Yoga and Addicts

As I drive past the VFW on my way to InTheWings DanceStudio it is hard not to notice the people socializing out front before their 12-step meeting. In the year following my ex-husband’s departure I visited this group, as a guest, in an attempt to understand his addiction. At the group members were encouraged to stand up and speak about their experiences, their pain, their frustration. One thing was constant: alcohol was on everyone’s mind. Even if the point was to be alcohol free, it was still the focal point. Some people had been attending for years.

The group contends that it is the only means by which a true user can stay clean, although some of us have met dry drunks there. We also meet people who go for awhile, stop going, and yet continue to steer clear of alcohol. Because those people no longer attend, it is hard to quantify their success. It is much easier to observe the ones who start drinking again, and drift in and out of the group.

As I drive to yoga class I often wish that the addicts would consider using yoga in place of a 12-step group. Total healing does not happen when we face those moments in our past and cry over them, fight about them, argue with them, or wish they had never happened. Although it is definitely part of the emotional healing process to do all of those things. Total healing happens when we begin to build a sense of our identity unrelated to the trauma,originating from the Divine Self within. When the room of this new self-identity is built to a certain degree, when the “I” caught in the pain actually has somewhere new to move to, then we can look that trauma square in the eye and allow it to transform into something that will always be part of us, but will never define or rule us. That is the kind of self transformation I would wish for my former husband or any other addict.

Sat Nam!