Before coming to SafeHope Home, I had been to over 30 or 40 therapists in my life, probably more than that actually. Not a single one had been successful in even gaining my trust, let alone helping me with any problems. The trauma therapist at SHH was the very first therapist that I came to trust in my life. I had written off therapy completely, I thought it was a ridiculous concept, but within 3 months, this therapist managed to completely change my mind about therapy. Do you know how incredible that is? To be able to trust someone after writing off a whole group of people. Sort of like writing off humanity because you’ve been abused so much. Your whole way of thinking kind of begins to shift when you’re somewhere where you’re safe and loved.
It’s not just the therapist that makes this program what it is, but all of the staff at the program, too. I’ve come to know all of them really well and over time, we’ve actually grown really close. The girls in the house, too. We’re all like a weird little family. There are around 20 courses you have to complete in this program. And I think I would’ve found that odd and unsettling if it weren’t for the program staff. The staff are always finding new stuff to add to the curriculum and they even listen to us if we say something in the course material needs to be taken out or removed because it’s triggering or something. The staff know all of the girls’ triggers and faux pas and I think that’s so cool. They get to know us all individually and the staff not only remember facts about you, they actually care! That’s such a foreign concept to me – staff in any facility treating the participants like equals and not lessers… that blew my mind.
I have been to multiple shelters, programs, detoxes, you name it! And never have I been cared about like I am at SafeHope Home. It’s not just them that care though! I care too! They somehow managed to take me – this cold, closed off, untrusting, hurt, angry little girl in a woman’s body – and turn me into a loving, optimistic, happy, inclusive, intelligent, independent, badass woman (with slight anger issues) LOL. All it took was 10 months. I wonder what I’ll be like in a few more. I am so grateful. I’ve changed so much in such a short amount of time. When I compare the progress to the decline, it shocks me. How I managed to spend 6 years of my life literally just spiralling downwards, and it only took SHH a total of 3 months to gain my trust, another 3 to boost my spirit, and another 3 motivating me and turning my freaking life around into the wonder that it is. 9 MONTHS! THAT’S IT! After spending 6 years losing myself, it took only 9 months to find myself. That blows my mind. I will never stop being grateful to this program, and all they’ve done for me.
So, I clearly love this program. That’s established. But there’s a whole other side of this program when we’re not AT program doing program work and with program staff (who are absolutely phenomenal- have I mentioned that?). That other side is the house. The house is so welcoming and warm. I didn’t feel left out for a second coming in, all the girls are so wonderful. I have to wonder how they manage to bring the good out of everybody because our house is literally always peaceful.
Yeah, so there’s a little yelling every once in a while, but 90 percent of the time, we’re yelling out of laughter, rolling on the floor, tears rolling down our faces. I think that’s my favourite part of the whole program, honestly. The relationships I’ve developed with the other participants…. it’s actually crazy. I can tell them anything. To say we are not sisters would be a blatant lie. We are united, and we are sisters, and we will forever be sisters. To come from a place of not being able to trust a single person, constantly being hurt and abused, and to come to a place of being able to say I could literally trust my life with the girls in that house, and the staff… Do you know how incredible that is?
Okay, so therapy, program/courses, and the house… that’s a full recovery program, right? All set? Good to go? I mean, yes. Realistically, we would have a home to live in, therapy and courses to recover, what more could you ask for? SafeHope Home does more. “Extracurriculars” we call them. And the choice is ours! I came from a lower-middle-class family and never really got to choose an extra activity I wanted to do. I was in gymnastics when I was in foster care and remembered I liked that a lot, so I decided to sign up for Aerial hoop (Lyra) classes. But then they had Aerial Silks there too and I wanted to try that too and felt conflicted, but they let me do both! I absolutely fell in love with it, and two of the girls in the house even joined me because they saw how much fun I was having, until one of those girls graduated from the program and moved home (sad face), but the other girl still went with me! (That other girl is like my best friend in the entire world now by the way).
After a while, I got kind of bored at the aerial classes because I felt like I was learning faster than they were teaching, and I asked the program if I could try kickboxing and they said yes! I find that so amazing. That I can just decide to try something new and it’s alright with them. In past relationships, I got in trouble for changing my mind, but here it’s accepted, even welcomed! They’re changing my view on everything, it’s crazy. I’m finally able to put my walls down.
Because my walls are finally down, I’m able to let people in. And that’s how they convinced me that I’m smart enough to do University. I had dreams when I was younger of going to University, I got straight A’s in elementary school, but then high school hit and I skipped class and got in with the wrong crowd, and I never graduated. So University seemed impossible to me. Not only the grades, but people had beaten my self-esteem and confidence down so low that I had completely put the idea out of my head. Maybe a community college or something one day. But SHH convinced me I could do it, and now I’m going for my Bachelor of Arts degree with an English major and a Women & Gender studies minor. And I LOVE SCHOOL! It was the best decision I ever made. I’m getting awesome grades, and I actually enjoy it so much.
I could literally go on forever about this program and all different parts of it, but I think I got the main ones out the way for now. I’m so glad they asked me to write this blog, because it just goes to show they actually think I’m an awesome writer, they weren’t just hyping me up to get a degree. LOL. Plus, now I get to share what they do with more people. And maybe then one day there will be more Safe Hope Homes across the country. That would be ideal.
Until next time, x.