My year anniversary of my stay at The Haven Retreat is coming up February 2020. I remember the day I sat down and decided to apply. I didn’t tell anyone. I wasn’t sure if I could even go through with it. As I was filling out the application all I could think about was how other women needed this more than me. I kept telling myself that if I went I would be taking it from someone else. I finally decided to apply and if it was God’s will, He would make a way. When the call came, it made me realize just how real things were about to get! I continued to try and talk myself out of the need or desire to go. I couldn’t imagine how a few short days would give me the time to find healing. I had no idea what to expect. I had it in my head what I “thought” it would be like. Boy, was I wrong!

The Haven Retreat changed my life the minute someone from The Younique Foundation met me at the airport. I felt welcomed, I immediately felt safe, and I felt like I was going to be a part of something bigger than I ever imagined. They pampered us, listened to our stories, encouraged us, and gave us tools to recognize and cope with triggers. They gave us the freedom to be on our own healing journey. I found my voice. I found freedom. I found the path for my journey. I found relationships that I didn’t know I needed. I found the strength to tell my story. I started to find myself, I started to understand that I wasn’t to blame. It was a judgement free environment. When it was time to leave, I found I wanted to stay, just a little bit longer.

I was abused by a friend’s dad and I kept the secret for about 10 years. However, when I finally felt safe enough to tell someone I felt hushed. So, I kept it to myself for another 20 years. I was ashamed and felt dirty. It led me down a path of abusive relationships, alcohol abuse, lack of self-worth, lack of self-confidence, and, for many years, I felt muted. However, as an adult who was not able to have healthy relationships, struggling with depression and anxiety, I longed for more, I longed to be better, I longed to be free of this secret and I longed to be un-muted. I longed to face my story.

The Haven Retreat helped me find peace, helped me find a support group of Brave Women and find healthy ways to cope. I am so glad I took the step to be a part of this amazing community. I encourage you to find your voice and take a stand. To complete this program was one of the joys of my life. I left feeling strong, knowledgeable, worthy, and I found I was not alone. I was impacted by the journey, but, more importantly, the other Brave women there who also shared the journey with me. I came by myself, but I left with a family of people who saw me at my worst and found a way to love me anyway! My heart smiles just knowing that I have 6 women who have my back!

My healing journey is still going, but with the help of The Haven Retreat, I am living un-muted!

-Michael, Survivor

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