By Robin Taylor
I was lucky enough to come to the Hoffman Process in 1996, at the age of 27. At the time, I was three years into my recovery from alcoholism and childhood sexual abuse. I was also at the beginning of what was going to be a very long, painful, yet grace-filled climb out of the darkness and into the light.
Looking Good from the Outside
In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous we hear phrases like “keep coming back,” “restored to sanity” and “power greater than myself,” but these words were foreign to the girl who was born into an alcoholic, abusive family. There was zero emotional and physical safety, with the exception of having “everything I needed” materially. Things looked good from the outside. Due to the extreme trauma I experienced at home by the age of 3, I checked out and shut down to feeling (with the exception of the soul splintering ‘eggshells on which I walked’) for a long time to come.
The way the fates had it, at age five I was also severely sexually tortured by a family of pedophiles who lived three doors down from our house. This was done repeatedly and was terrifying. Sparing the graphic details, I remember being violated and threatened, and screaming for help. No one came. Surely I was not lovable enough to save, and I would never know the joy of being a child.
Some long-held beliefs were ‘Not safe,’ ‘Not enough,’ and ‘Not worthy.’ Because of these beliefs, for many years I was careful to never let myself “truly need” anyone or anything. I became what I thought I needed to be in order to survive, adapt, and overachieve (did I mention that I was even the [lesbian] homecoming queen?) so I could not be touched.
Loving Myself from the Inside
“Who we are is love.” If this was my only takeaway from the Hoffman Process (and the Q2s, one-day Refreshers, and grad group meetings I attended), it would have been more than enough. But it wasn’t. The Process helped me find my light again, my Spirit, and to understand that I am a miracle and I am love, loving and lovable. I rediscovered the joy of being a child (and found a love for Mexican food!).
Through the Process, I removed the million-ton boulder of shame I carried as my own since age 3, and I found my loving “higher power” (my Spirit Guide, Jake). The Process tools and practices (along with ongoing AA, Al-Anon, and therapy) are what have given me the grace to get up, dust myself off, and keep coming back no matter how many times I have faltered, stumbled, or relapsed down the left road.
I am just about to turn 50 years of age and have recently celebrated 12 years of continuous sobriety (it’s been a long road, and two separate rounds of long-term recovery). Today I am married to the most wonderful woman, with whom I share a sober life (she did the Process in 2013). We have a sweet menagerie of rescue animals, own a home, have loving friends and community, an amazing career, and creative opportunities. Oh, and did I mention that I now work for the Hoffman Institute in San Rafael? That’s another story…
Keep Coming Back
For me, the Hoffman Process is not a magic pill. It is not a cure (neither is recovery). It is the vehicle that put me on the Right Road, and on my journey – a journey back to the light, to the heart, and to forgiveness. This gives me freedom, joy, passion, and love. My Spiritual Self, as it turns out, is the hero who kept coming back, who rescued this little girl from the darkness, dusted me off, and brought me back home to a life beyond my wildest dreams.
Robin Taylor is a 1996 Hoffman Process graduate, a member of the Hoffman Institute staff, and the grad group leader in Richmond, CA.