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On Labor Day weekend of 2007, while stationed in Okinawa, Japan, I was sexually assaulted by a fellow Air Force member during an alcoholic blackout. To cope with my feelings afterward, I chose to get drunk as much as possible, to stay numb. Two months later, I returned home as a military sexual trauma survivor and an active alcoholic who had finally hit bottom. I got sober right away. Unfortunately, for the first several years of my sobriety, my trauma symptoms ran the show. With every trigger, my fear would kick in and I’d automatically either freeze or run away. I felt like a crazy person because I couldn’t control my own thoughts and behaviors.

In 2014, a dear friend told me about a new Healing Warrior Hearts retreat focused on military sexual trauma. I was absolutely blown away by how much healing I experienced in just one weekend. The following month, I attended Taking It Lightly and healed even more. By the end of my second retreat, I was already asking how I could become an instructor! As a training requirement, I became certified as a Reiki Level I Practitioner, and loved it so much that I continued to pursue Reiki. I’m a Reiki Master now, and I’m truly humbled by how powerfully energy work compliments trauma healing. In January 2017, I attended Trauma Recovery Facilitator Training, officially marking the start of my instructor apprenticeship journey.

Since those first two weekends in the fall of 2014, I’ve staffed many retreats for both Healing Warrior Hearts and Taking It Lightly, and it is an incredible honor to witness other survivors come home to their hearts, to notice them standing taller and speaking more confidently, to see that sparkle return to their eyes. These are just some of the beautiful miracles of trauma recovery, and I’m blessed to call this my lifework.


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