Posts Tagged al-anon

the LOVE Sangha

I hope this piece finds you enjoying the beautiful summer.  A new month is upon us and with that, I also have a few new things in the works.  One being, I will be moving my current blog over to another service.  Over the next few postings, I will provide information as to where you can continue to follow me on this journey.

For today’s particular post, I would like to share about my latest project.  The LOVE Sangha.

I wear the LOVE tattoo as a means of creating awareness and providing support for friends and family affected by addiction, depression, self-harm and suicide.  With several people in my life that battle mental health issues, it is one way I can help bring light to their world.

Statistics tell us:

  • That for every alcoholic, 16 people are directly affected.  This includes spouses or partners, kids, friends and co-workers, just to name a few.
  • In 2012, an estimated 16 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.  This represented 6.9 percent of all U.S. adults.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death; homicide ranks 16th.
home meditation

As someone who attends al-anon and has loved ones whom have experienced major depression, which led to suicide or attempted suicide, I have also found great refuge with meditation.  That is why I have created the LOVE Sangha.  I chose the word LOVE, as an acronym: Let Others Voluntarily Evolve.  One of the most difficult things for those in al-anon to do is let go.  We can’t change someone who isn’t willing to do it for themselves.  And it is just as important to work on yourself.  The LOVE Sangha is not a replacement for a traditional 12-step meeting.  Rather, it is a safe space to help you explore a deeper sense of self, as a community.  One does not need to be part of any 12-step program or have any experience with meditation in order to participate.

This is a free online forum, which provides anyone from around the world to participate.  Using a video conferencing system, it will allow you to participate from any computer, tablet or phone.  Having a support system is equally important for those who are effected by mental health.

Please reach out to me directly if you or anyone you know may be interested.

be well-



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Addiction is an awful Beast

I began writing this particular post in response to a comment I saw on Facebook.  After taking some time to reread what I wrote, I decided to go from another angle.

Like many others, I was saddened to hear of the news about Oscar-winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  There have been many great articles, Facebook posts and kind words shared all over the media about him.  And some are expressing views the other direction.  While it is also a right to voice your opinion about how this was a “selfish act”, I would ask that you continue to read below.

Addiction doesn’t care if you are an award-winning actor, the Wolf of Wall Street, a suburban mom, or a homeless man sleeping in the park.  This is a real disease.  And until you are intimate with a person such as a spouse, child, or friend with someone struggling with addiction, I encourage you to educate yourself.

There are many reasons people begin to drink or drug.  Often it’s for experimentation.  Maybe it’s because we want to be “cool.”  Other times, it is used as a coping mechanism to mask the extreme pain and hurt one might be feeling.  This can be physical pain, emotional pain, or mental anguish.

Addiction = separation.  Separation from your physical self, your mind, relationships with friends, family, coworkers and maybe your higher power.  It is true, we always have a choice.  However in a single moment, we may not be our true selves.  Many people just say, “all they need to do is ask for help.”  That is so much easier said than done.  Think of the worst scenario you could ever imagine getting yourself into; where you might feel embarrassed, ashamed, hurt.  Think about how society might react because you’ve gotten yourself into this situation.  And now, how easy is it for you to ask for help?  Is it really that easy?

The great news is that help does exist and people really do care about one-another.  In fact, I received a note from a friend from Indiana asking for references in Boston because they needed help once their friend’s heroin detox was over.  Immediately I suggested three clinics.  The network for traditional 12 step programs such as AA, NA, al-Anon, OA are extremely powerful.  So are the people who attend them.

I proudly wear the following tattoo on my arm-


To Write Love on Her Arm is a great organization that helps create support and provide awareness for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-harm and suicide.   I have friends and family that fall into each of those categories.  So, I know this issue very well.

Below are references for help with addiction.

Addiction is a beast.  Some are lucky enough to find their way out.  There is no cure.  It truly is one day at a time.

be well-

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1 in 1,000

me with Nikki Myers, creator of Y12SR

This spring will be four years since I began my journey with yoga and the recovery community.  I attended a Yoga Journal Conference and Nikki Myers, creator of Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR), was one of the presenters for a three-day immersion class.  Just a few months earlier I had completed my 200 hour teacher training and my friend Mary and I were about to embark on bringing yoga to the 12 Step community in Boston.  This immersion class was our first step.

Mary and I bring different perspectives to the recovery community.  Our goal was to help others use yoga as a tool, an adjunct to recovery, instead of a replacement for a meeting or sponsor.  Nikki has been our primary teacher along the journey.  And I am excited to share that Nikki along with several others are offering a four-day FREE online conference from March 17-21, called Recovery 2.0 Beyond Addiction.

We are surrounded by addition all the time.  Look around and see the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and Type II diabetes.  These are preventable diseases caused by addiction.  The top five addictions people focus on are drugs, alcohol, sex, money, and food.

One in one thousand make it to long-term sobriety, meaning 20 years.  Experts in the field of addiction and recovery will be sharing their tools to help you have a successful recovery and successful life.  Just to name a few of the experts presenting:

  • Tommy Rosen (host of conference)
  • Nikki Myers
  • Rolf Gates
  • Richard Branson
  • Noah Levine
  • Sukhdev Jackson
  • Trudy Goodman
  • Guru Prem

Any person affected by addiction- AA, Al-anon, NA, OA, gambling, sex or any other, this conference is for you!  There is no other resource that offers such a diverse, yet connected community than what Tommy Rosen has put together.  I invite you to join me and countless others as we move along our journey.

Click here to join the conference (for FREE)-

be well-

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Hell is the place where nothing connects.- T.S. Elliot

This weekend I had the great fortune to spend time with one of my beloved teachers, Nikki Myers, and a wonderful group of friends as we discussed how yoga and the 12 steps of recovery connect with one-another.  The workshop brought people together from all over the country, as they are.

There is a beautiful marriage between the ancient wisdom of yoga philosophy and any traditional step program.  Both speak of creating a strong foundation, finding acceptance and the ability to surrender.  The more we would dive into one area, the stronger it was apparent in the other.

Often times addiction allows us to disconnect with our bodies.  Yoga is just one tool that helps to get back into your body.  It is true that our issues live in our tissues.  Steps 1-3 are about turning that vessel right side up, creating a foundation.  Steps 4-9 are about cleaning out all our gunk and preparing that vessel to sail, building our core from the inside out.  Steps 10-12 are setting sail, finding our expression.

All bodies record the physical and emotional trauma of living.- Ida Rolf

I had a very different experience this year during the workshop compared to the last two.  There were issues from my past, which I had not considered traumatic, but my body said otherwise.  It was very evident during my practice while my muscles were quietly quivering, releasing energy that had been stored for nearly 25 years.  And then during savasana, the flood gates opened.  At the end of the practice, there was a sense of release.

Trauma comes in all forms.  Physical abuse, accidents, surgical procedures, natural disasters, violence, and countless others.  I attribute the response during my practice this weekend to a culmination of stuck emotions from being a young child spending so much time around doctors and hospitals, the anniversary of my friend’s death from high school soon approaching and the anxiety I held during this past 9/11.  My body needed a release and that’s exactly what happened.  I am grateful for this, as now I feel lighter and a little more aware.

Y12SR are classes being held all over that are a combination of a meeting and a yoga class.  They generally run 90-120 minutes, depending on the studio or location of the class.  All A’s are welcome.  As it’s been explained before, “AA, NA, OA, Al-anon- anyone with an @ss is welcome.”

To find more information on Y12SR, please check out:

be well-



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