Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Working with Nonviolent Alternatives has offered the opportunity for me to observe life with a different perspective.  Like AA or NA the program slogan it works if you work it, is also true for changing abusive actions and stopping the violence.  Without this fundamental belief I couldn't be an effective facilitator in a program that encourages attendees to look deeper within themselves, thinking differently about their life and the world around them. Attendees are treated with respect and taught they can and do make a difference in their own life and those of others, either positively or negatively.  When we understand we have a choice in our own life and are not the victim of our surroundings or the belief systems taught within families for generations we become empowered to take a stand and to make a change.  While not everyone will put in the effort to make the changes for themselves "many" in this program do. Here is one of those examples.

Client X, a thirty year old black male enrolled in our program in August 2015.  His history included domestic violence, substance use and multiple arrests.  Client X served three years of a six year sentence for a prior domestic charge. Client X indicated at the enrollment process a past which included guns, fights, intimidation of others to get what he wanted. This client also indicated he would like to turn his life around and was tired of being in trouble and didn't want to go back to jail. Client X was told with an open mind and heart and willingness to do the work to change his life he would get the tools he needed by showing up every week, paying attention and applying what he learned to his life, not just in close relationships with girlfriends etc, but to all facets of his life.

Each week Client X sits in the middle of the class, participates and is able to express what he is taking away from the lesson during the go-around at the end of class.  Last night was no exception. Client X also shared what had happened to him that morning when going to his place of business.

In his words: "I showed up at work and there was these two guys, one with a gun and told me to give him my money. I told him no problem, I will give you what you want I don't want no trouble." At the same time another employee ran across the street and called the police.  The partner of the gun-man yelled, come on the cops are on the way, and they ran off.  "If it wasn't for what I been learning here, I would be doing what I always did, I would'a acted a fool and got right in the middle of it and doing stuff to get me right back in trouble". I gotta tell ya it feels pretty good to be sitting here and knowing I ain't going to jail again." I know I can do better and I want better." 

This blog is written with the permission of Client X.

(Disclaimer: The first responsibility of Nonviolent Alternatives is to the families/victims of the program attendees and in no way should the assumption be made "he is cured".  Each person must make their choice in every situation to choose to act with integrity.

We strongly encourage you to contact the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-322-7385 and get connected to a local advocate to help you develop a safety plan. Please do not accept your partner's reasons/excuses/justifications for their abusive actions.)

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