When I was young my father had an airplane. I would often get to fly as co-pilot, and I treasured the times we spent in the air. My father made sure we were prepared for any situation in the air, and took the time to explain how things worked. He would prepare the plane and run diagnostic tests to make sure that it was safe to fly. He also had a variety of tools, gadgets and maps that he would keep organized. Sometimes it was my job to pass him a map or an item he needed. I remember that one clear day he showed me his training glasses. The glasses looked like eye protection but had the simulation of clouds on the upper section of the lenses, exactly where your eyes would need to see out the front window. He put them on me and immediately I was confused, how could anyone use these as training?
My father said that all pilots learn to fly with these training glasses on, because they need to be prepared for the unexpected. He explained, ”at some point, you will fly on a day that isn’t clear or a storm will pop up, and you have to be prepared”. When a storm comes and clouds surround a plane, the pilot cannot rely on their sense of sight to direct them. Pilots have to refer back to training and use the measurement tools and readings that are provided to them on maps and on their instrument panel to “see” where they are going and direct them out of hazards and towards safety.
What a profound idea in every way. The best way to be ready for the storm is to build up skills and senses, to be ready when situations get overwhelming. I have learned my father’s habit of planning and being prepared, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I remembered how simple and profound his explanation was and began to apply it to different aspects of my life. I often trust my feelings to guide me through my everyday life, but sometimes in a crisis, I may get thrown off course. Depression, addiction, and mental illness can be the clouds or storms that make it difficult to know what to do. Learning life skills, coping skills, seeking help when needed, and having a support system are ways to prepare for the unexpected. At Brookhaven Retreat ®, LLC clients experience a safe and nurturing environment for recovery throughout their stay, and alumnae leave prepared with skills to approach difficulties and challenging situations that may arise.