Welcome to the new year! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? As you look ahead, are you excited about the possibilities, or are you looking at it with dread and fear? If you’re dealing with legal issues and relationship loss because of committing an act of domestic violence, then most likely you are just hoping to survive, not thrive, this coming year.

If you’re dealing with legal issues and relationship loss because of committing an act of domestic violence, then most likely you are just hoping to survive, not thrive, this coming year.

I get it. I was exactly there 12 years ago. I was on probation for domestic abuse – assault. I was attending a Batterers Intervention Program (BIP). I was separated from my wife. I was trying to stop the stuff that was threatening my freedom and marriage. I was trying to change so I no longer reacted violently in conflicts.

Honestly, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic. I hadn’t hit anyone for seven months, but I had zero confidence that I wouldn’t slip up and harm my partner again in the heat of the moment. I knew I didn’t have the emotional control I needed to be safe.

It was frustrating. I didn’t know how to change. I did know that the mandated BIP class wasn’t helpful. Oh, I got the messages—I was wrong in doing what I did. I needed to be held accountable. I was not superior to my wife, entitled to getting my way, or ever justified in hitting her. I didn’t disagree with any of those messages. But that didn’t help me change.

Fast-forward to 2018. I’m in a great relationship with a wonderful woman. Sure, we have conflict, but it never results in violence. As a matter of fact, I’ve extended my streak of not hitting my partner to 12 years and 7 months and expect that to continue the rest of my life. Being violence free is of course essential to a good relationship, but it’s a bare minimum. In that time, I’ve also learned a lot about building trust and intimacy with my partner through good communication and healthy conflict resolution.

You have no reason to care about my life. I only tell you about the change to give you hope. You too can have a great relationship with a wonderful woman, full of mutual respect and free of violence. You too can be loved and admired by your children. You too can feel your life is on solid ground and headed in the right direction. You too can feel good about who you are as a person. You too can feel at peace. Change. Is. Possible.

You too can feel at peace.

I’m not going to attempt to give you all of the change process details in this post. We have an entire website of information and dozens of other blog posts for you to explore for that purpose. Just knowing that it exists should give you hope. This may surprise you, but believing you can change and choosing to start is the most important step.

Believing you can change and choosing to start is the most important step.

No sugarcoating here. The process is not fast or easy. But if you take one step at a time, do the work, stay focused, and stay motivated, you should be able to look back when the calendar turns next year and see some meaningful progress. Making this year your turning point year is the most exciting resolution of all.

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