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Author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" and "Life in Bite Sized Morsels".  "Yogic Tools For Recovery, A Guide To working the Steps": the workbook for which will be coming out May 15, 2018.
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.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Avoiding Relapse of Every Stripe

Yes – I can relapse – not my substance addiction but my emotional sobriety. How does this happen? How “unlovely” can I BE! What can I do to prevent it?

Some event occurs. I come into it feeling vulnerable: insecure, unsure, fearful or uncared for. A conversation commences and does not go well. And I snap. I am not able to “take” it. What ever “it” isloud talk, hasty words, uncaring speech or even a disappointing outcome. This can be a conversation with a vendor, a service person or someone who is in calling to advise me about a plan. What ever the conversation is about there is something disappointing. I find myself out of balance and that leaks out all over the interchange. First I become strident, then I shut down. We conclude the discussion and I hang up.

But that isn’t the end of it. I go on to ruminate and disturb my current moments with the memories of that unpleasant conversation. These memories are enhanced by stories from the past, fertilized and nurtured by hurt and resentment. Now they have grown from fledgling discomfort to a full-grown jungle of negative emotions. Then "generosity" appears and I feel compelled to share this experience with others, over and over, letting their concern and sympathy fan the flames of my bitterness. I then move into self-righteous angera deadly intoxicant for this person in recovery – and the “slip” is complete. I have fallen off the maturity and spiritual wellness wagon. I am now on my back in the mud, wiggling around, searching for the foothold of composure and wellness. I yearn to walk upright in peace; body, mind and spirit integrated in one unified whole of compassion for self and others. And, yes, the suffering comes because I am TOO WELL to be THAT SICK anymore.

 I can be pretty unlovely, mewling in my pain and frustrated in my inability to overcome it. And the answer comes, as they often do, in the sharing of another. Don’t resist, experience. Allow the feelings to be, without the story, without justification, defense or even denial. Sit with it and let it pass. And stop “sharing the wealth” of disdain and distress. Yes, I have been taking my own poison.

And today I choose to stop. I avoid relapse of my primary addictions by sticking with my program of recovery. I avoid relapse of an uncaring attitude toward my body,mind and spirit unity by practicing all the forms of yoga. I practice keeping my spirit in good health with meditation. And, yet, I am still human and can relapse in my emotional "sobriety".  How can I avoid this? I go back to the principles of yoga and recovery.  Will that prevent them for good and all? I don't know – but I do know the periods or relapse are shorter, the anguish less severe and less perseverant, and yes, I do eventually remember to sit. Sit it through don’t sit it out.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" ans "Life in Bite Sized Morsels", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training. 

Follow her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes