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Susan's Legacy: My Story

Susan's Legacy is a non-profit agency committed to serving women with co-occurring mental health and addictive disorders.

From the time I was a little girl, my most dominate emotion was fear. Living in a home with domestic violence and an alcoholic father, left me always on edge. I didn't understand why the person I trusted and depended on to protect me, would hurt me. I longed to feel safe. So, I did what I needed to do in order to survive. I learned to be compliant, never complain and stay out of the way. Unfortunately, these survival skills lead to phobias, eating disorders, depression and ultimately a suicide attempt.

As an adult, my relationships suffered as well. I couldn't speak up for myself with friends or partners for fear of upsetting them. Sadly, this left me vulnerable to someone who would take advantage of my fears and use them to control and manipulate me for many years.

Out of desperation, I reached out for help. At the time, I didn't have any health insurance, so I needed to find a place that would help me for free. I was so happy when I found Susan's Legacy and relieved when they accepted me as a client.

When I first started, I was very broken and in a lot of pain. Eventually, I started to see things more clearly and I began to think differently. For so long, I hadn't trusted my own thoughts or emotions. It was amazing to finally hear someone say “That makes perfect sense to me.” or “I can understand why you would feel that way.” I remember asking for advice about something that I didn't want to do and I was advised to say, “No, I'm not doing that!”. The thought of saying that had never occurred to me. Although I was terrified, I did use that phrase when the opportunity came along and it was the most empowering thing I had ever said to someone. That day was a turning point in my life. I also learned what a personal boundary was and how to speak up when someone crossed it. There were so many things they had to teach me but I was eager to learn.

It is one thing to read a book or watch a video, but it doesn't compare to having someone walk along side you and encourage you every step of the way. There were several times I would get discouraged with myself if I wasn't progressing as quickly as I wanted. This wonderful lady there would always tell me “That's just your process.” That one sentence, helped me to be patient with myself, get up and keep fighting.

There are so many things Susan's Legacy has done to help me and I am forever grateful to everyone there. Their compassion and wisdom was just what I needed to heal and get stronger. I now feel confident using the tools they gave me to move forward and create a better life for myself and my children. It feels good to have hope again! Perhaps someday, I will be in a position to help others who are stuck where I was. What a privilege that would be to help them find their way out of the darkness, just as I have.


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