Healing Words: Reclamation–This Is My Body. I Live Here.

Zoe Azrael talks sexual assault, shame, and healing on bettysbattleground.com

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.comIn an effort to relieve the misplaced shame many sexual assault survivors carry, Betty’s Battleground is dedicating the month of November 2017 to sexual assault and rape awareness. I began the series with a post about the psychological impact of being raped and how you can help a loved one who has been raped. For the second post of the series, I bring a guest post by one of my grad school cohorts, Zoe Azrael. Part of the Healing Words series, it discusses her experiences with sexual assault as a youth, the shame she experienced as a result, and how she has intentionally reclaimed ownership of her mind and body since.

Once you’re done reading Zoe’s story–and please do read Zoe’s story, it will be your loss if you don’t–I hope you’ll come back and check out my latest on Vice. This one is also about the way women’s bodies are hijacked and controlled, but this time it takes place in prison and it’s government officials who are doing a legally sanctioned version of bodily hijacking. Read “Another Way Prisons Treat Pregnant Women Like Shit” on Tonic/VICE.

Read how Zoe Azrael overcame shame and reclaimed her body after sexual assault on bettysbattleground.comZoe Azrael¬†holds an MA in Poetry from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University. Mountains make her feel alive.

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Why I Don’t Follow The 12-Steps, And Never Will

Recovery without 12-steps is very, very possible-on bettysbattleground.com

Late last week, I had an article published on STAT First Opinion called “By shunning medication-assisted therapy, 12-step meetings are making the opioid crisis worse.” I encourage you to read it if you have not already, because in this post I’m going to cover some topics not discussed in that article, and some of the controversies that have arisen because of that article.

So many people left comments telling me that I should “read the literature” before making this commentary. Well, of course I read the literature. It is insulting that anybody thinks I was just spouting off my opinion without doing actual research. And the fact is, this wasn’t a blog post. It was published by a respected third-party. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that STAT is in the business of publishing random stuff that isn’t researched. I had a conversation with my editor about some of the more controversial points made here, and we verified everything and were careful to word statements intentionally. This was not written on-the-fly. I did a good amount of research for this piece, and anyone who believes NA does not have an official stance on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) should read Bulletin 29.

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Do My Near-Death Experiences Prove Immortality?

Find out if humans are naturally immortal on bettysbattleground.com

Are humans immortal? Am I? These are the questions that land people like me in psych wards. Yet also the exact questions being posited by ‘biocentrism‘ researchers like Dr. Robert Lanza. And, according to some of his ideas, maybe even Einstein.

Well, there ya go. Einstein’s dead so there goes that theory! Or is he? No, I’m not going on a paranoid conspiracy theory rant. Nor am I speaking about immortality in the way we usually think about it…you know, a power hungry psuedo-deity with magical regenerative powers who is deathless and aware of it. Maybe that exists somewhere, but I’m not there yet. Right now, this is just an idea.

I’ve overdosed on heroin nine times. Some of those times, I was revived in everyday ways that medical personnel perform around the world constantly. Other times, I was alone, or with someone else who was passed out. People wake up from these things. It happens. It happened to me. It’s not necessarily a miracle. But the sheer number of times I have survived these near-death experiences is staggering. It’s not just the overdoses; I was also strangled by my ex to the point of seizure on numerous occasions. When you’re seizing from asphyxiation, you’re pretty damn close to dying. In fact, the first time he did it, I woke up to find him hovering over me asking if he had killed me.

I have lost count of how many times I have come close to dying, but I know one thing. I’m not dead. But what if I am? What if I did die, in another dimension…and my consciousness, the “light” through which I see, simply merged with another consciousness in this infinite universe that contains the me that survived. What if I am immortal? What if you are too?

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