What Part Of “Fatal Disease” Don’t We Understand? – Kyczy Hawk

I identify myself as a person in recovery. For years I identified myself with naming my disease (ADDICTION) but I am now “Kyczy, a woman in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, and a few other “isms’ as well.” But the lead is I AM A WOMAN IN RECOVERY. I know this isn’t according to Hoyle, or the customary practices of introducing ourselves at twelve step meetings, but I believe in creating mental habits of healing.

The husband of a dear friend, someone with multiples of years sober, forgot that he was in recovery. He forgot to go to meetings, his sponsor had become an occasional friend, one he seldom reached out to anymore. He became isolated; he forgot that addiction is a disease of separation. He forgot that he couldn’t stay well alone, he forgot his spirituality and eventually he forgot that he wasn’t a drinker.

Dead after twelve days: found by a family member who had become worried when the phone remained unanswered. He was dead in a chair with a half gallon of vodka in the freezer. Dead of alcohol poisoning. Intentional or accidental? The first drink is the intention to lose our sobriety and to see if we can survive another dance with the 800 pound Gorilla. The ability to act on intention goes out the window. It becomes a question of who will stop first? Me or the gorilla?

This is a fatal disease. Whether or not you have ten days or ten years, 30 days or 30 years we jump on the train at about the same box car that we left it. It may take a few weeks to get to our previous levels of intake, or days, or we might die before we get to drink as much as we want to. It might kill us this relapse – or it might be the next.

Drug addiction comes with an extra surprise: the Russian Roulette of supplies. You don’t know what your drugs are cut with, what chemical enhancements or poisons have been added. Your second time may be your last. This is an extra layer of chance and luck that we face today.

Semantics will kill us. I believe the recovery is kinetic condition: I have to keep doing what I am doing in the program (any program) to maintain my intention of clean time, sober time, abstinence, that I have. If I think I am recovered, then I may forget. I may forget that I need to do certain things to maintain healthy thinking. Over the years I have allowed my body to heal, my liver to heal, my brain to do a lot of rewiring and re-setting, but if I were to stop recoverING, then I might forget. Recovered might mean I am well enough, disease free and can try again. This is not true. I am not going back to being a cucumber. I will always be a pickle.

The lying, the justification, the rationalizing addict mind may bring me down the wrong isle in the supermarket. I have no business in those isles (and I have a resentment against the stores that store beer in to cooling isle with the yogurt and the cheese- just sayin’). I have no business on that side of the drugstore when I go to buy shampoo. I have no business in a corner market going for gum if my heart starts to race in some kind of muscle or nervous memory of the pints and quarts I used to buy. Gum is not that important. I don’t need to tease my systems by being “that strong”. Use my strength to walk away.

The disease /not a disease controversy will kill us. It doesn’t matter. I know how I feel about that issue and it really DOESN’T MATTER! I can’t drink and I cannot use drugs. Full stop. I do know that either through genetic or through upbringing I have a tendency to over do. I spend time looking at that propensity and adjusting my behaviour and choices accordingly. If I don’t pay attention I will go down one rabbit hole that will erode my self worth, that will lead to another rabbit hole and so one and so on. From losing my emotional sobriety, my otheration containment, my food disciplines, I will eventually lose sense of myself and I will drink or use again. Maybe it will sneak up through cough medicine and medications for pain, but make no mistake. I will begin to self prescribe, I will drink. I will use. I will die.

Addiction is a “potentially” fatal disease. In abstinence we have reached remission. If we resume all bets are off. By accident or on purpose it will take your piece off the board game. Your marker will tip over and the game will be lost. Do the next right thing, go to a meeting even when you don’t’ want to. Call someone when you are down. Write, meditate, pray. Do something kind for someone else. Call someone who hasn’t been in touch for a while. Reach out. Reach in.

Don’t forget. Please, don’t forget.

Kyczy Hawk


About Kyczy Hawk

Kyczy has been teaching recovery focused yoga classes since 2008. She is a devoted teacher to people in treatment centers and in jail. Kyczy created a teacher training program for others who wish to work in this field. Trauma sensitivity and the somatics of feeling and relating more wisely to your body are some of the basics taught in S.O.A.R.(™) Success Over Addiction and Relapse.Kyczy has been a certified Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) leader for over eight years and a leadership trainer for the past two. She leads workshops nationally and holds and annual retreat at the Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, California.Author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” , “Life in Bite-Sized Morsels” , “From Burnout to Balance” she has recently released a book and workbook through Central Recovery Press:”A Yogic Tools for Recovery; A Guide To working The Steps” as well as five recovery oriented word puzzle books.You can also join Kyczy and a host of other people in recovery every Sunday morning at 8am PT (11 am ET) on In The Rooms at the Yoga Recovery meeting. Join the Thursday “12 Step Study; Yogic Tools For Recovery” 8pm ET on ITR.Kyczy is very proud of her family; husband, kids, and grandkids, all who amaze her in unique and wonderful ways. Join her mailing list for other online offerings at www.yogarecovery.com.
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One Comment

  1. A big part of (my) healthy thinking is that I am a human being, not diseased, not a ‘pickle’. And for my wellbeing and healthy thinking I *need* to drop the ‘disease fear’, the alcoholic label and the derogatory treatment of myself. I am now a herbal-tea-drinking, non-smoking, non-alcohol-drinking, non drug-using, caffeine-free human being. By choice! And not out of fear. I CAN drink, I CAN use drugs, I CAN smoke and eat junk food. Anybody CAN! To say you can’t is lying unless your mouth is sewn shut and your hands tied on your back. However I have other values and preferences in life now. Alcohol etc is not on the list any more. Substance use and addiction can get us very sick but it is not a disease in itself. If semantics does not matter to you, why do you keep spreading the lies, mixed in with outdated big book myths? For many people it *does* matter. And they do not want to be defined in this dishonest, dramatic way. Consuming alcohol and other substances is a behaviour. Addiction is a result of physical, biological and neurological learning processes. We are human beings first and not defined by any one of our behaviours. Peel off the labels and be (addictions) free!

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