I am fortunate to be a self-enrolled client of New Leaf on two separate occasions. My first visit took place I believe in the summer of 2007, and I was blessed to begin a self-awareness approach to my feelings in my personal and professional life. After over a year of involvement, I left New Leaf as I believed I could begin to manage on my own. From 2008 to August of 2020, I considered returning for support, unfortunately I didn’t. In august 2020, I returned after a devastating separation. Once again, I was received with open arms, as of writing this letter, I have made easily over 50 sessions at New Leaf, working with Ron, Bob and Cathy in 2007, and working with Cathy, Harvey, Keegan and Paula in 2020. I share my background for understanding of how the program has developed and the opening nature of a newbie and returning clients. I am sharing my firsthand experience how the New Leaf program helps so many men regain control and sense of self during various life event struggles and crisis. In my August 2020 self-enrollment, I was happy to see Cathy was the New Leaf leader, her calm, caring, direct support is second to none that I have witnessed in involvement with therapy and support groups.
Before my 2020 return to New Leaf, I was feeling very sad, alone, disappointed in myself and completely devastated. I had teary eyes, which I’ve had a lot lately. I went from being an energetic, invincible person with a job that I enjoy, to going through a volatile separation, where I was alone and alienated from any support system and my children. In a few weeks, my life unraveled right in front of me, leaving me feeling angry, hopeless, and helpless and alone, and in disbelief of what had just happened to me.
Once I started back at New Leaf, Cathy, Harvey, Keegan, Paula and the men in group were so uplifting, and treated me with such respect and care. I felt good about myself. For the first time, I realized that I am not alone, that what I’m going through may not be normal for most people, and that there is life every day. I realized that i am not a monster because someone thinks I am.
Being with other men who have encountered similar or worse life changing moments, just like I do - men who are on a similar journey at various stages under the guidance of New Leaf counsellors, who share my feelings and emotions, and who know what I’m going thru and understand me - makes me feel normal; if they can stay positive and approach life with happiness during this hard time, so can I.
I am absolutely indebted to the New Leaf Team, and I am so thankful that it is available. I cannot believe how positive and confident it makes me feel through guidance, teaching of strategies and conversational lessons. No words could ever express my gratitude.
Thank you so much for an amazing labor of love.
I can only speak for myself; I know opening up and talking about what’s “REALLY” going on with you is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced. I was so accustomed to living with trauma, hate and a general detachment from connecting to anyone emotionally. It took me 31 years to get this way. Over those 31 years there’s been ALOT of good, but the bad heavily outweighed any light.
Healing from this seemed farfetched and impossible, it seemed like something unattainable for someone like me. “How could I forgive myself? How can I forgive those who done me harm?” These were questions I’ve asked myself since I was a boy. Also, “Why should I, they don’t deserve it.”
Well… New Leaf has shown me how unhappy and sad I really was, they showed me what I look like carrying all that around for so long. With that, they also showed me MY way of healing and re-connecting that works for ME. Something no jail or therapist ever came close to doing. They gave me the tools I needed that allows me to love myself and others again. If it wasn’t for their wise and sometimes very blunt words, I wouldn’t be writing this. I would be writing letters from a cell that would forever go unread. From me to my child, who if it wasn’t fir this program would be a reality.
Fortunately for me this isn’t the case anymore, now I’m working towards the most important relationship with my child and fighting the good fight.
New Leaf has given me back my hopes and dreams.
“The things others would not do, I did
The rivers others would not swim, I swam
The Mountains others would not climb, I conquered
The bridges others would not cross, I crossed
I have celebrated personal goals
And have mourned
It does not phase me
For I am different
I am a Warrior.”