What it used to be like, what happened and what it is like now is the traditional framework for sharing at a meeting. This progression holds true for both my recovery and my yoga practice. At one point my life was consumed by suffering which eventually became overwhelming. I had a life changing experience and chose a different path. Let me give you some of the details of my journey.
I was what is termed as a garbage girl I used anything and everything. I used chemical substances including alcohol in combination, I used alone, I used them with other people – I’d take anything, anywhere, anytime. I exhausted my internal resources to cope with that lifestyle. About the same time I ran out of other resources too: money, friends, family, work, health and the will to live. Having hit my lowest point, somehow I managed to have a moment of clarity and with a few bumps along the way sought out a clean and sober life several years ago.
What had happened? What changed to take this desperate woman steeped in loathing and addiction and change her into a woman of integrity and hope?
I fell in love with recovery. I fell in love with the community, with the steps, with the laughter and with the support when there was pain. I fell in love with the sharing, with the tears of the men and the strength of the women. From the sobriety countdowns at conferences to the desire chips at newcomer meetings my heart opened up. I eventually even opened my heart to myself. Through working the steps (it took multiple times for me) I was able to see my defects as “defences” and to come to an awareness of the middle road; that “narrow path” we talk about at meetings.
But the road was not always smooth. There was history locked in my body that even therapy couldn’t touch. I was repairing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I had physical health, but I had trauma stored in my belly and in my heart. The shadows of past accidents and injuries lingered in my muscles and sinew. I tried to avoid recognizing the pain by becoming too busy for my own good. Having these memories and feelings rise to the surface nearly caused me to relapse. Yes I was clean and sober, but emotionally I was a wreck.
What happened to change this woman of insecurity and pain back into a woman of integrity and hope?
I fell in love again – this time with yoga. I was not one of those I meet now who try to get sober on the yoga mat (and avoid meetings or other recovery tools). I am not one of those who had practiced yoga for years and then left it behind to pursue a drinking career. I came to the mat late in life. I started yoga on an inspiration and spontaneously.
Unlike conventional exercise you have the opportunity to set an intention in yoga to move inward, to feel what you are feeling in your body. That process can release held feelings. The tears can flow and the spirit can open. The power of the practice must be felt to be understood just like the power of the steps can only be felt by doing them. I began to heal on a whole new level. I once again could experience my life my entire being on a deep level.
I became so passionate about the whole practice of yoga; the poses, the breath work, meditation and the depth it’s philosophy, that I began to teach.
I am on a mission to share this with others and now use the 12 step program in conjunction with yoga. I facilitate 12 step yoga meetings on InTheRooms.com and you can Join me Sunday mornings 10am ET / 7am PT to see what this combination is all about. We have regular folks, doing the deal one day at a time sharing about how yoga and recovery practices together can inform and enhance your life.