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Heart of the House

Musings from the CEO’s Desk

Failure is an Opportunity!

 Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently (Henry Ford).

Have you ever tried and failed? It doesn’t matter. Try again and again and again. The great actor Mickey Rooney said, “You always pass failure on your way to success”. The human spirit is more resilient than we realise, and the only real failure is when you decide not to get up again. Many women enter our program after years of addiction, suffering from eating disorders, self-harm or other mental-health diagnoses. Without exception, all have suffered attachment traumas in childhood. For some, we are their first attempt at turning their lives around. For others, we are the 2nd, 3rd or even 15th attempt at residential treatment. In my own journey to beating heroin addiction, I tried many times to stop using drugs. For eleven years I would have brief weeks or months of sobriety. At one point, even 15 months! However, I never really dealt with the core issues from childhood that crippled my wrong core beliefs into adulthood. Twenty-five years ago, I finally accepted I could never use drugs again. That’s history. It takes a lot of courage to enter a program asking for help. It takes so much more courage to stay and complete a program. Even more courage to reach out for help in years to come if you relapse or find yourself struggling again. Failing is only ever failure when you give up!

Janine Epere

CEO Destiny Haven

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You Can’t Save the Damsel if She Loves Her Distress

Surely a woman would not choose to stay unwell? Surely, if given the opportunity, a woman whose life has spiralled out of control would do what it takes if they discovered a solution? Surely addiction, mental health diagnoses, starving, purging, cutting or other conditions that prevent you living your life at all, would not be something you want to be defined by? Oh, I wish this was the truth. People who have never understood what it means to be controlled by the obsession to abuse drugs or alcohol, to hurt yourself almost daily, live with crippling eating disorders or spend years in and out of mental health units simply cannot fathom the attraction. As a woman who was once controlled by my addiction to drugs and alcohol, I can tell you that often the distress caused in your own life and the lives of those you love is sadly a comfort zone. I’ve spent more than 12 years working and living with women at Destiny Haven. Many come seeking help, but it is soon apparent they are not ready or don’t believe they need to be here. Others come, but we soon realise that they are comfortable with their illness. It is familiar and means living life with NO responsibility. They just do not want to get well and do what it takes to become responsible, healthy human beings. There is no truer statement than, “You cannot save the Damsal, if she loves her distress”. We are thankful for the ones who are grateful for the opportunity to get a life back that doctors or psychiatrists or even popular opinion has said to them they will always have. So many discover diagnoses of conditions such as bi-polar, personality disorder, chronic depression have been given because doctors/psychs were never informed of drug or alcohol use. Many mental health professionals don’t spend the necessary time to explore whether a woman has had significant unresolved childhood trauma that may cause them to be so chronically depressed with uncontrollable mood swings. I’m not saying that there are no conditions as above, but I cannot tell you how many women arrive with so much medication that they cannot experience ANY emotion, positive or negative. They are flat-lined. It brings so much joy to watch women blossom as they reduce prescription meds and discover their worth and the depths of feelings available to us all. They learn to live lives where they have faced their pasts, let go of it and reach forward for the full and rewarding future God designed for them to step into.

Janine Epere

CEO Destiny Haven

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We are All Created with Purpose and Unique Destiny

The beautiful women who come to Destiny have grown up believing they are worthless, rejectable, not good enough and not loveable. They have labelled themselves many things and those labels have become wrong and limiting beliefs. These beliefs have defined their lives and caused them to enter unhealthy relationships, and form unhealthy life controlling coping mechanisms in adulthood. This is one reason we chose to affectionately and deliberately call our girls “Diamonds”, rather than clients or residents.

We want each of them to know from the moment they arrive that they are all unique, beautiful and loved by God unconditionally; ‘that the one person they are destined to become is the person they decide to be’ (Emerson). However, you cannot be that until you face your painful past; until you choose to begin to speak truth into your own soul instead of the lies you’ve repeated most of your life. You must begin to believe that truth. Each of us is created with purpose and unique destiny! Only each person can choose to rise above both their painful past and their bad choices. Everyone must decide to step courageously into the amazing dream filled future we are all designed to live.

Janine Epere

CEO Destiny Haven

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Extravagance of Love

Two years ago I commented on this quote. There is such rich truth in this that keeps me returning to ponder its wisdom. To embody the extravagance of love, WILL lead to a thousand “mistakes”. It means loving and forgiving many times over and facing betrayal. In my case, women reaching a stage in the program where the deeper work begins – then they leave. Or, believing the best for them and they choose to return to their lives of addiction or other life controlling conditions. Choosing to love and give, again and again, even when it looks like you are getting nowhere with those you are trying to help. Life as a human being is gloriously messy. However, I once lived with crippling fear; paralysed to embrace any meaningful relationship because I had been hurt many times. I knew that vulnerability took courage and the risk was too scary. I am ever grateful for having discovered the gift of God’s extravagant love that has transformed me and caused me to love extravagantly all those who come to Destiny Haven hurting and broken. And yes, I’ve made many mistakes in loving…. but, I would never want to return to a life where I lived wary and closed off for fear that I may get hurt! Fear is a paralysing emotion that prevents us letting anyone see the real us in case of rejection. Fear caused me to live so self protectively, I pushed away the very ones who could help me and who loved me. Love on the other hand is life transforming when given extravagantly and without restraint…even when it sometimes hurts and involves risk – often great risk! Tragically, too many people dread giving love away and so, remain locked in a cycle of perpetual self-sabotage. I choose extravagant love and the messiness that it brings because those who have not known unconditional love need to know that it is available and it is life changing.

Janine Epere

CEO Destiny Haven

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A Brave, New Ending

When we deny our story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending – Brene Brown


I love this quote because I know it is true. Over the many years I have been privileged to work with lives that are broken, and from my own life’s story – I know that when we push down hurt and pain, or pretend we never struggle, the hurt and the struggles own us. Maybe you’ve spent your life trying to smooth over the hurt feelings of others. But undealt with hurt turns into resentment, anger, bitterness and separation. If we truly desire to live emotionally honest, authentic and connected, our past is part of that. Owning our mistakes and failures enables us to grow and change. Courage and vulnerability never feel comfortable, but owning our stories is standing in our truth and choosing not to allow our past to define our future. I am always amazed how some women come through Destiny Haven and then want to pretend they were never here as if it is somehow shameful that they went through a residential program. Choosing to change your life when it is a mess is the bravest thing I believe a person can ever do. Entering a program knowing that it is going to take many long months to sift through the years of damage and pain is scary. Choosing then to be vulnerable and allow others into that pain is downright heroic! But when women do? We watch them emerge with grace and dignity, choosing to do whatever it takes so that they can finally write a brave new ending that is inspirational. I will never be ashamed of my story because when I finally overcame addiction 25 years ago, I know that my story has given me a much greater capacity to empathise and love unconditionally. I also know my story gives others hope that change is possible, because the woman I was when I was a heroin addict was not a pleasant person at all! I know the depths in my own heart and I know the healing touch in my life of a God who never gave up on me, who never fails me and who gave me another chance at life that I will never take for granted.

Janine Epere

CEO Destiny Haven

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