I Was Given the Gift of Self-Love

I spent years pushing away memories, or at least desperately trying to. For a while I even seemed to have managed to do it. Then, in my early 30’s, an event triggered a whole lot of unexpected emotions that I wasn’t prepared to deal with. With my past having come back to haunt me I quickly lost my place I had come to know in the world. For a few more years I skated by… barely. At no point during this time had I gotten any more help than a string of opioids to try from doctors. Needless to say, no inner peace was found during this 5-year time period.

July 2016, an article was shared on Facebook about The Haven Retreat. After reading the article, watching a string of YouTube videos on it and then checking out every corner of their website… I did nothing. After almost a year, and many discussions, my husband finally convinced me I should apply. I worked up the courage and filled out the online application. Four months later I was on a plane to Utah to take my very first step in the process of healing.

Our faces said it all as we sat around the fireplace during orientation: Sadness. Pain. Fear. Uncertainty. For many years, myself and these 20 other women battled depression, anxiety, PTSD and insomnia (among many other physical and mental ailments) due to childhood sexual abuse.

What followed was as much a surprise to us as our own (eventual) willingness to attend this retreat:

Love. Compassion. Acceptance. Empowerment. Trust. Encouragement.

These are just some of the words I would use to describe the gifts we received over the next 4 days. We had an almost immediate bond between us. One I will never forget. These ladies are now my sisters and we will be there for each other on our continued journeys of healing. We learned so much not only from the staff… but also from each other’s stages of the healing process.

A few other things I will never forget about the retreat (which didn’t happen in the learning groups) are:
-The hug I received the first day on the stairs.
-Learning to play again on the playground.
-The mountains…I LOVED the mountains!
-A lot can be learned from a long silence.

Work on the personal aspects of my healing continues, as does the support of the Foundation. I could never repay them for everything they have done, and how they have changed my life, along with so many others. I continue to spread the word about the Foundation in hopes others may take part in the same amazing journey I did during the fall of 2017.

Thank you to TYF for the amazing gifts.

The gifts of renewal and self-love.
The gift of community.

-Lisa, Survivor