Finding freedom from abuse isn’t a straight path or a checklist of items that once you check them off, you’re free. In our 41 years of providing 24/7 services, we know that change doesn’t happen overnight, and even when someone gets help and starts doing the hard work, they can still find themselves in abusive relationships again. That’s where new beginnings come in. There is always the opportunity to have a fresh start.

For one Stepping Stones resident, her new beginning feels like a second chance. Sandy* first came to Stepping Stones in 2018 feeling like she was at rock bottom and wanting a change for her and her daughter.

“I was welcomed into the shelter at the worse place I’d ever thought I’d be. I learned that there are people – real, genuine people – that care and understand everything I put myself and daughter through. I learned to trust, was educated and given tools, and every necessity I could ever hope for.”

Sandy moved out of shelter in 2019 with her own apartment, a job, and equipped wth those tools she learned at Stepping Stones. But nine months later, she “invited domestic violence back” into their lives.

“Everything I worked so hard for slowly and miserably changed right back into the same insane, distraught life I had given myself for so many years before. I instinctively isolated my daughter and myself, feeling the guilt, shame, and despair. I eventually acted on suicide as my answer, but changed my mind instantly and reversed my actions. Then I ran dragging my daughter 1200 miles away leaving everything we owned. When I came to my senses, I knew I had to come back for our safety. That’s when I brought us back to Stepping Stones.”

After a year away, Sandy returned to shelter for safety and support as she worked through the abuse she experienced again.
“Advocates welcomed us back with care and concern, without judgement, only love and hope to help us.”

Now, Sandy is back in a safe place, she is able to focus again on taking an honest self-inventory and addressing the areas in her life that kept her vulnerable to abuse. Additionally, she says that things are sinking in differently this time since she’s been back at Stepping Stones. She is helping to mentor new women coming into our program and is focused on getting therapy for herself and her daughter.

It’s never too late for a new beginning and a second chance. If you or someone you know needs support because of past or present abuse, call our advocates at 928-445-4673. They are available day and night to listen and help.