Survivor shares roadmap for healing

The road to recovery from child abuse takes a different shape for every survivor.

Mistreatment at the hands of someone in a position of power impacts lives in profound and painful ways, and stepping past histories of betrayal and uncertainty looks a little different for every individual who takes those steps.

Michael Bluemling Jr. is one survivor who wants to offer his story of recovery as a roadmap for others, and he does so in his upcoming book, Turning the Page: Overcoming Abuse to Reach Life’s Fulfillment.

In his book, Bluemling — a veteran, civil servant, entrepreneur and motivational speaker — offers a step-by-step guide outlining a clear pathway from dysfunction in the aftermath of abuse and neglect to a life of health and fulfillment. It is written to be imminently accessible to anyone, each chapter approaching successive steps in recovery by offering the reader seven steps to tackle the challenge, then guiding the reader to shape his or her own action plan to move past it.

The book is practical and measured in a way seldom seen, even in books of the self-help genre. While Bluemling peppers his prescription for a better life with notes from his own experience (especially in the introduction and conclusion), this book is in no way a memoir. It is much more a handbook or a guidebook to help someone who has faced even the most severe trauma to rebuild their capacity to love and accept, not *despite* the ongoing challenges of life, but immersed in an ongoing exchange within the self, and between the self and the outside world.

Bluemling’s suggestions are offered to help the reader identify and sieze opportunities in those exchanges through honesty, appreciation, and a more dynamic understanding of the self and the self in relation to the world.

One of the best aspects of this book is the incredible ease with which its advice can be digested. Beyond understanding each step within the context of the broader therapeutic goal of its chapter, at only four or five paragraphs apiece, each step can be taken as its own devotional or focus for someone in recovery. While each step may seem self-evident at first glance (like “Love Yourself”, “Be Realistic”, “Create Balance”), the types of improvement this book wants to help the reader shape rest on a foundation of empowerment and reflection through practice and deliberate focus. As beneficial as this book may be as a program for success, it begs to be returned to for guidance and support when specific emotional obstacles return in the future.

Part affirmation, part instruction manual, this practical guide is useful not only upon its initial reading, but promises to serve as a valuable part of any survivor’s self-help reference library.

Turning the Page: Overcoming Abuse to Reach Life’s Fulfillment by Michael Bluemling Jr. will be available to the public on May 15, 2014. Please visit for more information.

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