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Re: [ExExGayMinistry] Digest Number 383

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  • Drew VanDyche
    Norm: Thanks for responding! These are just a few of the things that I gained from the experience. The first thing that I learned, living with twelve other
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 29, 2005
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      Norm:
      Thanks for responding!
      These are just a few of the things that I gained from the experience.
      The first thing that I learned, living with twelve other guys who struggled with the same issue is that I wasn't terminally unique. That I couldn't go through life trying to "perform" being the "good boy" 24 hours a day. That I had to be real. It quickly became quite exhausting to wear the mask and hiding my inner reality as an angry, bitter young man became to difficult and my "stuff" began to rise to the surface. Unfortunately, LIA wasn't equipped to deal with the intense trauma of my personal existence, and my growth, though initiated, was stunted. We desperately needed a trained psychologist on staff, cuz as well-meaning as they may be, lay-people can't always cut it. And to have house leaders who had only been in the program the year before? Big mistake. The biggest mistake, however, was that we tended to blame all of our problems on our "latent homosexual tendencies" and the misconception that if we just took care of that, all would be hunky dory. And some of the rules were
      just ridiculous. No medication for depression? I had clinical depression, abandonment issues, an unconnected head and heart, the good bad split (you know, the shame based neurosis that when someone seems to call you bad, the knee jerk response is "you think I'm bad, I'll show you bad." And my masculinity and feminity which are God-given traits were not integrated at all. I was convinced that I was an evil person. And when you feel that way, no amount of behavior modification can affect it. At best, I felt like a pig in a tuxedo. Even if homosexuality were "curable" you would think that they would recognize that fundamental neurosis and belief systems would have to be dealt with first.

      I have not kept contact with anyone from my year in the group although I have run into a few every now and then, to my or their joy or dismay. I don't really know how to get a hold of them. I was judged harshly by my mates as abrasive and needy and argumentative, and rightly so. But I don't think anyone truly saw my heart. All they saw was the "shit" rising to the surface and I am sure that many felt very "sane" in comparison to me. I was very fucked up.

      Although, sometimes I think they shied away from me because I have always fought towards truth and I want to be transparent and honest, even with the reality of my faults and I ask very hard questions of myself and others. I want truth, whatever that means. I have never had time for people who play games and who aren't honest with themselves that we are all "sinners saved by grace." There is a part of me that still has that prophet thing going that threatens anyone who wants to hide in unreality, live in denial, but I try to keep it in check.

      Some of us tried to have a bible study after we got out of the program, but I became persona non gratis, because I kept butting heads with people. That was my fault, but at the time, I had taken this if you are going to proclaim yourself a christian and be gay, that you should do all of the things that straight christian people do, you know, no sex before marriage or commitment ceremony, monagamy, yada yada yada. I always judged that John Paulk was hyper-critical, but I think what I didn't like about him, was the reflection in him that I saw of myself.

      Truth be told, I learned more about homosexuality in that year than I ever wanted to know. I laughingly throw my hand to throat and say that I was fed up to here with homosexuality. By the end of the year, I was "fagged out." But, I fell in love with men that year, and more than that, I think I began to fall in love with myself, even as fucked up as I was. I can't help but think that if there was someone truly trained in psychology watching over us, we may not have had so much crap to unravel.

      This may sound like a pipe dream, but someday, I would actually like to be able to provide a place, a safe haven, where true healing could happen for men going through it. I want to be a papa smurf to my own bunch of ragtag boys and men and lavish love and acceptance on them so they can look at their own stuff in a safe environment. Bottom line, LIA and most ex-gay ministries are just not safe. It takes a village to raise a child. LIA basically recreated the dysfunctional family and then placed the onus of responsibility onto the children to raise themselves. We were all at so many different places in our psychological well-being and you can't use a cookie cutter mentality to address them all.

      Within those ranks, I saw glimpses of truth, of what might be, what could be, but as long as the goal of these ministries is to change sexual orientation, they will always fail.

      Looking back, I find the group dynamics of what went on during that time fascinating and I'm actually in the process of writing a musical based on my experiences and the experiences of others. So, if you have actual stories to relate, I would love to hear them. Much of that year is a blur of emotional trauma for me and I would love to hear what happened from other people's perspective as I lived very subjectively back then and didn't have a whole lot of objectivity because the emotions were so great they kind of drowned out objective thought. A live in program is quite different than any other ministry, because if you don't run away physically, it's very hard to run away mentally, spiritually and emotionally. And that's grounds for a great story. I only know my own story, so I am looking forward to hearing some of yours.

      Love, Drew VanDyche
      2520 Ryan Road, Apt 101
      Concord, CA 94518

      P.S. How have ex-gay ministries changed? I'm not sure. Have they changed at all?

      (Oh, also - Gary Hayashi has a wonderful lecture he gave at the vineyard in san francisco about overcoming shame and how God never wanted to label us good or bad which is living by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but wanted us to live by the energy and power of the tree of life - in other words, God wanted us to be real. He wants us Naked and Unashamed. That is how I desire to live my life.

      Current status: I finally graduated in August with a degree in Performing Arts from the Univ of Tampa. I now have a good job here in Walnut Creek, CA and I am working towards my goal as a playwright, taking a class at the American Conservatory Theatre in the city and I am in negotiation with a theatre company in SF who want me to write the libretto for a musical that they hope to put on before the end of the year. I have a great roommate and a fantastic therapist and we are making amazing strides! I am single and for the first time in my life would actually love to settle down in a relationship, but I am also picky as I have to be able to communicate with my partner on an intense, deep, spiritual, and meaningful level. And I need a partner who understands and loves the theatre and arts community that shares my joy of creative expression.

      okay, i guess that's enough for now...:-)

      ___________________________

      Message: 2
      Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 16:59:40 -0000
      From: "Norm"
      Subject: Re: Greetings from Love in Action 1988 Survivor


      Welcome to the group Drew! I think we would all be interested in
      hearing more about your LIA experience -- especially as a relatively
      early member. Also, any thoughts or comparisons about how the "ex-
      gay" movement has changed since then.

      I look upon my "ex-gay" experience in 1995-1997 as one of the worst
      experiences of my life. The messages I learned about myself as
      being "sexual broken", "lacking true masculinity", etc., took alot
      of time to unlearn. However, there were indirect benefits from the
      experience.

      As a conservative/fundamentalist Christian at the time, the
      Christian "ex-gay" experience provided me a religiously safe
      opportunity to meet others who were struggling to reconcile their
      faith and sexuality. Just knowing I wasn't alone was beneficial.
      As someone who had no knowledge of the gay "lifestyle" at the time,
      the accountability groups provided a startling orientation to the
      seedier and darker aspects of the gay community (i.e. anonymous sex,
      unsafe sex, promiscuity, abusive relationships, etc.). I also met
      gay men who were otherwise happy with their same-sex relationships
      and were primarily motivated by the desire to be religiously
      obedient.

      Since my "ex-gay" experience, all but one of the accountability
      group members I knew are now openly gay. Although we had to violate
      the "ex-gay" group's rules about no contact outside of the group, I
      developed a great friendship with another group member which kept
      both of us sane as we struggled to come out of the "ex-gay"
      lifestyle.

      In hindsight, I look at the experience as just another part of my
      coming-out experience.

      Once again, welcome to the group.

      Norm!

      --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, "Drew VanDyche"
      wrote:
      >
      >
      > I just want to say "hello" to all of those who have been through
      the
      > fire and come out the other side. Bottom line, I am and always
      will
      > be a seeker of truth in the innermost parts. Being involved the ex-
      > gay community was just one of my stops on the journey, but it
      often
      > seems that I am one of the few people who tries not to let any
      > unresolved conflicts from that time, bitterness, anger, etc
      consume
      > me. Is there anyone else out there, besides me, who can look back
      on
      > his involvement and find that there was benefit, even if it wasn't
      > the result that they and I thought that I wanted? I would really
      like
      > to hear from you.





      ________________________________________________________________________
      ________________________________________________________________________



      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Yahoo! Groups Links




      ------------------------------------------------------------------------







      Drew VanDyche
      aka: Drewcifer, Drewski, Drewblood...
      http://profiles.yahoo.com/vandyche



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Norm
      Hey Drew, Drew: ...[LIA] desperately needed a trained psychologist on staff, cuz as well-meaning as they may be, lay-people can t always cut it. And to have
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 30, 2005
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        Hey Drew,

        Drew: "...[LIA] desperately needed a trained psychologist on staff,
        cuz as well-meaning as they may be, lay-people can't always cut it.
        And to have house leaders who had only been in the program the year
        before? Big mistake. ..."

        I relate to your experience and was also surprised by the lack of
        training "ex-gay" leaders/counselors had. "Ex-gay theory" assumes
        that most gays have major psychological issues and/or traumas.
        Therefore, a responsible and well-intentioned "ex-gay" ministry
        should have professionally trained counselors who know what issues
        they can and cannot help with.

        The "ex-gay" leader who counseled me in 1995 was only a couple years
        older than me and still in college. Although he was encouraging and
        enthusiastic, his counseling approach was argumentative and high
        pressured. Even after I left the "ex-gay" experiment and acceped my
        sexuality, I still felt haunted by what was said in those sessions.
        Last summer, I met him and he repeatedly apologized for the mistakes
        he made in counseling me. Although I appreciate his acknowledgement
        and believe he did not intend to cause harm, I still believe it is
        irresponsible and immoral for the "ex-gay" ministry to have placed
        him in a counseling role.

        Due to a lack of "successful" ex-gays and nearly no acceptance
        of "ex-gay" theories in the psychological profession, I believe "ex-
        gay" groups must heavily rely on untrained volunteers and
        relatively "new ex-gays". I was surprised to have been asked to
        become a small group leader after only completing the ten month
        program. I declined because I did not feel that I had experienced
        any significant change. I knew that if I pursued even a small group
        leadership role, I would be forced to "fake it" in order to lead.

        I'm glad I declined pursuing a group leadership role. I watched a
        fellow participant who joined when I joined the "ex-gay" ministry
        become my group leader during my second year. He was well-
        intentioned, but completely over his head with how to handle a bunch
        of confused, frustrated, bitchy, young gay guys. Afterall, he was
        in the same boat.

        Drew: "Although, sometimes I think they shied away from me because I
        have always fought towards truth and I want to be transparent and
        honest, even with the reality of my faults and I ask very hard
        questions of myself and others. I want truth, whatever that
        means. ..."

        I think I relate to your experience. Speaking the truth about
        sexuality and faith is very uncomfortable and can even put-off
        others. In "ex-gay" groups, Evangelical Christian groups, and
        probably any other similar faith group, there is a pressure to not
        be "too honest". Afterall, it becomes boring and discouraging to
        hear someone repeatedly confess their continual same-sex attractions
        or doubts about the faith. Certainly, those who proclaim their
        healing are viewed as being more blessed and spiritually developed.

        In my "ex-gay" experience, a friend and I developed a reputation for
        being the pessimistic guys. We rarely offered a "praise report" at
        the weekly group meetings. (If we did, it was usually forced).
        Since confessing my same-sex attractions was part of my pursuit of
        being a more open and honest Christian, I felt it would be setback
        to pretend that my attractions had diminished or that I
        felt "change". Although I am ashamed to admit pleasure in others'
        demise, I did feel vindicated when the more optimistic "ex-gay"
        members "fell".

        Drew: "...A live in program is quite different than any other
        ministry, because if you don't run away physically, it's very hard
        to run away mentally, spiritually and emotionally. And that's
        grounds for a great story. I only know my own story, so I am looking
        forward to hearing some of yours."

        Although it's a great idea of a new reality TV show ("Ex-gay Big
        Brother", "Ex-gay Survivor", "Ex-gay Temptation Island", etc.),
        putting a bunch of same-sex people in a living situation to unlearn
        same-sex attractions just seems like an obviously stupid idea. I
        assume that the "ex-gay" ministry I was involved with, Portland
        Fellowship, gave-up its plans for a live-in ministry. PF used to
        rent rooms in its house for ex-gay participants and there was talk
        of formally starting a live-in program. However, after hearing some
        of the drama and horror stories/rumors, PF appears to have dropped
        that plan and now only rents rooms to student interns who I assume
        are mostly straight.

        Drew, I'm glad you're succeeding in life and are moving on. Thanks
        again for sharing your thoughts.

        Norm!



        --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, Drew VanDyche
        <vandyche@y...> wrote:
        > Norm:
        > Thanks for responding!
        > These are just a few of the things that I gained from the
        experience.
        > The first thing that I learned, living with twelve other guys who
        struggled with the same issue is that I wasn't terminally unique.
        That I couldn't go through life trying to "perform" being the "good
        boy" 24 hours a day. That I had to be real. It quickly became quite
        exhausting to wear the mask and hiding my inner reality as an angry,
        bitter young man became to difficult and my "stuff" began to rise to
        the surface. Unfortunately, LIA wasn't equipped to deal with the
        intense trauma of my personal existence, and my growth, though
        initiated, was stunted. We desperately needed a trained psychologist
        on staff, cuz as well-meaning as they may be, lay-people can't
        always cut it. And to have house leaders who had only been in the
        program the year before? Big mistake. The biggest mistake, however,
        was that we tended to blame all of our problems on our "latent
        homosexual tendencies" and the misconception that if we just took
        care of that, all would be hunky dory. And some of the rules were
        > just ridiculous. No medication for depression? I had clinical
        depression, abandonment issues, an unconnected head and heart, the
        good bad split (you know, the shame based neurosis that when someone
        seems to call you bad, the knee jerk response is "you think I'm bad,
        I'll show you bad." And my masculinity and feminity which are God-
        given traits were not integrated at all. I was convinced that I was
        an evil person. And when you feel that way, no amount of behavior
        modification can affect it. At best, I felt like a pig in a tuxedo.
        Even if homosexuality were "curable" you would think that they would
        recognize that fundamental neurosis and belief systems would have to
        be dealt with first.
        >
        > I have not kept contact with anyone from my year in the group
        although I have run into a few every now and then, to my or their
        joy or dismay. I don't really know how to get a hold of them. I was
        judged harshly by my mates as abrasive and needy and argumentative,
        and rightly so. But I don't think anyone truly saw my heart. All
        they saw was the "shit" rising to the surface and I am sure that
        many felt very "sane" in comparison to me. I was very fucked up.
        >
        > Although, sometimes I think they shied away from me because I have
        always fought towards truth and I want to be transparent and honest,
        even with the reality of my faults and I ask very hard questions of
        myself and others. I want truth, whatever that means. I have never
        had time for people who play games and who aren't honest with
        themselves that we are all "sinners saved by grace." There is a part
        of me that still has that prophet thing going that threatens anyone
        who wants to hide in unreality, live in denial, but I try to keep it
        in check.
        >
        > Some of us tried to have a bible study after we got out of the
        program, but I became persona non gratis, because I kept butting
        heads with people. That was my fault, but at the time, I had taken
        this if you are going to proclaim yourself a christian and be gay,
        that you should do all of the things that straight christian people
        do, you know, no sex before marriage or commitment ceremony,
        monagamy, yada yada yada. I always judged that John Paulk was hyper-
        critical, but I think what I didn't like about him, was the
        reflection in him that I saw of myself.
        >
        > Truth be told, I learned more about homosexuality in that year
        than I ever wanted to know. I laughingly throw my hand to throat and
        say that I was fed up to here with homosexuality. By the end of the
        year, I was "fagged out." But, I fell in love with men that year,
        and more than that, I think I began to fall in love with myself,
        even as fucked up as I was. I can't help but think that if there was
        someone truly trained in psychology watching over us, we may not
        have had so much crap to unravel.
        >
        > This may sound like a pipe dream, but someday, I would actually
        like to be able to provide a place, a safe haven, where true healing
        could happen for men going through it. I want to be a papa smurf to
        my own bunch of ragtag boys and men and lavish love and acceptance
        on them so they can look at their own stuff in a safe environment.
        Bottom line, LIA and most ex-gay ministries are just not safe. It
        takes a village to raise a child. LIA basically recreated the
        dysfunctional family and then placed the onus of responsibility onto
        the children to raise themselves. We were all at so many different
        places in our psychological well-being and you can't use a cookie
        cutter mentality to address them all.
        >
        > Within those ranks, I saw glimpses of truth, of what might be,
        what could be, but as long as the goal of these ministries is to
        change sexual orientation, they will always fail.
        >
        > Looking back, I find the group dynamics of what went on during
        that time fascinating and I'm actually in the process of writing a
        musical based on my experiences and the experiences of others. So,
        if you have actual stories to relate, I would love to hear them.
        Much of that year is a blur of emotional trauma for me and I would
        love to hear what happened from other people's perspective as I
        lived very subjectively back then and didn't have a whole lot of
        objectivity because the emotions were so great they kind of drowned
        out objective thought. A live in program is quite different than any
        other ministry, because if you don't run away physically, it's very
        hard to run away mentally, spiritually and emotionally. And that's
        grounds for a great story. I only know my own story, so I am looking
        forward to hearing some of yours.
        >
        > Love, Drew VanDyche
        > 2520 Ryan Road, Apt 101
        > Concord, CA 94518
        >
        > P.S. How have ex-gay ministries changed? I'm not sure. Have they
        changed at all?
        >
        > (Oh, also - Gary Hayashi has a wonderful lecture he gave at the
        vineyard in san francisco about overcoming shame and how God never
        wanted to label us good or bad which is living by the tree of the
        knowledge of good and evil, but wanted us to live by the energy and
        power of the tree of life - in other words, God wanted us to be
        real. He wants us Naked and Unashamed. That is how I desire to live
        my life.
        >
        > Current status: I finally graduated in August with a degree in
        Performing Arts from the Univ of Tampa. I now have a good job here
        in Walnut Creek, CA and I am working towards my goal as a
        playwright, taking a class at the American Conservatory Theatre in
        the city and I am in negotiation with a theatre company in SF who
        want me to write the libretto for a musical that they hope to put on
        before the end of the year. I have a great roommate and a fantastic
        therapist and we are making amazing strides! I am single and for the
        first time in my life would actually love to settle down in a
        relationship, but I am also picky as I have to be able to
        communicate with my partner on an intense, deep, spiritual, and
        meaningful level. And I need a partner who understands and loves the
        theatre and arts community that shares my joy of creative expression.
        >
        > okay, i guess that's enough for now...:-)
        >
        > ___________________________
        >
        > Message: 2
        > Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 16:59:40 -0000
        > From: "Norm"
        > Subject: Re: Greetings from Love in Action 1988 Survivor
        >
        >
        > Welcome to the group Drew! I think we would all be interested in
        > hearing more about your LIA experience -- especially as a
        relatively
        > early member. Also, any thoughts or comparisons about how the "ex-
        > gay" movement has changed since then.
        >
        > I look upon my "ex-gay" experience in 1995-1997 as one of the
        worst
        > experiences of my life. The messages I learned about myself as
        > being "sexual broken", "lacking true masculinity", etc., took alot
        > of time to unlearn. However, there were indirect benefits from the
        > experience.
        >
        > As a conservative/fundamentalist Christian at the time, the
        > Christian "ex-gay" experience provided me a religiously safe
        > opportunity to meet others who were struggling to reconcile their
        > faith and sexuality. Just knowing I wasn't alone was beneficial.
        > As someone who had no knowledge of the gay "lifestyle" at the
        time,
        > the accountability groups provided a startling orientation to the
        > seedier and darker aspects of the gay community (i.e. anonymous
        sex,
        > unsafe sex, promiscuity, abusive relationships, etc.). I also met
        > gay men who were otherwise happy with their same-sex relationships
        > and were primarily motivated by the desire to be religiously
        > obedient.
        >
        > Since my "ex-gay" experience, all but one of the accountability
        > group members I knew are now openly gay. Although we had to
        violate
        > the "ex-gay" group's rules about no contact outside of the group,
        I
        > developed a great friendship with another group member which kept
        > both of us sane as we struggled to come out of the "ex-gay"
        > lifestyle.
        >
        > In hindsight, I look at the experience as just another part of my
        > coming-out experience.
        >
        > Once again, welcome to the group.
        >
        > Norm!
        >
        > --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, "Drew VanDyche"
        > wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > I just want to say "hello" to all of those who have been through
        > the
        > > fire and come out the other side. Bottom line, I am and always
        > will
        > > be a seeker of truth in the innermost parts. Being involved the
        ex-
        > > gay community was just one of my stops on the journey, but it
        > often
        > > seems that I am one of the few people who tries not to let any
        > > unresolved conflicts from that time, bitterness, anger, etc
        > consume
        > > me. Is there anyone else out there, besides me, who can look
        back
        > on
        > > his involvement and find that there was benefit, even if it
        wasn't
        > > the result that they and I thought that I wanted? I would really
        > like
        > > to hear from you.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        _____________________________________________________________________
        ___
        >
        _____________________________________________________________________
        ___
        >
        >
        >
        > -------------------------------------------------------------------
        -----
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -------------------------------------------------------------------
        -----
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Drew VanDyche
        > aka: Drewcifer, Drewski, Drewblood...
        > http://profiles.yahoo.com/vandyche
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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