Today I had the good fortune and opportunity to speak and teach a class at Platinum Health, Fitness and Yoga in Ormond Beach, FL, and though I had an outline for what I’d say, I went in with the same approach I go into teaching my Vinyassa classes – see what happens and provide what’s needed. It’s good to be prepared, but I find, for my teaching style and for the folks that have come my way, that treating people with equity is far better than going with “my plan”.
I got a chance to get to know the people there, and as always, when we connect with people, we find that the world is indeed quite small, and our commonalities are amazing. The world gets smaller the closer we get to one another 😀
When I spoke, one of the women there said it was like I was telling her story. We’re from very, very different parts of the world, and yet we had a LOT we could relate on. One is straight, one is gay, and yet we both could relate on relationship dynamics. We come from totally different families, but our role models had been together for about the same amount of time, and what was left when they passed was nearly unbearable for our families to handle.
We had been directly exposed to terrorism, and made choices to overcome it. At one point, a group of us were talking and it was an Israeli army veteran, two Irish girls, and me – a New Yorker who graduated from an aeronautical university and was three months into the airline business when September 11th happened.
These folks could all relate.
We shared, we bonded, and at one point we all cried. Before I spoke, I really had no idea how much it still hurts to talk about the accident I had in January, and though I have received many amazing and wonderful insights and experiences because of how I overcame things, I still have permanent damage and the sadness that comes from having such a short-lived career as a roller derby athlete. Though I prefer where I’m at now – officiating and volunteering – I wanted to compete on the national and work up to the international level of derby.
I shared how yoga has literally saved my life. My doctors said me walking away with what I had and not worse was a miracle. One doctor couldn’t explain how I have mobility in the right side of my body. But, as with every time I’ve been told I won’t do something, I prove the doubters and “facts” wrong. The facts are great and all, but it takes my stubborn and determined ass just that kind of doubt to prove them all wrong. I love that shit.
Yoga has not only saved my body, it’s helped keep my mind in check. Ironically, it was in a yoga class that I had my last panic attack (back in April), but it’s been yoga and meditation that’s kept me in check. And that’s really saying something, because I’d smoke a hell of a lot of weed to calm down. Now, I don’t need that anymore. When I told her I gave it up and I was a bit scared to because weed was the only thing I’ve ever tried that helps keep the chatter quiet in my mind, she said it was like training wheels, and now I’m ready for the big girl bike.
Since giving it up, I’m actually more calm overall. There used to be a bit of a dichotomy – I’d be pretty chill, but then the paranoia mixed with not handling the stress would make me upset and angry. What a waste!
Now, I’m getting help, I’m attending meetings, and I’m sharing my journey in sobriety. And though it’s an anonymous thing, I’m running into folks I meet in meetings in other aspects of my life, and it’s a great reminder that we’re not all homeless, destitute, messed-up and broken down folks. Some of us spent so much time high functioning that no one knew who the sober person was; they never met that sober person.
When I was in teacher training for my 200 hour yoga certification, we did an exercise where we discussed the various masks we wore. My last one on my list, and I literally said, “I can’t believe I’m talking about this” was the one that said SOBER.
In January, it’ll be seven years since I’ve picked up alcohol. Though I hadn’t said it at the time I gave it up, I did have a problem with the bottle and I’m forever grateful I ended it, or at least I have for the past 6+ years and I have today. That time adds up, one day at a time.
So, when I said that sober was a mask I wore, of course my instructors told me to go more into detail. With a sigh and prefacing it with, “I’m neither proud nor ashamed of this”, I went into details about my substance of choice.
I had already been forthright with my life coach about it, and several people that I associated with at my former job were aware of it. Of course they were, we did it together.
Sober was something I familiarized with because I gave up the alcohol, but I still wasn’t dealing with my addiction. It’s interesting that today’s yogi for the Yoga For Every Body 31 Day Challenge is the very same person that told me more about the addictive personality trait, and that it’s not particularly substance-specific. Addiction is addiction, no matter what we do or put into our bodies. An addict is an addict, and when we surrender our drug of choice and supplement another for it, we’re still addicts, and we’re still actively using.
I’ve been addicted to drugs, sugar, alcohol, certain types of women, certain forms of pain and abuse, anger, video games and I’m sure multiple other things.
What helps is having a program, a sponsor/friends to call and speak to when I’m hurting, meditation and prayer, skating, and yoga. This is my formula for success. And, since I am an addict, I do these things all in moderation to stay successful.
It also helps to be accountable to myself, and to the groups I’m leading. I’ve taken my passions and have groups dedicated to sharing my love for these things – the Army of 100 for fitness and nutrition, the Yoga challenge for yoga, and the Skate Every Damn Day group for skating. These things help me keep my mind busy with good stuff, and help me process through the super difficult stuff.
Speaking of yoga, our yogis in the challenge are doing a spectacular job, and they make me so proud for being so strong, brave, and curious to try it out 🙂
Some folks have been super shy about posting pictures, and that’s definitely something I can relate to, and I see it every time I teach and take a class. And it’s okay. It’s okay to be afraid, and I’m so thankful that they’re still taking part in the challenge, and still practicing. That says a lot, and they’re true champions for giving it a go!
Tomorrow starts with two big meetings, so I better get to bed and get rested. I’ll need all the brain power, energy, and confidence that I can muster!
Here’s to the next step in my big leap 🙂