Guest blogger Sally James gives us some reasons WHY YOGA!
We know by now that yoga can be a big help for recovering addicts. That in itself makes it hugely beneficial for the families and loved ones of those addicts. However, getting involved in yoga as well can also work wonders for those supporting addicts through their recovery. It may seem like an extra commitment at a tricky time, but it may well be worth it to enhance addiction recovery, and to build bonds.
A lot has been written on this already, so we won’t go into too much detail here. However, it’s well known that yoga is a fantastic tool for both short-term and long-term stress relief. Yoga can promote a general sense of calm, as well as bestowing ‘in the moment’ tools to get stress under control as and when needed. This is obviously great for addicts themselves, but it’s also of huge benefit for their families and loved ones. Supporting a recovering addict is by no means an easy task. It takes a huge emotional toll, and is beset with frequent frustrations. Not to mention all the past hurts and wrongs which the addiction may have afflicted, and which may come back to the surface as they work their way out during recovery. Having a go-to tool for stress relief will limit the distress of this time, and prevent frustration from setting back either the addict’s recovery, or the recovery of their relationship with their loved ones.
One of the hardest parts of supporting someone through recovery is bonding with them. Addiction usually brings a lot of pain in its wake. Deception, manipulation, aggression – all of these and more are frequent features of addiction. More often than not, those closest to the addict will suffer the brunt of their problems. And sometimes, as a consequence, those loved ones will return the negativity back to the addict. After the turbulence and hurt of addiction, it can be hard to recover trust and rebuild relationships. There is no quick fix for this. Wounds need time to heal, and attempting to plaster over the damage could just make things worse in the long run. However, you can promote a healing atmosphere between yourselves and the recovering addict by making a commitment to something together. Yoga is an excellent example of this. If the addict is using yoga as part of their recovery, attending or practising yoga with them will demonstrate that their loved ones are also going to be there by their side throughout the process, and are willing to be as involved as they can be. By virtue of being something that you do together, it can also help you to reconnect and bond. Finally, the peace and sense of perspective bestowed during yoga encourages deeper understanding, and healing. All of this can help to work through old tensions, rebuild trust, and help the addict to see that they are loved and supported as they undergo recovery.
This may seem like a minor point – but in fact it’s a lot more important than you may think. ‘Carer fatigue’ is a big problem experienced by a lot of people looking after recovering addicts. It is vital that those supporting an addict through recovery are themselves in a good enough physical and emotional condition to do so. If you’re not paying attention to your own health and well-being, your ability to do so for someone else will suffer as a consequence. As we’ve mentioned above, yoga is absolutely fantastic for aiding mental health, which is particularly important when you’re coping with a recovering addict. However, it’s also excellent for physical health. Yoga will improve your muscle tone, reduce joint pain, improve your cardiovascular health, bring your weight down, sort out your metabolism, and generally take your physical health up a notch. This is important, because the less you have to worry about physically, and the better you’re feeling generally, the more energy you’ll have to put into supporting your recovering loved one. It’s very important to take the time to care for yourself – and yoga is a fantastic way to enact a whole lot of self-care at once.
~Thank you Sally for your well thought out and referenced article.
I hope to hear from you again!