By Jennifer Miller
I arrived Monday morning at the Recovery House with “lululemon” yoga mats to present to the girls. IT FELT SO GOOD! Most of them have so few material possessions now and they were thrilled to have something new and special to call their own.
After the yoga session, I spent some time with the Recovery Home director and she spoke of her 32 years of recovery. I was able to tell her of my experiences with addictions and recovery in the last 20 years with my ex-husband and two sons. She was surprised as she looked at me and remarked that I did not look like I had been “through it”.
This conversation highlighted the fact that addictions affects many of us, either directly or indirectly, in all walks of life. As a young woman 25 years ago, I would never have dreamed that I would be working with women in recovery and that this disease would be such a large part of my life. I still have trouble with how difficult it is for my family and friends to understand and be there emotionally for me. But when you have two children either struggling or dying from a disease, the importance of a support group is never greater as the feeling of isolation can be overwhelming.
People tend to dismiss addictions as something that could never affect THEM. “Alcoholism” is an addiction, yet it is clearly viewed differently than other “substance abuse” addictions. My ex-husband told me he was an “alcoholic” before we were married, and I attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to learn more. I read books and articles on the subject.
I remember being so shocked at the meeting when a speaker shared her story of heroin addiction and homelessness. I had no idea at the time what would eventually unfold.
Contact Jennifer Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org
When a woman marries an addict, her sons have a 70% or greater chance of becoming addicts according to one Betty Ford study. Both of my sons now battle the disease, with one celebrating his third year of sobriety and the other not yet ready enter recovery and accept its life-saving principles. I am stronger now than I was three years ago, and I pray for my second son and all who find themselves overcome by alcohol and substance abuse addictions.
Namaste, Jennifer Miller
Posted in Heart-Based Healing, Life, Love, Prayers, Recovery, Reflections, Self, Wisdom, Women
Tagged Addictions, Drug Addiction, Heart-Based Healing, Jennifer Miller, lululemon athletica, Prayers, Recovery House, Substance Abuse, Yoga Mats
Unconditional love, if only for a few moments, will make a difference.
Arriving Wednesday at the substance abuse recovery home, I was aware of just how much more comfortable and open I felt teaching yoga here. I knew that many of the young women truly looked forward to our time together. They knew that we would share some laughs and possibly discover some new aspect of addiction recovery together. I was hopeful that each of them could experience a moment of self-realization and acceptance. I prayed for a touching moment for each of us to remember.
As we begin the yoga practice, I sense the increased level of trust in the room; my previous sessions clearly represented an initiation process as this is not an easy group to be accepted into. But many remain shut down emotionally.
For the most part they like me; the few that had brought the energy in the room down are not there. Funny how life works. The women have all embraced meditation as they seem to enjoy this time of letting go. I pass out lavender-scented washcloths as part of aroma therapy and they place it over their eyes.
One of the girls, who has a 4-week old newborn, wants to do the meditation but her baby starts to cry. I offer to hold this precious child and a beautiful calm settles over the room. Starting with a “guided meditation”, I gaze upon this bundle of life and so many feelings go through my mind.
Was the mother using while pregnant? Did this baby have to go through withdrawals?
It has been rough journey for this young mother and baby. I gently rock the newborn with a gentle, loving motion. I feel gratitude that there there are clean, safe places for these women with children in recovery.
There is hope, and I feel it in my soul.
During this precious hour I feel connected to these brave souls, knowing that we are all one connected to a higher purpose.
Unconditional love, if only for a few moments, will make a difference.
I feel my myself going into another realm, joining these women on a higher plane where peace, harmony and serenity take exist. The responsibilities of their world are momentarily at bay.
Holding this young life and knowing he is our future.
Holding hope that these woman continue on this stable course to recovery.
As the class ends and I prepare to leave, one of the girls asks me if it would be ok if she brought her daughter, who is four, to the class next week. I answer “YES” with a big smile, knowing that another young life could be touched by yoga. Another young yogini.
” May we all be open and accepting of all. We may look and feel different from one another, but in the end we are all “ONE”.
Posted in Hope, Life, Love, Recovery, Wisdom, Women, Yoga
Tagged Children, Hope, Jennifer Miller, Love, Recovery, Recovery House, Substance Abuse, Women
I walked into the substance abuse recovery home, filled with young women in various stages of recovery. Some were pregnant and some were with young children. Many had tattoos and were smoking. The “younger” me might have stood there “in judgement”; the older, and wiser woman walked in with open arms of love and support, knowing that I could make a difference in their lives. I want to teach them yoga and connect them with their body, mind and spirit.
I had to first prove myself to them to be accepted into their tribe. I showed them two asanas that were quite difficult. There was a hush in the room and I felt that I had mad a good start. I shared with them that I almost lost my son to drug addiction. I could tell they were pretty “shut down” emotionally and not ready to go there. I would not judge them and so I moved forward.
I had noticed immediately that the girls wanted to sexualize every posture. This told me that they were very detached from their bodies. I went along with their humor. I knew that they began to see that their bodies could work for them rather than against them.
Some of the girls were laughing which was another distraction, but eventually they were able to come back to the present moment. I feel that having hope for the future is incredibly important. Though some were mothers, or soon to be mothers, the girls were still young and immature. I gave them all a candle and a stone and shared a story about manifestation and intention. I asked the girls to put a wish into the Universe. I led them through a meditation which they all seemed to enjoy and they began to relax, until one of the girl’s pants caught on fire.
We gathered in a circle and I shared what Namaste meant. We all put our hands in prayer and bowed. I thanked them and as I looked around, they thanked me from their hearts. I could feel sincere gratitude. I had given a little bit of my heart and made a difference in a few of the young girl’s lives.
My prayer for these girls is, first, that they can connect with their body, mind and spirit . Second, to have hope for the future. Third, that they will be able to mother these babies and pass on the gift of unconditional love. Finally, that they can forgive themselves and love the beautiful woman that they are.
I thank yoga for all that it has given me and give thanks for the gift of my practice.
Posted in Recovery, Women, Yoga
Tagged Candles, Drug Addiction, Jennifer Miller, Recovery, Substance Abuse, Women, Yoga, Yoga Practice, Young Women