 awesome kids, good career. To most people on the outside, my life probably looks pretty good. On the inside, things are not so great. In fact, I'm a mess!

My world has been spinning out of control for awhile, but especially over the last 2-3 years -- major depression (which has mostly subsided now), work issues and resulting financial problems, trouble in my relationships with my great wife and kids (who all deserve better than what I've been). I've withdrawn from everyone and everything, basically.

About a month ago everything started to change. I stopped denying the abuse and all the crap that came with it -- sexual issues, destructive behaviors, self-sabotage, isolation, alcohol, etc.) I embraced -- for the first time in over 40 years -- what I now recognize to be "THE FACTS":

1. I was a victim of sexual abuse.
2. I was deeply and forever affected by it.
3. Because I never dealt with it, it unfortunately still impacts nearly EVERY area of my life decades later. While I cannot blame all of my life's choices on my childhood events, these events certainly played a big part in who I am.
4. I need to deal with it. NOW.

Over the last few weeks, I've added one more FACT:

5. I can heal and move on.

A few weeks ago, for the FIRST TIME, I admitted to myself (and my wife) the extent of the childhood abuse -- it started when I was about 5 years old. Over the next 11-plus years, there would be at least 4 different abusers -- both male and female, both strangers and trusted family friends. And, it messed me up. Bigtime.

It was an enormous relief to say it and accept it. Since that disclosure, I have started to educate myself about CSA and seek help. I can now recognize how much the abuse has affected me. I've always remembered the sexual abuse events, but over the years I had minimized the abuse and its effects on me. I would tell myself "It wasn't THAT bad. It didn't affect me THAT much. I'm over it. It was SO long ago, anyway." Many of you know what all that sounds like. As a result, I told no one, I ignored it, and I let it destroy me without even knowing it.

Today, I am on a journey to find what I lost as a result of the events of my childhood . . . and to create something better for my future.

Thanks to all of you who have shared your stories, your struggles and your victories. Your posts have been a source of strength, comfort and knowledge to me. I welcome PMs and look forward to getting to know others who are on the same journey I am. I wish I didn't have to be here . . . but I'm glad I found this place.

Thanks for reading.