Lutz, Fla. - At Paradise Lakes Resort, the white noise of jacuzzi jets drowns out the loudest bang, which comes from nearby shuffleboard games.
"This place here gives me tranquility," said Max Sanchez.
Tranquility is no small feat for Sanchez, who retired from the U.S. Army as a captain, after fighting 347 days in Vietnam.
"Night ambushes," he remembered. "Try to engage the enemy into battle."
All of that left him with flashbacks long after his return to his wife. One night he woke up from a dream with her hair in his hand.
"I was grabbing her hair, pulling on the back of her hair, and trying to interrogate her," he said. "Why am I so nervous now?"
Sanchez soon learned about PTSD.
"We think that's a survival mechanism that says, 'If you ever come across any sight, smell or sound like that, it's really important to get away," explained Dr. Kevin Kip.
Dr. Kip researches PTSD at USF College of Nursing. He practices Accelerated Resolution Therapy to help combat veterans "rewrite" good memories and reduce triggers for the bad memories.
"Horrific experience gets burned into the wrong part of the brain, anything that's close to that will trigger that memory," Dr. Kip said.
In addition, new research on PTSD has developed new ideas about activities that help reduce triggers like yoga.
For Max, the triggers are drowned out by jacuzzi jets. He finally feels at peace, free from the rush of everyday life and the confinement of clothes.
In a place where everyone lives with the bare essentials, stress about details falls to the wayside.
Max particularly likes the back pool, about as far away from Vietnam as he's ever felt.
"Four to six people there is usually considered a crowd. I forget about my troubles," he said.
"I feel like I'm not only getting by, I'm getting by pretty good."
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