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Author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", I have been a yoga teacher for several years. My primary focus is on classes designed for people recovering from addictions. I take my classes to recovery homes, halfway houses,detention centers and jails. I also lead Y12SR groups in the south SF Bay Area, CA. I am a certified Yoga of Recovery Counselor. I have designed a certification course for yoga teachers titled S.O.A.R. - Success Over Addictions and Relapse which I teach in person and ONLINE.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Deadly Price of Anonymity- Celebrate Recovery

Addiction: a cancer in society.  Without long term support it will decimate us.


A very dear friend of mine is recovered from a year long battle with cancer.  It was life threatening. It was a sudden diagnosis and it toppled her world.  Life and the importance of her career, her activities, and relationship struggles all shifted. The mundane became important and the important became mundane.

After the treatments were over, her body cleared of the cancer she was still embraced in the process of recovery.  The center continued to provide support; meditation, nutritional counseling, yoga and movement classes,  talk therapy and medical follow-up.  This will be available for as long as she needs it.  This fatal illness garners respect even in remission.  There is no shame in returning to the cancer care center as many times a week as she is interested and able.  There is no shame in being a woman recovering from cancer.  Her experience with the profound change in her world view, some might call a spiritual experience, is accepted and lauded.  This after care is an accepted way to heal and a way to participate in the process of prevention: nutrition, stress management, movement, support and care.

The care and compassion expressed for my friend is universal; friends, family, co-workers have sympathy or empathy for her journey.  Both in illness and in recovery there is understanding.  Work colleagues make space for time restrictions, activity restrictions.  Only the sense for personal privacy limits what others know.  There is no shame in having cancer, there is no guilt inherent in this disease.

Now I think about myself and my friends.  We are in recovery from a fatal illness: drug and alcohol addiction.  Gambling, sex, food, relationships, debt - all forms of addiction that can lead to jail, illness or death.  They can lead to the stress illnesses that can contribute to diseases like cancer. Due to anonymity we can only express pride and share tools for continued recovery among our ranks. Our bosses, people we work with, sometimes family members are not privy to the disease nor to the recovery.  We are invisible - we live in silence.

When first (self) diagnosed we may have been involved in formal treatment- lasting for a specific period of time- usually 28 days. It is not necessarily holistic.  Nutrition and physical health may not be addressed.  There are few standard efficacious protocols.  Quality and care vary from place to place.  Aftercare is a luxury.  And all this available only to those who can pay or who are mandated from the courts.  A large number of people get no formalized care; they come to recovery on their own. they maintain on their own.

Anonymity perpetuates shame.
Anonymity perpetuates shame for having the disease and it perpetuates the assumption of relapse. "Don't tell anyone because you might "go out" again, you might slip, you might relapse."  There is little formal aftercare. Unless pursued on one's own there are no meditation classes, nutritional counseling, movement therapies available to help the recovering addict balance life and the life they are leaving.  One cannot assume that bosses and co-workers will sympatheticly provide moral and actual support.  In many circumstances the workplace must remain ignorant of the struggle: one's job security could be impaired.

The challenges of redefining yourself, your goals and dreams, of creating a new way of life are not supported by society at large- they are supported by fellow sufferers.  Thank goodness for that; but it is not comprehensive.

Anonymity prevents celebration.  Society focuses on those in active disease or relapse.  We are only able to celebrate the success of continued recovery amongst ourselves.  The news capitalizes on the fallen but does not celebrate the many victors in the battle against addiction.  Politicians seldom state they are twenty five years sober, but they have "battled cancer".  (THANK YOU Michael Botticelli for being public about your recovery.)You aren't going to hear of suprvisors or co-workers share their first year of recovery as they might being one year cancer free.  We don't see the oceans of people enjoying continuous recovery. And they are there!

That brings me to the celebration  of recovery. Breaking anonymity bravely and publicly helps all. February 26th was the Sixth (yes there were five others) Experience Strength and Hope awards.  Joey Pantoliano was honored this year for his courage, honesty and compassion and work in addiction recovery.  Artists and musicians are finding their way to the stage of openness and candor and that is tremendous.  We need voices in all walks of life, we need the struggles acknowledged and the stigma removed.

Stand up for your recovery.  Lets expand treatment to include post acute care and decrease the probability for relapse.  Decreasing shame may increase visibility and we need the road to recovery well embraced.  There is a heroin crises in this country.  We need to prepare for a new wave of healing to overcome the impact of that disaster; the overdose and overdose deaths. We have to come out of the shadows and bring long term healing modalities into effective and common use.

Shout outs to those who are making a difference:

To Vermont for accelerating recovery resources http://preview.tinyurl.com/mtvoxpj [Open in new window]

 To students making a difference: http://preview.tinyurl.com/npd9lj8



And to our new Director of the National Drug Control Policy with 26 years of Recovery
http://preview.tinyurl.com/aghn6x7




Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500
 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" .
In The Rooms  sponsors an online Yoga and Recovery meeting Sunday 7am PST.  Log in and join her there.
She leads two Y12SR, yoga of twelve step recovery, classes a week for the public at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose. Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) intructing teachers about the unique needs of the recovery population. This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html 

Check out her ONLINE RECOVERY INFUSED YOGA CLASSES: 


Monday, February 9, 2015

Treat yourself as you treat others!




HOW DO YOU TREAT YOURSELF?  THIS IS AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS


I never really thought of it this way- if I put myself last, I am showing you that is how I prefer things. I don’t mean that I cruelly or narcissisticaly demand to be considered first and foremost - only that I deserve consideration.  I considerately act on everyone’s well-being including my own.  In this way I remember that I, too, am worthy of respect. The respect I show myself I ALSO show others.  Then, they too, have a method to follow. - Kyczy



Being Who You Are


WE TEACH other people how to treat us - by the way that we treat ourselves. It's magic.  And here's the thing - if you have people in your life who are not okay with you being your authentic self and living truly from your heart and honoring and cherishing your empowerment, it's best to Love those folks from afar. Don't hold on to people because there is a small pay off of affection and attention because you are afraid nothing better is going to come along! NO! Let them go. If you've never actually BEEN yourself, if you've never actually stepped into your authentic shoes, if you've never actually acted on the true Love that you have for yourself, then of course you won't think the world will bring you anything better - because you never allowed it to in the first place.
-  Mastin Kip


Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" .
In The Rooms  sponsors an online Yoga and Recovery meeting Sunday 7am PST.  Log in and join her there.
She leads two Y12SR, yoga of twelve step recovery, classes a week for the public at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose. Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) intructing teachers about the unique needs of the recovery population. This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html 

Check out her ONLINE RECOVERY INFUSED YOGA CLASSES: 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Embrace Change or Just Be Host?

Embrace Change!  Why not?  You can't prevent it. You can't force it. You can't stop it or make it happen.  It just does what it will; life changes with every breath. But embrace it?  I don't know, it is a little difficult to hug something that is morphing. Change is changing.

Embracing something implies that you can hold on to it.  Can't do it with change.  I experience growth and that alters the way I see things, feel them, understand them and respond to them.  I used to jump out of m skin to have my heart in my throat, to flush with shame when I was corrected, or when I received suggestions from someone.  Now that seldom happens. I have changed. This has allowed me to hear others more clearly.  Rather than holding onto my own ideas so firmly, I can now listen, evaluate and make a choice.  I don't hold on so tightly to what I had done, and move more fluidly with my options. Change.



If the only constant in life is change, perhaps it is best if I embrace constancy rather than change! Right now I am close to several people who are grievously ill or in a space of deep emotional distress.  Knowing the depth of their suffering is a constant energy in my day. It influences my gratitude, it influences my prayers, it influences my thoughts in each day.  These are constants. Their lives are changing, I am witness to this change and I stay constant in my intentions for their stability in face of these challenges.  Their conditions will change and with those changes I will stay stalwart in my love and concern for them.


I use the Serenity Prayer to guide me in how I interact with change.  I accept the things I cannot change, and I take action where I can and must.  I also stand back, when I can, and allow time to inform me about what I need to do.  Sometimes it is nothing. My intention is to be a constant force for stability inside and out, in the face of change.  
This is my story of change. One month ago I had a painful interchange with a dear person in my life. It rocked me to my core.  I was in terrible psychic pain.  I had to close communication with this person because I no longer knew how to relate to her.  I had undergone a pyschic shift and a profound change. Holding on to the past was not an option. Holding onto the pain was severely limiting.  Traying to actively change the future was false and uninformed. I needed to be open to the shifting ground within me, to be ready to accept the change, to learn from the artifacts left by the past and to accept the alterations in this relationship that could evolve in the future. Trust and faith and remaining open were the only requirements.  I could not hold on to any step, and feathure of the process that was evlovling over the next few weeks, the month that passed.  And then it came - the settleing, the knowing, the new way.  By remaining constant with the process the change occured. I could not embrace it but more like usher it in.  

My new out look is NOT to embrace change but be a hostess to it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Not Like a Butterfly, but Like a Lizard or a Snake

Not like a butterfly, but like a lizard or a Snake - I change.

I used to hold that beautiful image of a colorful delicate creature emerging from a chrysalis as the icon for my recovery self.

I have since learned that that is not true in my case.

It has not been a one and done event.  Evidently I need more work.


I know that there is nothing puppy, unicorn and rainbow-ish associated with crustaceans, lizards, snakes or certain insects and beetles.  They can be seen as ickable and scary; even evil at times.  They are just animals in the kingdom of beings, nothing inherently bad about them. They just are not pet-able or universally loved.

They do, however, shed their skins as they grow - as many times as they need to.  Their wrapping is discarded when no longer needed, when too constricting, when it has fulfilled its purpose.




My recovery is the same.  I didn't just change once.  YES - the spiritual experience that brought me into the rooms had the quality of the the caterpillar turning into a butterfly after a period of hibernation, resulting in an amazing transformation.  But, as the Cat in The Hat would say: "No that is not all, oh no, That is not all!"
There has been more to learn, challenges that have stretched me, experiences that have roughed me up and opportunities that have urged me to grow.  My old skin, my old me doesn't fit anymore. When I try to squeak back into the form of yesterday I find it too tight, too constricting. What was once comfortable is now too small.  My life is bigger, my experiences are wall to wall, no longer tucked away behind a screen of guilt or shame. 

The beautiful butterfly got me into the rooms of recovery, onto the path of waking up, into the journey to my authentic self.  It are the moultings of these other animals that keep me here.  Welcome your inner snake!

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" .
She leads two Y12SR, yoga of twelve step recovery, classes a week for the public at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose.
Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) intructing teachers about the unique needs of the recovery population. This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html 

Check out her ONLINE RECOVERY INFUSED YOGA CLASSES: 


Friday, December 26, 2014

Recovery as a Road to Enlightenment

 "Recovery as a road to enlightenment" - words chosen carefully to express what the journey has been for me.  Just as I am not a proponent of the word "recovered" when used to describe my status in regards to my disease of addiction, I also don't use the word "enlightened" when referring to my path through life.  Neither of these actions is complete or stays  constant. I am always in the process of becoming.

You may have expected
that enlightenment would
come Zap! instantaneous
and permanent.  This is
unlikely. After the first
"ah-ha" experience,
it can be thought of
as the thinning of
a layer of clouds.


Ram Dass

Just as recovery began with a spiritual experience; the ability to ask for help, so does enlightenment begin with a moment of opening, of curiosity, of willingness. And like recovery, it is a exploration of self, of life, of opportunities and choices.  Both set the stage in life for things to be different than they are, yet a future unknown.  With courage, bit by bit, the future unfolds and the occasion for things to alter, to shift, to morph arrises.



There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination.  Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

Anais Nin  

For those of us in recovery quotes about enlightenment sound as if they had been written about the exploration and acceptance of addiction recovery.  We experience a "thinning of the clouds" and a healthy life reveals itself "fragment by fragment, on a small scale". The first burgeoning experience may have been big,wild, a shock. There has been the occasional person who has had an initial sudden awakening, a burning bush, but mainly we are more familiar with the "educational variety" of spiritual experience.  These awakenings have come slowly, "mini miracles" that have marked my way.  Inearly recovery I had felt like my life was a 5,000 piece puzzle without the lid, I am now comfortable with it being a "laborious mosaic".

There are many paths to enlightenment.  Be sure to take one with a heart.
and
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
Lao Tzu

I am on a quest: this quest is without end.  There is no goal.  The destination is each moment, the desire is to come to now.  I do that in learning to know myself; in doing that I am practicing recovery, in disovering, uncovering my self. 

This is good news for an addict and alcoholic like myself, for a woman who is working her way out of co-addiction and the challenges of that life.  Days or decades - recovery for me is an active verb- much like enlightenment- it happens in the present.



Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" .
She leads two Y12SR classes a week for the public at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose..
Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse). This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html 
Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now.

Check out her ONLINE RECOVERY INFUSED YOGA CLASSES: 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Suppressing Anger


Suppressing anger can be toxic.  Just as resentments are a form of taking poison hoping the subject of your feelings dies - so can repressed anger churn and infect you.

What happened was this: someone said something uncaring and unkind to me.  The top of my head blew off.  Well, it felt like it.  I was swelling with rage in my body; heart rate was going sky high, my breath was shallow, my blood pressure spiking, my voice became shrill and the urge to scream was nearly overwhelming.  My arms were just vibrating with the barely constrained desire to pummel this person. WOW!  I am a woman in long term recovery.  I am a yoga practitioner.  My daily prayer is to be compassionate, to be loving, accepting and forgiving.  Where was this kinder person now?

I pushed these physical manifestations of fury aside.  I still retained enough yogi in my character to slow my breath consciously, to soften the muscles in my neck, to unclench my hands and jaw.  I mentally talked myself into a semblance of homeostasis.  Not complete, but out of the trees where my animal self had sprung.

I tried talking it through.  My ability to communicate was impaired and my ability to listen was non-existent.  Discussion went from misunderstanding, to rude and then to downright mean.  I could not continue. I left.

With my stomach churning with acid and my body aching with the fever of suppressed anger I tried to lie down and "sleep it off".  I could not. The thoughts kept swirling in my head. "What did I say or do to cause this?" "Why can't he understand me?" "I shouldn't be angry! That isn't an enlightened way to be! What is wrong with me!" And so it goes, the second arrow hits, the self recrimination for feelings felt.    I am now going down the rabbit hole of thinking that I cannot be angry.  "Self righteous anger is the dubious luxury of other men" comes to mind. If I am a good "AA-ette" then I will avoid anger.  If I am a good practicing yogi then I will follow the path of non-harming and contentment.  Well - now I am mad, I am not a good practicing member of my 12 Step program and I am a sham of a yogi.

Danger Danger Danger:  This is toxic thinking.  Not only can anger be appropriate,  I would be out of touch with my emotions and myself if I denied myself an actual human feeling. One does get angry from time to time.  Pushing the anger down, repressing it, started to cause me to feel a total failure - not just around this issue in this relationship but in all spheres of my life, particularly those I held most dear.

In the denial of my feelings I was continuing to feed my sense of negative self worth, that part of my that I have spent YEARS trying to heal.  This kind of activity will lead me to emotional relapse. Unabated other addictions will kick in.  My disease wants me to be overwhelmed with emotions and self doubt.

The mindful way back into my true self, my complete self, my healing self, is to admit the emotion, see the anger, feel it and feel it pass.  Yes - it will and does pass.  With breath and acceptance that THIS is what I feel, not act upon, but feel will allow the sensations flow through and to leave behind the lesson.

There are lessons.  One - I had a profound physical abbreaction - a nearly out of the body experience of rage that I did not act upon.  I repeat this for my own well being: I did not act upon this rage.  Two -  with time I have been able to unpack, to uncover, the real source of the pain that lay beneath the anger; the pain, the fear, and the need.

As I investigate the reason that the words hurt so much and look into the history that lay behind my reaction I am able to respond and discuss the situation.  I can take care of my side and be open the other side.  My ears were open now that the sound of my blood pounding in my head has abated.  My physical reactions to anger have subsided so my voice has a softer quality, my lips are no longer thin with hysteria, my pupils no longer dilated with rage.  I can use words that are more expressive of true feelings and explanations and we can talk this through.

Amends are a huge part of my recovery program, not just the frequency with which I seem to need them, but for the lessons that the situations provide.  I learn about me and I learn about you and I change my behavior, and, with luck, my outlook. In time the amendment, the transformation, becomes permanent and I move on to the next challenge.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" .
She leads two Y12SR classes a week for the public at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose..
Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse). This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html 
Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now.

Check out her ONLINE RECOVERY INFUSED YOGA CLASSES: 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Universal Laws of Being Human and the Seed of Change

I have a note on my desk. I don't know where it came from but I have saved it.  I pick it up from time to time and say to myself - "oh yea!  I forgot about this."  It is the Six Universal Laws of Being Human.  I don't know where it originates.
The six universal laws for being human
  1. You will be given a body.
  2. You will be taught lessons.
  3. There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.
  4. If a lesson is not learned, it gets repeated.
  5. The more often a lesson is repeated, the harder it gets.
  6. You know you’ve learned your lesson when your actions change.

Ok - numbers one and two I can grasp.  The rest remain alternately elusive and redundant.

Number One: You will be given a body. This doesn't state what condition it will be in, what I can or will do with it nor how it will age.  Just that I get one.  Check.
Number Two: You will be taught lessons.  I didn't always consider the occurrences, challenges and even the joys in life were lessons, but I do now see them as such.  
Small disappointments- how do I handle them, how did I get into being disappointed, how do I manage or not manage to get into similar situations where disappointment may or may not be a result?   This is the nature of a lesson.  
Harder to see is the lesson as the result of terrible things happening; to myself, to family and to others. Illness, accident, surgery, loss. These "lessons" come from outside.  Sometimes they are do to life choices, life styles, or behaviors. If I persist in a dangerous or toxic behavior there is a great possibility that I will receive a lesson in the form of an illness or loss.  If I am harmed through a random event there is less I had to do with the event and no likelihood that I could have avoided it.  The lesson, again, is how I respond and how I engage in the outcome.  
Even joy has a lesson:  do I trust my joy, to I grab ahold of the joy trying to keep it, do I watch the joy. observe it and let it go.  Trying to hold on to joy can result in choking the current experience and missing the next.  In trying to maintain a level of happiness or pursing happiness as a goal can sour the present moment with the fear of losing it. So even joy has a lesson. Check.
Number Three: There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.  Now to a more obscure law. Mistakes are unintentional, they can be random.  A mistake kind of absolves me from responsibility.  "It wasn't my fault that X, Y, or Z happened - it was a mistake."  Things that happen in life which are seen as mistakes can also seem cruel;  the death of a child, the loss of a job, and unjust incarceration.  How can these not be MISTAKES?  And then I think again,  while they were not correct- they were opportunities.  Opportunities to learn and grow.  An event may be a universal fluke - but a lesson can be derived, saving it from being a useless occurrence.  Having something happen and writing it off as a mistake - would be a mistake.
Number Four: If a lesson is not learned, it gets repeated.  I have experienced this many times.  It surprises me in its simplicity and in its relentless truth.  There are times I learn a little, but not all. I learn some of what there is to be gleaned from the event, but only the surface. I need to experience the lesson a few more times to get to the bottom of it, to get to the fundamental truth I have to face.  Being a woman in recovery I do spend some time mining my past for the lessons.  Many of the events, dramas, and instances I have been party to, have created or been victim of seem to be teaching me one thing, when the real truth is something different.  A simple example would be that I close down when my feelings are hurt.  A word or a look said in anger can slay me.  I shut down.  I used to think I was shutting down to punish by withdrawing.  I now know I shut down to punish AND to protect.  I protect myself from further harm by abandoning and cutting off the person who has hurt me.  (there is a further lesson here about boundaries; another subject for another day.) I dig deep , I find my piece, I understand my reaction, I get a lesson.  If I don't get the whole lesson the process gets repeated.  
Number Five: The more often the lesson gets repeated the harder it gets. It took me a while - but I see this now. There are probably only a dozen themes in my life: financial insecurity, fear of abandonment, desire to be seen / heard, the need for companionship, and feeling like I am not enough  are a few of them.  I avoid the negative and grasp for the positive.  This grasping and avoidance cause me problems. I get lessons about the difficulty this grasping and avoidance creates in my life.  I wish the lesson would STAY LEARNED, but evidently I forget.  I have felt heard, I have felt being seen and accepted - and the feeling dissipates.  The difficulty comes when I look outside myself for the security and resolutions. The more often I reach outside the more painful the disappointment. Looking inside, I am content. The lesson is look within.
Number Six: You know you have learned your lesson when your actions change.  Yes.  I have had a very successful experience with this in terms of my addiction.  The Pain of using became greater than my fear of stopping.  The lesson was learned, the actions changed and... the lesson stays learned.  In other parts of my life I seem to go back to numbers 3-5 again and again. I eat more than I need to and I gain weight. I eat more wisely and I lose.  My actions changed.  And then they didn't.  I have become much less defensive in recent years.  Defensive reactions caused aggressive or dismissive behavior from others.  I changed my behavior, became more matter of fact and clear and others began to treat me differently.  I changed my behavior and my situation changed.  

With these six laws of being human I can both feel myself being part of the universal connection with others, that my difficulties and dilemmas are not unique.  I also see the path out.  As in recovery the path out is ACTION.  I must make a change for there to BE change.  The struggle comes in finding out the nugget of change the seed of change the internal core that needs to be addressed. I need to find this OR my issue leaks out in another similar behavior and I am led to the same lesson.  
Being patient, being slow, taking time with the examination of the issue and the lesson will guide me to the action that I need to take.  So it isn't so hard next time.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" and a leader of Y12SR classes.
Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse). This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.
  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now.

Check out her ONLINE RECOVERY YOGA CLASSES: 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx