“The retreat is just the beginning, but it is the most profound beginning I’ve ever had.”
I learned of the Haven Retreat from a brave survivor on Facebook. I am forever grateful she shared. While the decision to attend was not easy – there are so many emotions that accompany such a decision – I am so glad it came down in the affirmative. I made a choice to learn. I made a choice to grow. I made a choice to turn and face the storm inside because I really wanted to calm it.
Arriving at the retreat was surreal. I was surrounded by women who were strong and courageous enough to come and face the same demons I was up against. We were all nervous and scared in some way. The staff were all welcoming and radiated acceptance, confidence, and love in such a powerful way, we were all put at ease and the work began almost immediately.
I was concerned about group therapy, but found that I truly enjoyed it. I had the most considerate ladies in my group. Their stories touched my heart and created a bond I will forever cherish and draw strength from. We still talk almost every day in a messaging group we set up. They are respectful, uplifting, and encouraging. They are my sisters and they fill what had been a gaping hole of family, friends, and connection.
Speaking of connection, the focus on getting in touch with your own body was so helpful. As survivors, we tend to disassociate with our own being. I found that to be so true for me. The Muay Thai was particularly profound for me. It was very rhythmic, much like the drum circle we experienced the first night. That was another thing I was skeptical about – but I went in open minded and I loved it. I could feel myself start to feel again, if that makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, I stunk it up! HA Good thing nothing important depended on me doing it well. But I learned a lot about how rhythm affects the body. I am continuing the work to find mine.
There is not a moment that I regret going. Even when the road seems so long still and I feel overwhelmed because there is so much to do in this healing journey, I am grateful I chose to begin the healing process. I have a lot more tools in my bag to handle the challenge, thanks to the retreat.
If you are in that moment of deciding whether to attend, if you feel a traumatic sexual event in childhood is still affecting you today, summon the courage and submit the application. You will need courage for more than four days, though. The retreat is just the beginning, but it is the most profound beginning I’ve ever had.