Fresh Start ToolBox
Are you looking to break away from Love Has Won (or a similar group), but just not sure where to start? Many members living at mission do not have access to the group's finances. They are not employed outside of LHW, and therefore, have little to no money or belongings to call their own. They rely heavily on the group for necessities such as food, shelter, and transportation. Due to these circumstances, the very thought of starting fresh, and rebuilding an identity outside of Love Has Won can be stressful and scary. To help make the process a little easier, we've put together a collection of valuable materials, or what we like to call, a "Fresh Start Toolbox." This virtual toolbox is loaded with resources and suggestions for individuals who have grown dependent on an unsafe group for their basic needs, and wish to become self-supporting.
A great place to begin is by reviewing Dare to Doubt's 5 Tips for Leaving a Cult:
1. Make a plan
"If you need somewhere safe to go, reach out to a family member or friend outside the group. Say you need help...If you don't know anyone outside the group, find out where the nearest local police station or domestic shelter is and how to get there. Notice any bus stops nearby. Just get on a bus if you need to..."
2. Pack a go-bag
"...Try to have a bag or backpack ready with a change of clothes, food, and filled water bottles, unless you're afraid the bag might be discovered...Be prepared for an opportunity to leave by keeping money and a cell phone on you if you have them. Wear sturdy shoes."
3. Don't tell anyone you're leaving
"They may try to talk you out of it, block you, or report your plan to others...Try to go about your business as usual to avoid suspicion."
4. Reach out to others who have left
"Talking with others who have left your group can help encourage and validate your decision to leave. They might even be able to help you..."
5. Get professional counseling
"There are therapists and experts specializing in cult recovery who want to help you. Many were once cult members themselves. Say you are in a destructive group and need help leaving..."
"Leaving a high-demand group often isn't easy. Remember the reasons you doubt or distrust them. Remember YOU are the one looking out for YOU." (To view more from Dare to Doubt: Detaching from Harmful Belief Systems, visit their website!)
Next, collect as much information as you can on resources near you which can help by providing materials and guidance. Feel free to email us at email@example.com with additional questions or details about your situation. Your information will not be shared outside of the Rising Above team without your consent.
The late Margaret Thaler Singer, expert in coercive persuasion and board member of the Cult Awareness Network, wrote,
"From the very early days of my work with ex-cult members, I have noticed that those who have been deprogrammed or counseled out make the easiest, best, and quickest returns to normal life. Other professionals have found the same thing, which suggests that the education and information provided by exit counseling may be extremely valuable, helping those leaving cults to understand their own situation and feelings and to adapt to life in the regular world."
To read more about leaving a cult by Margaret Thaler Singer, click here. For more information regarding exit counseling, see below.
CultRecovery101.com offers an organized list of therapists across the globe with experience in the field of undue influence.
To explore which specialist might be the best fit for you, including professionals specific to California and Colorado, check out the lists below.
If you're still unsure whether or not you are involved in an unsafe group, and could benefit from a consultation with a specialist, take a look at Rosanne Henry's What is a Cult? and The International Cultic Studies Association's Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Denver Area Resources
Located less than 3.5 hours from Salida, Crestone, and Moffat, downtown Denver, CO offers a variety of resources for those in need of shelter, food, and other services. Most of these organizations provide basic necessities free of charge, as well as help with establishing employment and more permanent housing opportunities. Click on the organization to view their hours of operation and to learn more about the services they provide. (Most centers listed here do not require appointments and serve the community on a drop-in basis.)
"The Salvation Army exists to meet human need wherever, whenever, and however we can."
Offers a wide range of services including emergency shelter and financial aid, adult rehabilitation, family counseling, domestic violence
and human trafficking help, worship services, and more.
(Multiple locations in Denver, as well as Colorado Springs, Pueblo and more. Click on the link above to find a location nearest you.)
"St. Francis Center works to provide those in need with some of life’s basic necessities for day-to-day survival..."
Offers meals, mail collection, storage, clothing, employment services, and more.
2323 Curtis Street
Denver, CO 80205
"The Gathering Place is the kind of place that will restore your hope in people..."
Offers meals, laundry facilities, showers and restrooms, emergency clothing, and more.
1535 N High St
Denver, CO 80218
"CCH advocates for and provides a continuum of housing and a variety of services to improve the health, well-being and stability
of those it serves."
Offers a wide range of housing, healthcare, and other support services.
2111 Champa Street
Denver, CO 80205
Phone: (303) 293-2217
"The Delores Project provides safe, comfortable shelter and personalized services for unaccompanied women and transgender
individuals experiencing homelessness."
Offers emergency shelter and extended stay.
Northern California Resources
Love Has Won has a history of moving around the United States. In the past, headquarters was held in Northern California, near Mt. Shasta. In 2021, leadership and several members of the First Contact Ground Crew Team revisited the area for an extended stay. Due to the possibility of LHW returning to this location, the Rising Above team has begun to collect reliable resources in surrounding areas like Dunsmuir and Redding.
The quickest way to get answers is by visiting 2-1-1 Shasta.
"2-1-1 Shasta connects people with community services in Shasta County. You can:
Text your zip code to 898211
Call 2-1-1 to connect with a call specialist for personalized service any time, day or night. (Callers from out of county or TTY users may dial 855-211-7822.)
Choose a specific category on their website that best fits your immediate need."
2-1-1-Shasta has wide range of local advocacy services available on their website, including access to clothing, food, financial relief, transportation, housing, medical care, counseling and crisis services, addiction management, and so much more. Those seeking suggestions can also email Rising Above staff or send a message to our Facebook page.
More resources will be added soon!