Updated: May 30
I never knew what anxiety was until I hit bottom with it in my tenth year of recovery. Upon reflection, I can see it was with me all along, and I had no idea how not feeling anxious felt.
In my tenth year of recovery, anxiety slowly took over until I became slightly agoraphobic. The anxiety manifested mainly in my gut, causing abdominal distress every time I went out. Finally, it became so uncomfortable to go out for fear of being sick that it was easier to stay home. I was checked for everything medically, and all my tests returned normal. That was the turning point when I needed additional support for my recovery. Through talk therapy, I learned about how far back the issues went. But the fundamental tools started to develop when I took my Step Eleven practice to the next level.
The first thing I learned through research was how to sit. I was practicing repetitive prayer and would get uncomfortable, leading to an internet search for "how to sit comfortably in meditation." Next came the breath, and today I consider that the most important thing I teach my clients in treatment. When I learned how to regulate my breathing, it was life-changing. Anxiety no longer dictated my life, and I was in control of my body and my responses. At last, I learned how to communicate with my nervous system, telling it through the breath, "everything is OK."
Prayer, meditation, and breathwork eventually led to the yoga practice bringing me the additional tools for self-regulation and an overall better quality of life. It is such a joy to give others the wisdom, experience, and ability to practice these simple tools that can be used to bring greater ease into the body, mind, spirit, and recovery.