By guest blogger and Project Sanctuary graduate family member Stephanie Elfriede
I remember on our drive to New York that I felt my anxiety flaring up; this was the first time in 25 years that my husband and I were on a trip without our children. We had participated the year before in the Family Retreat with Project Sanctuary, and we were amazed by the program’s commitment to help us with our daily struggles with military life, mental and physical obstacles, and coping with many dark demons in our lives. I didn’t know what to expect of the Project Sanctuary Couples' Retreat at the “Biggest Loser Resort Niagara” Beaver Hollow Conference Center. Honestly, I was worried about some of the requirements such as no soda and healthy living. I was a VIP at many fast food places.
I knew I trusted Project Sanctuary to find the right fit for us Military Couples. By the time we left [the retreat], not only did we leave with our hearts full of more understanding and love for another, but we also closed the gaps of our spiritual enlightenment to natural healing and healthy conscientiousness. We came full circle with how natural healing, healthy eating and physical fitness enables us to not just function better, but also learn to manage our daily struggles.
I felt empowered to use my new-found knowledge about natural healing, oils and herbs to manage many symptoms of anxiety, stress and pain. I now realize and understand how healthy eating and physical fitness makes us stronger and tougher, both physically and mentally. We started to connect the missing links. One thing can’t work without the other. Resiliency, managing, coping and recovering are all connecting elements to a healthier life, especially while facing issues with pain, PTSD and TBI. We were inspired to go home and learn more. We are determined not to lose the healthy feeling that we felt during the retreat.
One week after the retreat, we continue our journey to a healthier life, and we are loving it. We switched to healthier eating habits, such as adding organic and healthy foods, natural healing methods (oils and herbs), and more exercise. For us, it all makes sense now. We know it may not take away all of the pain, suffering and struggles, but we realize that a healthier body will provide us a solid foundation and energy to deal with it all.
My deepest gratitude goes to Project Sanctuary and its staff for their wonderful support and commitment to our family. Thank you for giving us the amazing opportunity to a better life. Thank you for establishing a retreat in such a magical place such as Beaver Hollow. “The Biggest Loser Resort Niagara,” Beaver Hollow Conference Center, the owners and staff were truly a gift from heaven. Thank you!