“Somewhere along the way, I had surrounded myself with a barrier to keep people at a distance, where they couldn't see the secrets I carried around inside of me. I felt alone, isolated, hidden behind my own wall of shame. But during the Shadow Weekend, I was able to bring some of my secrets out into the light. I began to realize that all the things I’m thinking and feeling have a truth and honesty within them and because they do, they are not things I need to be ashamed of.

“Most of all, I learned that I was not alone. I discovered that in my thought processes and my emotional self I am more similar to other men than I ever imagined. I was part of a brotherhood where I could share my secrets and shed light on my isolated places and still be accepted for who I am. For the first time in my life, I was part of a community where I really belonged, one where I no longer felt like an outsider trying to hide my shame from others.

“It is now three years later and I think I still benefit from that weekend every day of my life. I’m more able to embrace those parts of my personality that I wanted to keep private. And I understand that every dark aspect of myself also has a light side that gives me true worth.”


Victories of the Heart, NFP is an Illinois not for profit corporation. Donations are exempt from income, gift, and estate taxes under Section 101 of the Internal Revenue Code. Victories does not offer professional services that would subject it to regulation or registration by any state or professional licensing body.

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