Every town that I have lived in, I have always found a favorite “safe” place. What I’m talking about is a place that when in a panic, your body automatically travels to in order to feel safe and comforted. When I was very little it was an older neighbor’s home filled with afghan blankets, floral print velvet and cookies. As I moved and got older it was an orchard that my family used to go apple picking at, and that when I learned to drive, my car automatically took me there.
When I see friends and family struggling with mental health, depression, grief and addiction, I see people searching for “safe” places. Often times instead of safety they turn to the false refuge of destructive behaviors or habits that only add to the stress.
In moments of stress and fear our minds and bodies take us back to familiar places or safe places when things get out of control. When struggling with addiction or grief, it sometimes feels like there is no safe place, and we are drawn to what makes us feel good temporarily or what feels comfortable. Familiar places may be painful states of mind that we go back to because we don’t know what to do. If you get upset or you start to shut down sometimes you reset to the most comforting and most reoccurring habit. Things like over eating, destructive behaviors, or addictions, can all be painful false refuges for stress and pain, and a poor substitute for true refuge and nourishment.
When I think about my destructive behavior as a false refuge, it teaches me to be kind to myself. I can see my reactions in a different way and value true health and safety. I have to train myself to seek out the healthy and be comforted by other things. Brookhaven Retreat®, LLC is utilizes unique programs that focus on relearning behaviors and practicing new life skills that can drastically impact the recovery process, even when stress and triggers arise. Recovering is not about decreasing stress and triggers, but learning how to minimize the stress and maximize the healthy skills to cope and thrive through the unsafe and triggering events that happen.