Our New Sobriety Web Series: SoberingUp Summit

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Check out our new web series, where we will be talking about all things related to sobriety.

Sobering Up Summit,  will also give an inside look at the people who make up Summit and to learn more about what life at Summit is like. It also gives a look at the reality of sobriety, from many different angles.

We have just released our first episode, featuring our Assistant Program Coordinator and former child star, Natanya Ross.

Natanya shares stories about acting and recovery in this episode. She talks about her own experiences and her own recovery. Natanya has been a part of the Summit Team for over two years and we are excited to have her staring in the first episode of this exciting new venture.

 

Check back frequently as there is a lot more to come! Also, subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get updates on our new videos.

The Benefits of Meditation for Individuals in Recovery

 

Hands of young beautiful woman practicing yoga indoors

 

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Meditation (Step 11 of the 12-Steps)

Once seen as a helpful adjunct to addiction recovery, meditation is listed in the 11th step of the 12-step program. Mindful awareness methods taken from Buddhist practices are being developed as addiction interventions in their own right.

Drug and alcohol addiction are both difficult to treat and each typically requires a comprehensive treatment plan. In addition to detox, therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and rehab, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices, particularly meditation, can provide a vital source of additional support during recovery.

At the University of Washington, Professor Alan Marlatt, director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center, is researching the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapy in relapse prevention. He sees Buddhism as less of a religion and more of a “manual of how to deal with the behavior of your mind.”

Elements Behavioral Health says meditation is effective because it rewires critical pathways in the brain. By changing how their brain processes self-awareness, introspection, anxiety, and stress, addicts can reasonably evaluate everyday situations, and react to them more appropriately without the help of drugs or alcohol. Meditation’s positive effect on stress and anxiety is especially important because both are frequent triggers for relapse. In addition, two of the primary advantages for including meditation into a recovery plan are:

It’s Easy to Learn — Any recovering alcoholic or addict can learn to calm his or her mind with meditation.

It Can be Done Anywhere — This is one of the most valuable aspects of using meditation for addiction recovery. Since stress is one of the primary triggers for relapse, meditative techniques are particularly beneficial because they can be done whenever and wherever stress is felt.

Further References

Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society  is a  non-traditional movement that is bringing traditional Buddhist principles into the practice. It is a place to educate and practice buddhist meditation with multiple Centers throughout the United States. For people in recovery, there are Refuge Recovery meetings, which many use in conjunction with the 12 steps, or as an alternative support group.

The Buddhist Recovery Network aims to promote Buddhist meditation methods for addiction recovery and encourage further research. Go to www.buddhistrecovery.org for reading recommendations, to source research papers, or to find out about conference presentations.

In their book, Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing from Addiction, doctors Bien and Bien describe meditation exercises to aid addiction recovery based on their experience as therapists and meditators; www.mindfulpsychology.com .

Kevin Griffin applies a Buddhist perspective to the 12-step recovery program in his book, One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps, giving useful meditations to practice throughout. For info, go to www.kevingriffin.net.

It Takes a Village: Recovery in a Therapeutic Community

The proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” arose from the idea that children are more likely to become healthy, well-adjusted adults when they have the support of their whole community. We, as humans, thrive with connections to society.

How Does This Relate to Recovery?

Recovering addicts are more successful when they have support from a therapeutic community. The community can be comprised of treatment providers or other recovering addicts. This is one reason that 12-step fellowships are highly recommended, and why they continue to grow worldwide.

What Is a Therapeutic Community?

Therapeutic Communities used to refer to long-term residential treatment centers, in which clients lived together along with therapists and supportive staff. Today the term is used more loosely and can refer to rehabs, intensive outpatient programs, day programs, recovery houses and also 12-step fellowships.

The Benefits of Recovering in a Community

By definition, a therapeutic community should take a group-based approach; recovery is more successful when people work together to support one another.

In a residential setting, resources and assistance are available around the clock. Staff is present at all times to facilitate groups and make sure that the atmosphere is conducive to recovery. Inpatient settings also allow people to separate from the triggers in their natural environments.

Outpatient settings also provide support from trained staff, but this is limited to certain times of the day. Group and individual therapy sessions allow people in early recovery to learn coping skills and develop methods to stay clean in their environment.

12-step programs are comprised solely of recovering addicts, who share their experience and strength to help fellow addicts. The programs follow a structure and have a specific series of steps that empower addicts to help themselves.

How to Find the Support You Need

When you are new to recovery, it’s a good idea to observe what is going on around you. Look for people who are committed to their recovery. Find supportive people in the beginning and continue to develop those relationships as time goes on. Talking to others honestly about how you feel and asking for help when you need it are key parts of maintaining long-term recovery.

In treatment programs, utilize the staff’s knowledge and identify resources in your community. If you participate in a 12-step program, go to meetings regularly, find a sponsor and start working steps. Whatever the setting, a therapeutic community offers a recovering addict a natural support network. No one has to deal with life in isolation.

Stretching your Recovery Through Yoga

It should come as no surprise that yoga has entered the recovery lexicon.

Aruni Nan Futuronsky, a Kripalu Senior Life Coach and Kripalu Yoga teacher who teaches Yoga and Recovery: 12-Step Spirituality, says that the complementary relationship between the 12-Steps and yoga is a perfect marriage for healing. “Addiction is the ultimate checking out of the moment…Yoga, on and off the mat, is the checking in to reality,” she says. “Brilliantly, yoga and recovery programs work together to cover all bases.”

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a technique that uses physical postures and controlled breathing to lengthen and strengthen the spine, increase flexibility, calm the mind, improve concentration, and promote patience. But yoga also contributes to a greater sense of control in more acute states when experiencing cravings, insomnia, and agitation, which are often associated with withdrawal. Classes are offered everywhere, from community centers, to luxury spas. You can even do your Downward Dog in the privacy of your own home. There is Ashtanga, Hatha, Viyasa, Kundalini yoga and more. Regular practice is recommended to fully experience the many benefits of yoga.

Yoga is a natural complement to addiction and recovery. “A 12-Step program approaches addiction at a cognitive level,” says Nikki Myers, co-founder of Y12SR, the Yoga of 12-Step Recovery,” and yoga includes a somatic approach. The combining of the two creates a model that truly addresses addiction as the physical, mental, and spiritual dis-ease that it is.”

“The Western approach to addiction generally falls into what is called cognitive behavioral therapy,” says Rolf Gates, master yoga teacher, addictions counselor, and author of Meditations from the Mat. Rolf further adds, “A yoga or meditation teacher draws one’s attention to the cause of suffering and supports the student in practicing new behaviors. As a result, the Eastern and Western approaches to addiction treatment are almost identical.

It’s time to take a deep breath, say “Om,” and stretch towards your new tomorrow.

Further Information:

Addiction, Recovery and Yoga (Film)

American Yoga Association (AYA) (www.americanyogassociation.org)

Yoga Recovery Online (studiolivetv.com/yogarecovery)Presents online yoga recovery videos by Kyczy Hawk, founder of Yoga and Recovery and creator of SOAR (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) program.