In part one I told you about the reasons I lost my children. Now I want to share more of my story. Part 2 My Therapeutic stay at LBTH, is a description of my therapeutic stay at Life Beyond the Horizon. The experiences & the benefits I have gained from this therapy.
I found the pre-care very helpful. It consisted of some weekly counselling sessions over the phone and additional information by email.
I used to love going to new places, but I’ve not flown since 2014, after my last accident when I fell from a horse and broke my shoulder. When I arrived at Porto airport, I was made very welcome, and I soon relaxed. The gambling retreat is so beautiful it felt like a home from home. They offer animal-assisted therapy as part of their treatment package. I wonder how I would react to being around horses again?
The sun was already shining when I woke up. I had slept well in the very comfortable double bed. I took pictures of the horses from my window, such a beautiful view. After breakfast, Karen and I went to see the horses close up. I had been a groom and a jockey. But, I had not ridden for over 6 years. That last fall was the 10th bone I had broken. But this time, the doctor advised against riding. I lost my confidence, and because I couldn’t ride, I left the racing profession which I loved.
I was able to help with the grooming. We also gave one of the horses a bath! It was rewarding and relaxing. Walking out with the horses, I talked about how I was bullied at school. I feel like I am finding myself again, that person I was, my confidence is growing.
This day brings more opportunities for change. More counselling, this time Nuno and I talked in the counselling room one to one. We talked about how I perceived things. I was bullied at school. It was my small stature, but actually, it was my lack of height that enabled me to go to the racing stables. For the first time in my life, I fitted in. I also got comfort and respect from the horses.
In the racing world, I won many races, I became respected. Because of my stablehand and natural riding abilities, I travelled the world looking after some great horses. As I talked, I started to realise that I had had some fantastic life-enhancing experiences. I came to realise that I had many strengths, dedication and determination. These attributes were down to my past destructive experiences as a child. Those negatives were instrumental in helping me achieve a very successful career in racing.
Why had I not appreciated how good I was?
I look at the pictures of my children every night. It keeps me focused on what I have got to do. I am a good father, and I can look after them. Also, they will have a great life with me.
The food is healthy and delicious. While I did some gardening, I listened to my music. It was wonderfully relaxing and peaceful. After that, I am starting to feel like a new person. It is a beautiful and magical place to be. I now feel proud and good about how far I have come. In the afternoon, we took the horses for a long trek. Walking in the mountains is peaceful. The sun shone, and the birds were singing. I haven’t stopped and listened for a very long while. My Therapeutic stay at LBTH is turning out to be one of the best experiences of my life.
When I woke up, I felt good and very relaxed. Today we talked more, this time about my relationship with my father. I felt my father never showed me any love, I don’t hate him, but I don’t like him. During my childhood, he was always distant. At that time, I had no idea my father had a gambling problem and no idea that most of his arguments with my mother were down to this.
Part of the programme at Life Beyond the Horizon is to enhance and re-establish connections. Those who once criticized you can become your best support network. During my Future Planning session, we discussed how I was going to approach Mum and Dad and what I was going to talk to them about.
This change of mindset has helped me overcome my fears and insecurities. I feel confident about my future. I have not felt like this since the day I lost my children. I am very focused on getting back to England and getting things in motion.
It was wet today, but we still went to see the horses. Nuno and Karen listened and took on board my advice regarding the horses. Sharing my knowledge, abilities and experiences with horses has given me back a lot of confidence in myself as a person. Also, it felt great giving something back to them. That afternoon I even applied for 3 jobs and all with horses! I never thought I would achieve so much when I arrived at this for my therapeutic stay at LBTH.
I will miss this place and Nuno and Karen; we will be friends for life. When I can, I will bring my children to see this beautiful place. I am now focused and confident about the next steps of my journey. I will not give up the fight for my beautiful children.
The final day! I am sad to be going. However, I want my children back and, now armed with Nuno’s report, I am eager to get back to court. I went and said goodbye to the horses. This has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life. Because I have inner confidence, passion and drive, I am again the person I once was. I want to share experiences with my children, I want to start to travel again and show them the world. I can teach them so much.
The day after I got home, I sent them this message: I spoke to my mother last night and told her everything. Then my father phoned me this morning and said sorry. I told him, you have nothing to be sorry for. You are my father, and I love you. For the first time in my life, he said: I love you, Son. We spoke about many things, about my bullying, and he questioned, why had I never told him about it? At the end of the call, I felt I better understood him. Due to his upbringing and gambling, my father had been distant. I now realise that in his own way, he did love me.
Thank you, Nuno, for helping me find myself again. I will never forget what you and Karen have done.
This story is still ongoing. Part 3 with follow
This is the second blog post and is about my stay at Life Beyond the Horizon. The first part is about the reasons for my being at Life Beyond the Horizon Retreat. Read Part one of my story I lost my children because I was a gambler
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