My Mountainous Obstacles Are Now Ash

Melanie, a survivor of sexual abuse, who was able to crush the mountains holding her back while seeking help at The Haven Retreat.

Being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse has been a part of my life I have never been able to deal with. My closest family members didn’t want to hear about it. It was like they didn’t believe me. They didn’t want to see me. They wanted the problem to just be swept under the carpet and left alone. What they didn’t realize is that it was like reliving the years of abuse again. I had been harboring negative feelings of myself such as worthlessness, self-hate, and anger to name a few. I have been in private counseling sessions with no success. I had come to the acceptance that this mountain in my life was just too tough to climb, that I would never be able to release the negative feelings I felt about myself, that no one understood what I had gone through or what I was feeling.

While driving from the Boise area down to The Haven Retreat in Utah, I had 5 hours of alone time to ponder and think about what I expected to happen at the retreat. Would I continue to blame and hate myself, would I learn how to deal with my abusive past, or would this just be a waste of my time? I kept telling myself, “Just turn around at the next exit and go home.” But something inside of me just kept driving. While driving, I decided that I would have no expectations for results at the retreat. I would listen to the lessons, take part in the classes and therapy sessions, enjoy the environment, but absolutely no expectations of feeling or getting better about my situation.

I can honestly say, attending The Haven Retreat was nothing short of a miracle for me. Without going into details about the classes and therapy at the retreat, I will say that the four days of attending the retreat has allowed me to see things from a viewpoint I have never seen before.

As one of my “warrior sisters” at the retreat called it, my “Woo-Woo” moment arrived. I had arrived. I see myself as worthy, not worthless. Strong and courageous, not weak and feeble. My voice will be heard, not silent. My happiness would shine through, the anger & self-hate would disappear. I was not alone, and never would be again. Most of all, I realized that I am loved and I matter.

The Haven Retreat gave me the tools and direction to, not only climb the mountain that has defeated me for years, but to crush it to ashes. To be able to leave it crumbled, and to never let it hinder my ability to walk my path of happiness which I know I deserve.

-Melanie, Survivor