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Brookhaven Retreat Blog
Saturday, 28 June 2014 20:20

Map Coasters

Whether it is the town we grew up in or the destined island we have dreams of going to, each of us has a city, state or country that holds special meaning to us. For many reasons, mental health issues, finances or hectic schedules included, we may not get the chance to visit these places as often as we would like, if at all, but highlighting our lives with these meaningful destinations can be pretty easy.

Before the days of GPS, paper maps were all we had to point us in the right direction. They were confusing, stressful and a little overwhelming, but they remain an iconic memorabilia of the summer family vacations, random road trips and overall excitement that journeys bring.

Turning these now antiquated and underutilized maps into unique and personal coasters you use each day is an excellent way to keep the positive feelings and inspiration of these special memories and future travels close to your heart.

Items needed:

  • Sandstone coasters
  • Map of a place that is special to you
  • Cardboard or cardstock
  • Foam brush
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge


  1. Trace coaster on cardstock or cardboard and cut out the shape; this will be your template.
  2. Trace the shape of the coaster from the template on the map and cut out.
  3. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the back of the map and coaster.
  4. Press the map onto the coaster, smooth out from center working outwards to remove air bubbles.
  5. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the coaster and let it dry.
Published in Brookhaven Blog
Saturday, 28 June 2014 20:05

Summer Thai Shrimp and Noodle Salad

Long for something fresh, spicy and sweet? This elegant dish is surprisingly easy and full of fresh vegetables and spices. It is a low-calorie dinner that is rich in nutrients for better physical and mental health. The diverse blend of sweet fruit and spicy Thai flavor makes for a swoon-worthy dinner that is a perfect way to de-stress while savoring every bite.

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili paste or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces maifun (dried thin rice noodles)
  • 2 cups bean sprouts or blanched snow peas
  • ½ bell pepper (any color) seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, torn in half
  • ½ cup fresh Asian basil or sweet basil leaves torn in half
  • 3 fresh peaches with give, peeled, halved pitted and sliced ¼ inch thick or cut into ½ inch cubes, or 2 cups diced canned or frozen peaches in the off season
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Fish sauce paste and chili paste for seasoning
  • Chopped peanuts, for garnish

Shrimp Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 12 to 18 large (size 41-50 or bigger) shrimp, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

For the Dressing:

Stir together all the ingredients, mixing well. Set aside and allow the flavors to meld.

For the Salad:

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. They are ready when they are like al dente pasta, not dry in the middle and not mushy. Drain the noodles in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain again, shaking the colander to remove and excess water.

Transfer the drained noodles to a large salad bowl; add the bean sprouts, bell peppers, onions, cilantro, and basil. Reserve a little of the cilantro/basil for garnish. Add the peaches and dressing and toss gently with tongs. Season with salt and pepper, then taste and adjust with the fish sauce and chili paste.

For the shrimp:

Place a wok or deep skillet over medium to high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and garlic and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, until done. The shrimp are ready when they turn a pink color on the outside and meat is white and no longer translucent and gray.

Divide the salad among individual plates, distributing the peaches evenly. Arrange the shrimp on top of the salads and then drizzle the salads with any pan drippings. Garnish with the reserved cilantro and/or basil and the peanuts and serve.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Friday, 27 June 2014 17:20

Strategies For The Chronically Late

Chronic lateness can be frustrating for the people left waiting, and create stress, anxiety and increased irritability for those struggling to arrive on time. Most people who are late do not want to be late. Lateness is much more complex than acting selfish or inconsiderate. Chronically late people feel they have no control over their inability to calculate and manage their time.

Studies have shown that people who are always late generally struggle with self-control issues such as impulse shopping, frequent binge drinking and unceasing procrastination. There are, however, strategies that can curb your lateness and help you get to your destination on time and free of stress.

Re-evaluate Time. It’s easy to underestimate the time it takes to do something. You may think it only takes 10 minutes to get to work but in reality it takes 12 minutes, so you are consistently 2 minutes late. You estimate it takes an hour to shower, fix your hair, put makeup on and get dressed; but what about the extra 20 minutes of inevitable distractions. To re-evaluate just how long it takes to do everything you have to do before you leave the house, write down the time it actually takes to do them. That way your estimations will be far more accurate and you can start leaving on time.

Plan to arrive 15 minutes early. 15 minutes gives you enough time to get stuck at lengthy stoplights or have trouble finding a parking spot. When you aren’t rushing to get somewhere you will be happier and have less anxiety.

Care for yourself. If you are constantly late because you are always going from one place to another, then it may be your busy schedule that needs to be adjusted. Not only does over scheduling cause you to be late, it also damages our emotional, physical and mental health. It is important to give yourself that chance to relax, relieve stress and breathe. We must learn how to say no to additional obligations when we find ourselves overwhelmed, stressed and unable to leave enough time between each commitment.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Friday, 27 June 2014 04:33

Cool As Cucumber

Cucumbers are the perfect summer food for a refreshing burst of rehydration.

The cucumber is a type of melon that comes from the same family as watermelon, zucchini and other squash. You can find cucumbers in various shapes and sizes: crisp Persian and Kirby varieties are perfect for salads and pickles, longer varieties like the English and burpless, and specialty varieties like the round lemon cucumber. Cucumbers are available year-round but they peak in the summer. Choose firm, unwaxed cucumbers without wrinkles, soft or slimy spots or withered ends. Refrigerate cucumbers unwashed and wrapped in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.

Health Benefits of Cucumbers

Hydration - Cucumbers are about 96% water making them great for rehydration, perfect for summer. So if you’re spending some time in the heat of the summer sun, try eating some cucumber to help stay refreshed and hydrated.

Vitamins - Cucumbers contain vitamins A and C, as well as small amounts of folate, manganese, molybdenum, and potassium. Most of a cucumbers vitamin A is found in the skin, so try consuming the skin as well (you may need to buy organic since conventional varieties are coated in wax).

Alkalinity - The alkalinity of the minerals in cucumber help regulate the body’s blood pH, neutralizing acidity. This helps reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses.

Skin & Hair - Cucumbers can be used to relieve sunburn, as well as reduce eye puffiness. This is due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They can also promote hair growth due to their silica and sulfur content.

Cancer Prevention - Cucumbers are a valuable source of vitamin antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. Cucumbers also contain numerous flavonoid antioxidants, including quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, which help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This aids in cancer development.

Chilled Cucumber, Basil, and Mint Soup

This cool cucumber soup is the perfect blend of herbs, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Add a little tangy zing to your summer luncheon by trying this refreshing chilled soup.


  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: Thin cucumber slices


  1. Puree sour cream or yogurt, basil, mint, scallion, and water in a blender.
  2. Add cucumber.
  3. Pulse until just combined but still slightly chunky.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and hot sauce, and season with salt.
  5. Chill soup at least 3 hours (soup is best served the same day).
  6. Top each serving with thin cucumber slices if desired.


Published in Brookhaven Blog
Thursday, 26 June 2014 02:16

Criticism: Choosing To Be Willing Over Willful

It can hard to hear the negative things people think about us. Whether it’s what we do, what we say, or what we look like, no one likes to hear the bad. I grew up with the expression, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all,” and although this saying has a good fundamental meaning, for the longest time I thought it applied all the time and to every situation. I became too sensitive and hearing even constructive criticism was hard to accept.

It wasn’t until I realized that most criticism is the catalyst to growth that I made a conscious effort to really analyze what good and necessary criticism was and that I couldn’t let it effect my self-esteem and self-value. Sometimes, saying something “not nice” is necessary, and we need to be willing to embrace it without becoming offended.

When someone criticizes us, it is easy to retort with a critique back. Instead of being open to the harsh words we get offended and only hear “I’m not good enough.” This instinctual reaction usually just escalates the issue and makes us look willful, stubborn and defensive. To avoid this, it is crucial that we make the distinction between an attack and a request.

Through this self-analysis we might also recognize the tendency to project our established insecurities on to the apparent critic. For example, someone who is insecure about his or her social shyness and anxiety might overreact to a comment made about being quiet that wasn’t intended to be malicious at all.

To avoid overreacting and further escalation it is necessary we understand where the criticism stems from. When our boss informs us we need to be more productive, or our significant other tells us we don’t wash the dishes properly, instead of getting defensive, view it as an opportunity to improve upon skills that you might be lacking. It can be especially hard to hear criticism about sensitive topics such as fluctuating weight or an unhealthy lifestyle from friends and family. In these situations try to focus on where the criticism and concern originates, is it out of legitimate concern?

Criticism can be distressing, embarrassing and anxiety-provoking, but it is inescapable. We must practice willingness to accept and embrace our “lesser strengths” and avoid the instinct to retaliate and overreact when they are pointed out.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 02:58

What You Probably Don’t Know About Aloe

We have an aloe plant in our kitchen. It isn’t particularly pretty but being that it can withstand freezing temperatures all the way to 120 degrees, and it’s pretty hard to over water or under-water, it is the perfect plant for beginners to start growing.

Besides being a great introductory houseplant, aloe contains ample amounts of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, E, B, folic acid and choline. Potassium, calcium, selenium, iron and 8 of the essential amino acids are all richly found within this super plant. We probably all know aloe as a summer necessity, but with all of these nutrients, it is no surprise the aloe plant offers many physical and mental health benefits.

Improves Mental Health: Aloe can help regulate appetite and sleep rhythm thanks to the amino acid tryptophan, which aids in the production of serotonin. Serotonin supports feelings of relaxation and reduces depression. Recent studies also indicate aloes ability improve memory.

Improves Illnesses: Aloe vera helps diabetic patients lower fasting blood sugar levels. It also improves circulation to our arms and legs, which fights neuropathy. Aloe lowers cholesterol level and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Removes Toxins: The gel component that is found within the leaf flows slowly through your body, absorbing toxins along the way that are later removed from the body. Removing these toxins allows your body to better absorb vitamins and minerals

Fights Inflammation: Aloe is an anti-inflammatory. Topically, this helps ease joint pain and stiffness, and ingested it reduces inflammation throughout the entire body.

Aids In Healthy Digestion: Aloe has great effects on our digestive system. It aids in digestion by triggering the release of the stomach enzyme pepsin. Its anti-inflammatory properties facilitate in healing stomach ulcers, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Skin’s Best Friend: Aloe vera help to heal wounds, burns, scars and even bug bites. It is probably most notable for its ability to soothe sunburned skin, this is because it is an analgesic and antipuritic. This means that aloe can relieve pain and itching.

Moisturizing: Aloe is 99 percent water, which means it works great as a skin moisturizer. It increases elasticity and softens skin, as well improving blood flow to the surface of our skin.

Hair Health: If you are suffering from hair loss or an itchy scalp, aloe vera may be just what you need. Aloe balances the pH of the scalp and removes dead skin cells and bacteria, helping to lock in moisture and promote hair growth and shine.

Aloe can be consumed in capsule form, juice form, or raw. If eaten raw or in a juice, cut the leaf and use the gel. Here is a fair warning, raw aloe gel is very bitter by itself. Adding to water or mixing with other vegetables and fruits in a smoothie or juice can improve the taste significantly!

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 03:49

4 Ways To Improve Body Confidence

The arrival of the official start to summer means no more covering up and hiding under baggy sweaters and old sweatpants, but time to welcome tank tops, trendy shorts and possibly even bathing suits. This switch can spark body image issues, especially in women.

In a world where “thin is in,” and even the “plus sized” models are airbrushed, body confidence is at an all time low. This low self-esteem can even cause some women become depressed and anxious, forcing them to stay remain isolated all summer and avoid social gatherings such as pool parties and beach trips.

We expect to look the same in our 30s, 40s and 50s as we did in our early 20s, but the reality is that as we age our bodies age. We have to learn to accept it, work with it, and love ourselves just the same.

Here are a few tips to increase your body confidence this summer and all year:

  • Remember everyone is insecure. Have you ever noticed when a group of friends take a picture the very first thing each one does is zoom straight in on themselves? You probably have no idea if other people look good in the picture, only whether or not it is a good picture of you. We all have insecurities, and honestly, we are all too caught up in our own flaws we often do not recognize others’.
  • Stop complaining about your insecurities. I can’t imagine a time before I noticed the arrow in the FedEx truck because now it is all I see when I look at it! Well, this is like that tiny little flaw you hate about yourself. Your ears are too big? I would have never noticed if you hadn’t pointed them out, but you did, and now I see it. One thing I have learned is that complaining about your problem area just draws more attention to it. So instead of dwelling on your insecurities, act confident. Others will believe you and you will start feeling more confident as well.
  • Embrace your body’s every shape. Our bodies might not be where we ultimately want them, but dressing in clothes that are unflattering, and refusing to buy the correct size because “one day I will fit in it” is doing no favors to your body confidence. Having tangible motivation in the form of a fancy dress can help jump-start your work out efforts, but forcing yourself to wear ill-fitting clothes in the meantime is no way to love the body you have now.
  • Compliment yourself. Standing in the mirror judging every inch of your body, zeroing on your least favorite parts will only destroy your mood, energy and confidence. Become mindful of what you are saying to yourself when you look in the mirror, would you say those things to your insecure friend? When you catch yourself saying you hate your thighs, counteract it with a compliment about what you do love about yourself.

Watching our bodies change can be tough, but there really is no way around it. As long as we exercise, eat nutritiously and feel great, we should be confident no matter what the size on our pants or number on the scale.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Sunday, 22 June 2014 05:32

Smart Phone Seduction

Wake up. Push the home button on the phone to see the time. Lie in bed and scroll through social networks before getting up. Shower and dress. Check phone again during breakfast. Drive to work. Put phone on desk. Check every 30 minutes for new texts or emails. Call someone during drive home. Keep phone close by at all times, responding to messages just as they arrive. Turn on TV. Pick up phone during commercial – play a game or check social networks. Get ready for bed. Look at phone while brushing teeth. Plug phone in to charge on bedside table. Sleep. Repeat.

This pattern that I follow is not one that I am particularly proud of. It’s also not one that my family is too fond of, either. I catch myself all the time saying “Huh?” and asking my husband to repeat himself. Or I don’t even know he’s talking and he’ll say, “Did you hear me?” Yikes. That’s not good. Many times, the kids want to play, and I brush them off because I’m looking up something or answering some text. When I think about it, I want to smack myself! I know that when I am sitting at my child’s high school graduation, I will not wish that I had answered a text more promptly. I will wish that I had played legos or catch more often.

All right. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Check! The second step is finding solutions. I don’t think my smart phone tendencies are quite at the level of addiction, but they definitely fall under the category of a bad habit. So I did some searching on ways to change bad habits – specifically in regards to smart phones. Here are a few tips that have helped me to be more aware of my phone faux pas.

  1. Delete applications that are your go-to time suckers. You can still access Facebook and Twitter from the browser if you want, but deleting the application forces you to go an extra step to get there. This alone can be enough of a reminder that you are trying to break a bad habit to stop you from reaching for the phone.
  2. Keep your phone plugged in somewhere other than your bedroom. Lots of studies have shown that looking at a screen just before bed or first thing in the morning is not great for you. I know that many people hesitate to do this because their phones serve as alarm clocks, but don’t let that stop you from making a change. Alarm clocks are cheap and can be purchased pretty much anywhere.
  3. Tell friends and family that you are trying to cut back on phone time. This accountability will help you not to feel guilty when you don’t answer someone right away. People who care about you will understand and want to support you.
  4. Leave it at home. This is hard for me to even imagine sometimes. But when I am going out with my family, my husband will have his phone, so anyone who needs me for an emergency will surely call him. Really, what’s so important that it can’t wait a few hours?
  5. Turn it off. If leaving the phone at home is too much (or if you are going out alone), you can always turn it off for a bit. Let your family members know that you are going to have your phone off at dinner with a friend. They could call the restaurant if they really need you. After all, there was a time before cell phones, and we all survived it just fine.
Published in Brookhaven Blog

If you are looking to astound your dinner guests, this impressive, yet surprisingly simple, recipe is perfect. The pistachio crust pairs exquisitely with the freshness of the sea bass and the sweet and spicy tomato curry broth.


  • 4 (6 ounce) sea bass fillets, skin removed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups Pistachio Crust (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tomato Curry Broth (recipe follows)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place the sea bass fillets on a plate.
  3. Sprinkle the topsides with salt and pepper.
  4. Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of water in a shallow dish.
  5. Place the pistachio crust in a pie plate.
  6. Working with 1 fillet at a time, dip the bottom side of the fish into the egg mixture and place on the Pistachio Crust mixtures, with the egg-wash side down.
  7. Set aside and heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
  8. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt.
  9. Lift the fillets from the Pistachio Crust mixture and place them in the skillet, pistachio side down.
  10. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  11. Carefully flip the fillets with a spatula and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  12. Serve in a shallow serving bowl, ladling the Tomato Curry Broth around the fish, and serve immediately.

Pistachio Crust:


  • ¾ cup roasted slated shelled pistachios
  • ¾ cup panko break crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Combine the pistachios, salt, pepper and panko in a food processor and pulse for 5 pulses, or until blended.
  2. Continue to process for an additional 8 seconds, or until finely ground.

Tomato Curry Broth:


  • 1 cup V8 juice
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup coconut milk v¼ teaspoon no-salt Creole seasoning
  • ¾ to 1-teaspoon curry powder


  1. Combine the V8 juice, broth, coconut milk, Creole seasoning and curry powder.
  2. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Source: Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Sunday, 22 June 2014 01:53

DIY Journal

We’ve all probably kept a journal or diary of some sort growing up. But unfortunately, not many people continue this form of expression into adulthood. Journaling is an under-utilized form of therapy. There is a reason as adolescents we chose to write about the boys we liked and the fights with friends.

Journaling releases thoughts and feelings that initially can be difficult to share with others. Women often find understanding by just freely writing down their thoughts and feelings. This tool reveals the progress that a woman makes in her feelings, her thinking and her communication skills while in treatment and at home. Seeing how far they have come in the recovery journey gives women the strength and confidence to keep going.

Your journal becomes a haven. It should be unique and personal, a place where you feel free to express yourself. Making your own journal allows you to be creative and have fun personalizing it to fit your own distinctly awesome qualities!

Here are the directions for creating your own journal:


  • Cardboard: 2 pieces, 6.5 X 9.5 inches
  • Several sheets of paper for the pages, I used white 9X12
  • Duct tape
  • Assorted papers for book cover and inside cover lining (Scrapbook, cloth, anything that you want to use that will stick)
  • Scissors
  • Awl
  • Hammer
  • Thin ribbon
  • Large eye needle
  • Glue stick
  • Large binder clips
  • Block of wood (or hard surface that can get scratched)


Cover the piece of cardboard with the assorted lining you choose. Make sure it is a little larger than the cardboard itself. Fold the paper over the cardboard glue to the cardboard. Next, cover the inside of the cardboard with decorative paper that is slightly smaller than the cardboard, and glue it on. Repeat these steps for the back cover as well.

Place covers laying good side up about ½ inch apart. Pull duct tape to wrap around the binding of the covers, cut to size using scissors. Press the tape down in the space. Fold your pages in half and place in the gap.

Clip the edges of the pages to the cardboard to keep them secured. Open the book with cover up, and hammer the awl to make holes through both the duct tape and the pages. You may want to do this using a surface you don’t mind to get damaged or by placing a wooden block underneath. Punch 2 holes, 2 inches apart on both ends of the binding. The holes should go completely through the pages so that you are able to put a needle through.

Thread the needle through with the ribbon. Then thread back through to the other hole, making sure the pages are secure. Tie a tight knot so that the pages do not wiggle around. Once this knot is ready, cut the extra ribbon from the needle. Tie the ribbon into a bow if you so choose. Repeat the same steps for both sets of holes.

Enjoy your new journal!

For pictorial instructions on how to create your own journal, visit

Published in Brookhaven Blog
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We are a private pay treatment center and do not accept any type of insurance. Costs associated with care are the responsibility of the client.