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Freedom 60: A thank you letter to Adsum for Women and Children

I had just turned 60 and I knew I had to make some drastic changes in my life, if not I felt certain I would not have a life, or my mind would be so completely gone, that I would not have been any good to myself or anyone else.  I should have been looking forward to retirement and a relaxed future but instead I was sleeping with my phone under my bedclothes ready to dial 911.

My marriage of nearly eighteen years was one of complete control and abuse; I could see no way out because of the scrutiny in which I lived every day. My self confidence was nonexistent and fear ruled my every moment. I had been convinced that I could never make it on my own, so I was just getting through each day, walking a tightrope of fear and lost hope. Until things became so terrifying that I made a run for it.

Someone a few weeks before that decision told me about Adsum Center. The feeling of security and hope I felt when I came through those doors, five months ago, has not left me. My anxiety was so evident that I shook and talked endlessly. I could not go outside the center for months because of the fear my ex-partner had instilled in me.  The first few weeks I did not remember very well, because of the past abuse, but gradually the programs here taught me self confidence and self discovery. All the programs had some kind of healing effect on me especially Therapeutic Change; it was the most difficult program to attend but by far the most beneficial. I would often refer to Megan as “the seam ripper”, because she would often rip open the horrible ugly putrid things in my psyche that made me so fearful and then gave me the tools to deal with them.   Though I did not like to sit still and do things like “arts and crafts” I even learned from that, it forced me to concentrate and socialize in a different setting.

I have so many things to look forward to.  Long forgotten dreams on the dusty shelf of my life are now becoming clearer and they beckon me to start trying again.  I want so much to live and enjoy life and to be a participant in the necessary changes that we need to make in society, especially with regard to spousal abuse and homelessness for women and children.  To all of you who have helped me get my life and health back, I thank you from the bottom of my heart; no words describe your kindness, gentleness and constant care for me during this bleakest time of my life.  Many nights I talked your ears off and rocked the rocking chair so that I could fall to sleep. Your patience with me was overwhelming. Thank you for allowing me to participate in your programs with cooking and baking that was a real ego booster, I never thought that I could cook very well; I just knew that I loved to feed people.

There is so much that this remarkable place, which I have called home for the past five months, helps us with: safety, shelter, clothing, love, respect and acceptance, hope and tools for a better tomorrow.  For anyone considering Adsum as a step in the right direction a word of advice: this is hard work. You will be given all the tools necessary for your life’s direction but you must do the work yourself.

With great appreciation and respect, thank you.

Devorah Rivkah

This story was originally published in the Adsum for Women and Children  annual report 2017-2018. Republished on our site with the kind permission of Devorah and Adsum. Stay tuned for two more stories from first-voice writers about their Adsum experiences in the days to come! And please support the wonderful residents and staff at Adsum for Women and Children. 

See also: Weekend video: Adsum House – I am here


With a special thanks also to our generous donors who make it possible to pay writers such as Devorah for their important stories.