Imagine living in a home surrounded by violence, and seeing life crumble right from under your feet. That’s how one Twin City resident felt nearly six months ago.

She remembers that time, as if it was yesterday.

“The person had a serious problem,” she said. “They became addicted to pain medication and started lashing out through emotional and financial abuse.”

She tried to forgive the abuser numerous times. However, she knew when it was time to set her foot down and escape the violence.

“While the abuser never hurt me physically, I became an emotional wreck and needed help,” she said.

Then, someone close to her offered a few kind words and a suggestion that she could find help from Abuse Alternatives Inc., a local nonprofit organization that protects, lends support and makes victims of abuse become stronger.

“I have no idea where I would be if it wasn’t for the kindhearted people at the center,” she said.

Abuse Alternatives is among nearly 30 nonprofit agencies across the Tri-Cities that receive financial funding and support from the United Way of Bristol, which annually helps tens of thousands across the region.

Currently, the United Way of Bristol is conducting its annual fundraising campaign, which runs through Nov. 15.

The theme of this year’s campaign is, “Making Our Communities A Better Place to Live,” the campaign’s fundraising goal is $1.4 million, the most ever because the need is greater than ever, United Way officials said. All of the money raised will stay local within the community.

The Abuse Alternatives center provides clients with a welcome bag, toiletries, towels and linens, plus the opportunity to cook and live their lives as stress-free as possible.

“The great thing about our center is we provide a confidential setting for people to talk and get the support they need,” Executive Director Kathy Johnson said. “Domestic violence is one of those things that knows no boundaries, we want people to know our services are available.”

Going into a shelter like Abuse Alternatives allows victims to regain control of their lives and become confident in themselves again, and that’s exactly what the Tri-Cities woman found.

“The person who caused trouble has been – removed from my life,” she said. “I can proudly say thanks to Abuse Alternatives, I’m living on my own and doing well.”

Printed with permission by:  Zach Irby, Bristol Herald Courier

(276) 645-2547

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