Success Story: A Personal Story from SAIF

My first visit to SAIF was 3 months before I started counseling with them. I walked in not knowing what to expect and walked out with information that would help me begin my journey out of the terrible situation I was in. The word abuse was to strong for what I felt was going on in my life, I thought it only happened to other people and that I would know if it were happening to me. But as I reviewed the information from SAIF, and checked off all of the warning signs of an abusive relationship, I realized that abuse was a closer friend to me than I knew.

Eventually I was able to admit what was going on in my life and get over the shame and disgust with myself for getting into such a relationship. When I was able to face the truth, the journey was no longer lonely or impossible. I could reach out and find supports and help that I desperately needed. After someone takes everything you are away from you, it makes sense then that someone else can help you get it back.

My counseling experiences were difficult and exhilarating, I raising an infant while finishing my degree at university after I left my ex partner. The one thing that my counseling always involved was a redirection of my attention back onto myself. It was that one hour on Wednesdays that I could go and sit down somewhere safe and talk about the little bits of myself that I could still recognize. It made me feel strong enough to take the suggestion from my counsellor and attend a group support meeting once a week.

I can’t tell you how much I had wished that elevator would have fallen on its way up so that I didn’t have to go into the first group meeting. But it didn’t, and in actuality the meetings helped to lift me back up on my feet every week when I had inevitably fallen down again. It was my first experience being honest with people who would actually care and understand. No one seems to want to talk about abuse but these people wanted to know and wanted to hear and could say, ‘I know, I have been there too.’ With the courage and support that I received from those group members I started to recognize myself in the mirror again.

Without SAIF I had no one to talk to and no where to go for help. I look back now and remember thinking I was weak for leaving and had made a huge mistake. I would never have known how wrong how I was without the help I was able to access at SAIF.