It is hard to believe I have only known for only seven months now.  Jeff and the support group have provided me a lot of hope and support in a short time.  When I first reached out to Jeff I was in a dark place. Even though I pleaded guilty to wire fraud over 13 years ago I was still ashamed of everything.  I was ashamed not only of what I had done, but what I put my family through. I was ashamed that I made so many bad decisions.

Until I met Jeff, I was trying to run away or hide from my past.  I didn’t want to think about it too much. I try to just keep moving forward.  However, it felt like I was carrying a 50 lb weight on my back. My shame prevented me from enjoying and savoring all the good things that happened in my life.  The shame prevented me from being hopeful about the future.  

After a conversation with Jeff, I started attending the support group meetings.  At first, the support group meetings felt strange. However, I have come to rely on the meetings for strength and support.  There is no judgment at the meetings and everyone there is trying to support each other. Most important of all, I now realize that I do not need live my life in shame.  There is a quote from Brene Brown which reflects what I have received from Jeff and my fellow travelers of the support group: “If we share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.