81: Y12SR Yoga of 12 Step Recovery – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)

We talk with Nikki Myers, the founder of Y12SR, to find out more about the program and how it works. Nikki shares her story about how she came to find yoga, what made her want to incorporate it into her program of recovery, and how studying the foundations of yoga led her to see the connection between yoga and the healing process of recovery. We find out answers to some of the questions you may have about the program: What does a Y12SR meeting look like and how does it run? Are there any requirements for membership? How does a yoga practice incorporate the 12 steps? Listen in as Nikki gives us all the information on how the Y12SR program works, what it can do for your recovery, and how to get involved. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

Y12SR’s Website: https://y12sr.com/

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult


welcome back recovery sort of i think i was really loud doing that i don’t know why i felt like screaming but i’m jason a guy in recovery and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re going to have why 12 sr yoga of 12-step recovery on today i heard about this like a year ago it’s weird so i think of i lived in baltimore for so long and i was like oh yeah we we have everything here right and i’m like i’m gonna go to cecil county they don’t have good fast food places like none of that [ _ ] exists there right they don’t have any and then i come up here and i hear about all these weird things like recovery dharma and y12 sr and i’m like where the where the [ _ ] is this stuff from like i’ve never heard and i didn’t know what to make of it but everybody knows about it up here apparently yeah i was introduced to it i it’s been a year about five and two years ago through a recovery event there was a recovery event at a local community park and a lady in our area that was putting on a y12 sr or hosting i guess they call it a y12sr group came to the event donated some uh yoga sessions along with the 12 ysr and you know it was great it was we went to she did a session there that day and then she we went to a session at her yoga studio and it was pretty interesting that’s also is it like step one downward dog step two tree pose step three child’s pose like it’s sort of yeah i mean it was a little more basic because it when we went it was still a fairly new concept to most of us so everything was very basic i mean i at this point in my life knowing that like uh you know some of the experts in research on trauma are talking about these ancient movements that we do um that we’re noticing that people have done for thousands and thousands of years and how they’re actually super helpful for healing trauma and get us so i don’t want to get too deep into this but basically trauma happens and your body has the memory stored in it separate from the narrative portion of your brain’s ability to tell memory and so what happens is you have feelings that aren’t attached to any words and you don’t understand they’re just kind of floating around you’re like oh my god i’m anxious and i don’t get why right or you have the other experience where you have an actual memory of something really horrific but you just tell it straight face and deadpan and you’re like yeah it happened and no feelings attached whatsoever because there’s a disconnect there and the the the yoga world the tai chi world these ancient movements bring some of that back together um you know they they heal kind of the the body piece of it the sensory piece of it um and sometimes can help us put all the stuff back together emdr is another therapy modality that helps with that but it’s all about healing that body memory that really has nothing you can’t really talk through it because it’s not attached to the talky understanding portion of your brain which is a weird concept but it’s like we’re getting there with the research that that’s the direction we’re going with it yeah and it’s interesting you know we we talk about you know the disease of addiction being like a physical mental spiritual disease and for me it’s like each of those is its own independent and isolated thing like it’s got its own category and its own practice of healing and this these concepts seem more into like tying those things together making like a whole a whole person and for my compartmentalization brain like that’s really difficult to want to do you got to put your corn in your mashed potatoes yeah i can’t be mixing my things together they can’t be mixed you got to put your carrot pieces in your jello the gym is for the physical aspects of my disease you know you bring that up and it is interesting that that you know we went to this 12-step program and we go but we go to this 12-step program and they say hey it’s a physical spiritual mental and emotional disease we’re going to work on the mental part all right we’re going to ignore all those other pieces i’m not there and work on the rest of that we need to do them but we just think we would incorporate more of that in there it would make sense i mean i guess it attacks the spiritual you’re kind of trying to get a relationship with a higher power of some sort yeah it does recommend prayer and meditation once you get to 11 but i mean three quarters so that people never make it there yeah that’s true and you’re doing the mental because you’re doing the steps and writing about it was and i guess the emotional was supposed to come out in the steps if you make it to four or five they definitely never touch the physical portion though no i don’t know other than abstinence maybe that doesn’t count that’s not actually i don’t know that that’s really healing yeah i mean it’s a start surely wasn’t healing when i was still damaging that’s for sure true uh no but okay so i think yeah this will be interesting we got the founder of y12sr nikki myers is going to come on and and talk about it and describe it so that way for anybody who’s interested we can try it out you know i i think for me if i’d had like an ability to listen to some of these programs being described before i went i might have went i was like i was like alan sounds scary like i don’t wanna they might do weird stuff there i don’t what if they ask me to talk when i walk in right and if they’d have just been on the podcast and been like yeah dude you just come in and sit down like anywhere else i’d be like oh okay cool i can go to alana i don’t know so hopefully we’ll find out some of that stuff and uh just excited to talk to nikki and we’ll have her on now okay so we’re here with the founder of y12sr nikki myers if you don’t know what y12sr is because you’ve never heard of it that is yoga of 12 step recovery which was new to me when i heard of it not that long ago uh and so generally nikki uh welcome for one how are you welcome thank you i’m great today thank you very much excellent that’s awesome so we generally start whenever we have a program one we figure the best thing is to give you like five to eight minutes just to tell us your story and version of it well five to eight minutes i know condensed ten how old i am

yeah yeah yeah um you know i usually start really whenever um in a work context in particular no matter where i am i i do the same thing and the running joke always was i used to say if i was ever speaking at harvard medical school i would introduce myself the same way and then three years ago i spoke at harvard medical school so i got it i got the chance to do it and it’s hi i’m nikki i’m an addict i’m an alcoholic i’m a co-dependent i’m the survivor-able childhood and adult sexual trauma i’m a love addict i’m a recovering debtor spender and and the big three-letter word is anne right the big three-letter word is it and a lot of what what sar is about is bridging that and so for me on the other side of that and is i am a yoga therapist i am a somatic experiencing practitioner somatic experiencing is the trauma healing methodology that was developed by dr peter levine so i’m grateful to have done all that work and to to be in that work i am an mba i am the mother of two living and one deceased child i’m the grandmother of five i’m actually the great grandmother of three i’ve got three beautiful great grandchildren and i love seeing all that in the same sentence right and part of the whole path of healing has in continually in the whole path of healing has been this right i’ve discovered and yoga pieces was a big part of this for me i’ve discovered when i make one part of myself bad awful and wrong and another part of myself right and wonderful and praiseworthy what gets created inside is a split that there’s this internal war that goes on and that separation that internal war is really the antithesis of yoga yoga means union it means integration it means wholeness right so this whole part of this journey has been accepting and welcoming and bringing in all parts of myself in in uh in a way that doesn’t make one bad often wrong and the other right and wonderful and any of those kinds of things so the journey has been part of the journey is everyone gets to play right we all get to play and come in here so it’s been this integration process um you know and i love saying it all now and i say it all with gratitude and grace i’m grateful for every single part of this journey and you know what was a a a period in my life of destruction and chaos and all the things that addiction brings that has now turned into the gift of my life right it empowers and and really is the basis for who i am and what i who and how i relate in the world today so um so i’m grateful for it all and long story short because like i said this could really get along with this um i um jails institutions and death right i know a lot of people know those phrases i know them all right jails institutions and death um um the through the throes of addiction i mean i was in commercial sex work i was in all those things the whole nine yards with with all of it um and then uh the death was actually the way i love to speak of it was the death of my own soul when i did walk into the rooms of a 12-step program which was in um 1987. i first walked into the rooms of a 12-step program and when i walked in there you know it it truly was um uh i was spiritually bankrupt i was um um i couldn’t put a sentence together barely put a sentence together and i found in there people who really did love me till i could learn how to love myself right and walked me back into things so part of the story with me was i stayed clean for eight years the first eight years of recovery and started you know things started going well in one perspective um i got my kids have been separated from me so i got my kids back over the course those eight years i got the car back and the house back and you know all that stuff great job went back to school got a master’s degree matter of fact got straight aids through the whole thing so i didn’t destroy all the brain cells right right now in the whole trip i didn’t destroy them all anyway um uh all of that was going on and after eight years i relapsed right and um uh i happened to relapse where the relapse happened was out of the country right and so um i i started out in one place in europe and then found my way to amsterdam so you can only imagine

you know that part of the story right that was like the fantasy as a teenager was like to leave the us and go to amsterdam and

well i did it right

and um you know i’m in the throes of my addiction there i finally make it back home by this time i moved away from um where i live now right where i grew up which is indianapolis indiana and um i was living on the east coast in boston and so i made it back finally to the east coast and made it back into the rooms right and so this was after eight years clean all right eight years clean so make it back into the rooms and it was shortly after being back that i was kind of re-introduced to yoga and uh because i had been introduced to it earlier in life but this time i got really serious about it right as i’m coming out of this relapse and uh first introduced to a practice called bikram which is hot yoga and then was introduced to a practice called ashtanga and i fell in love with that practice i just fell in love with that practice and um started really getting deep in the philosophy in the in in the physical practice the whole nine yards and again long story short right i start deciding that you know i’m reading yoga philosophy and all this and you know flipping pages and books and i’m going damn that sounds like the 12-step program right now read another sentence go damn that sounds like the 12-step program right and so i made this decision that maybe i didn’t need a 12-step program anymore right that i was sick of hearing the same [ __ ] in those rooms all the time over and over and over again that right now i had this yoga thing so four years after that right i relapsed again i relapsed again so i relapsed twice eight years the first time four years the second time and it was after that second experience of relapse that i recognized that at least for someone like me an addict like me that these two things needed to be deeply coupled that they needed to be deeply combined what i had done is compartmentalize things and put things in boxes right and i knew after that second relapse that there was a component missing for me right that there i had been all in my head about all of this stuff and that there was another component that wasn’t being addressed and it had to do with the body that you know we say trauma really lives in our bodies right so it had to do with the body that wasn’t being uh addressed in a way that could really bring healing for me and um there wasn’t anything about what connects the mind and the body right that these were the pieces that were missing and i gotten some of this in yoga right i had the cognitive pieces from the 12-step program and why 12sr was born when we combined the cognitive and somatic because that’s what it is right it’s the combination of those things um and that was in um 2000 the first white tourbillon program was in 2004. it was actually born and conceived in 2003 but the first one was 2004 and what i found is that there are a lot of folks just like me right that there is this other component that just can support more sustainable recovery right long-term sustainable recovery there’s another component the way that we often talk about this from particularly from yoga philosophy pieces the yogis the ancients speak of we have five bodies there’s not just one that there’s five so there’s the physical there’s the emotional there’s the mental there’s the character and the heart right the heart being the spiritual heart rather than the blood pump right and what the yogis say is that you know while those need to be in a place of integration that they need to be in a place that they’re really not separate things at all when they are aligned when our five bodies are aligned when there’s a sense of connection uh between them then we walk more in a state of wholeness when they’re misaligned or disconnected or any of that then it’s much easier for dysfunction to enter in this multi-dimensional system so it the whole idea was to support and have tools that address all five of those bodies you know rather than just being uh focused on the mind and the cognitive pieces right instead to really have tools that address all five of those bodies to work to bring back into um a place of integration right a place of connection and so why 12 sr and what we do is one of the tools in a sustainable platform for for recovery and like i said i’m so grateful to say you know for someone like me in july of 2020 i celebrated 20 years since that last relapse and for me it’s been the depth of adding in some other pieces right some other pieces i’m still deeply involved in 12 steps i believe the 12 steps are brilliant for real yet right they really are they’re brilliant and there’s some ways in my experience to even deepen and adding in this body connection right adding in this breath connection has been has deepened my my uh understanding and application of 12 steps in a way that you know i didn’t even know it was possible i always say the 12-step program saved my life and it did and i’m so deeply grateful right i mean it saved my life so it’s been like a lifeboat for me but yoga has been a launching pad it’s taken my recovery to a place i didn’t even know was possible right it’s just just my recovery taking it to a height that i didn’t even know was possible so you know i’m deeply grateful yeah deeply great so that was the long version that was close that was close so and and sitting here talking with nikki and it’s the gorgeous nikki who’s vibrant and energetic and lively and then i find out she has great grandkids and i’ve never been sold on yoga more than this moment like oh that that must work yeah i would not believe you had grandkids that’s amazing great grandkids yeah great grand that’s what i mean incredible um and so it’s interesting i mean i know this research has been going on behind the scenes for a while

so i’m a mental health practitioner myself and so we believe in breathing mindfulness at the bare minimum and then you have whole offshoots of you know styles of therapy like uh internal family systems which talks about the different parts of self which kind of ties into the five different pieces you were talking about and sensory motor psychotherapy which is about the movement and polyvagal which is all this stuff that really ties into what you’re saying right and and like that’s pretty new so you stumbling upon the yoga experience as a healing for trauma i mean that you know you beat bessel van der kolk and his body keeps the score by a couple years um but that’s that’s incredible that like you were i guess on this page at the same time they were discovering this page really yeah um um you know but this stuff is saying right true this yoga is 5 000 years old right so or something like that this stuff is really ancient and really if you do research and you go back some ways you can very easily see how the founders of the 12-step program played in this a little bit right they really really did now and i can only imagine what that must have been like in 1935 when 12 steps was born right if it if you think it’s woo-woo now right only imagine you can only imagine what it might have been like then um but you can see that that there are really really some unbelievable connections between 12 steps and yoga philosophy and then adding in the yoga practices with it has been um you know it’s been phenomenal and yeah it kind of it kind of um in some way precedes um um at least the popularization of bezel’s work and peter levine’s work and of you know um steven porges work about the vagus nerve and all of those kinds of things but the yogis were talking about the vagus nerve a long long time ago right they didn’t have the tools to do the kind of you know delving in that we can now that i know of and i have no idea how they knew it but they knew some [ _ ] about this right right yeah yeah right and you would you talk about i mean tai chi like an ancient practice of movement and spirituality and getting in tune with yourself and it’s like somehow we get too smart and forget these things over time that’s right well can i ask a more basic question so i’m somewhat very minor uh introductions to yoga i’ve done i think two or three classes and one of them was through uh y12sr i love it class so i just always sort of knew it as like i looked at it as almost like an exercise but it sounds like obviously there’s a lot more to it it sounds a lot more ancient you know with the philosophies and things is would you describe uh yoga as more of a is it like a religious or spiritual practice is it a martial art is it a philosophy like what exactly yeah yeah yeah um um the spirituality piece of it yes it is a spiritual practice spiritual though in the sense of my internal spirit right from a yoga philosophy point of view right and i always think of this when i with my great-grandchildren i have one that was just born right and she’s now four months old but there’s and and the older one i have a picture of me holding her at two hours old at two hours old and i’m looking at this child going this is homeless this is what she’s a little piece of wholeness that is extracted from homeless that’s exactly what she is and that’s exactly what we all are right we’re a little piece of wholeness extracted from wholeness and then what happens is when we come into this plane of existence right at first she can’t tell herself from anything she doesn’t know herself from anything right but then we start getting all this programming we start this programming that goes on right and program they talk about the mass right and the things that that we put on we get told okay you’re a girl so girls do this girls don’t do that right or you get told like in my case you’re black black fits in this box i speak of this is like the matrix we come into the matrix and the matrix is binary this is good this is bad this is right this is wrong this is inferior this is superior and we get programmed into this and what that does is cover up our wholeness we get all this [ _ ] dumped on top of our wholeness right and what the yogis want to offer and i assert the 12-step too it’s in many ways the same thing is examining all that conditioning that gets put on top of us so we can come back to our wholeness right and what yoga offers is a whole set of tools a whole set of uh you know all of that with the with the intent in mind of bringing us back to who it is that we really are without all this program and stuck on top right and it’s a whole set of tools that goes with that and the oscillator piece working with the body is one piece working with mind is another piece right working with um qualities and character like we do in 12-step that’s another piece right so they’re all these pieces involved in order to hopefully get us back to to our original wholeness who it is that we really are awesome awesome yeah holy as in put a w on the front of that holy um so when we talk about the y12 sr program for anybody who’s never heard of it is this something that people could do all by itself as a program or does it work best in conjunction with another 12 step going on somewhere else yeah we usually describe it as an adjunct right it’s another piece of a platform um you know and something in your platform may need to address the cognitive pieces 12 steps or cognitive behavioral therapy or you know any of the other kind of programs like that that really really go at that from from that perspective that are really looking at it from the cognitive perspective for many people they need something like that for a sustainable platform for recovery for long-term recovery um um there are a lot of people that come to juan puebasar for whatever reason may have had an experience that they deemed less than than whole less than good at a 12-step meeting right and you know even here’s the truth right we know the deal on that right that um 12 steps some 12-step means some are the most wonderful in on the planet but there are others that i can see how someone may have had an off-putting experience relative to a specific meeting that doesn’t make 12-step bad just like you know there’s some yoga classes and yoga practices same thing or church same thing right you can have a bad experience in any in anything so it’s not i don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water as far as that goes with that but there are people that come to want to have a sr that have had that experience and usually it’s like you know they recognize that there’s something in those 12 steps right that there’s a path toward healing in those 12 steps but because of whatever experience they might have had have decided they’re not doing that and you know they’re not going that route right so we see a lot of that in 12 steps right we also see um um a lot of people who have started the yogic path right and have found out have recognized that you know um whatever it is that they’re doing right the bottle of vodka they’re drinking every night or whatever it is that they’re doing is it and they can’t quit right and so and they said well this this habit right that i’m in i can’t break it so this dysfunctional pattern is stronger than my intention right they have the intention to do something but their dysfunctional pattern is keeping them from achieving what it is that they really want and we see a lot of that in juan professor right yogis who want to quit for example smoking weed or whatever it is but i haven’t been able to do it so they come to what 12 sr right is this bridge in order to work through what it is how their dysfunctional patterns are stronger than their intentions right

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so and that’s it so i remember when i first heard about y12sr my first initial thought because i i have really goofy thoughts at times i was like so like every step you work is a certain pose like do i do tree for step one and i had no real understanding of what it meant yeah is there a specific way that you kind of work steps through the yoga not really what we work the way that we work this is that the reason for working steps is to get at an embody and really live the spiritual principles that sit underneath the steps right the last words of the 12 steps are practicing the principles and all our affairs right so what we key in on is what it means to practice principles right so the real work and what that really and how i can feel it in my body and i’ll give you an example of that right you know i was telling you i’m still um very much involved in 12-step programs and so i sponsor right now it seems like all my sponsors are yoga teachers or yoga practitioners or all that kind of stuff and here’s a little example one of my spontees one time called me up and they were in the middle of this very kind of vitriolic kind of nasty divorce and they called me up and they said you know i’m tired of this i can’t do it anymore i’m sick of this you go going on and on and on and on right and then she said i surrender like that and i’m on the other in the phone with it i’m going hmm and what i said is does that feel like savasana so savasana is the final relaxation pose in in the practice and usually it feels so good right well shavasana is the embodiment of surrender that’s what surrender feels like if it doesn’t feel like that is not surrender she was in resignation right she was resigned right and i can say so it’s a way to stop the [ _ ] right i can’t [ _ ] myself when i can admit that this is what i feel in my body right so i could say it say nope we could agree it doesn’t feel like shavasana and if it doesn’t feel like shavasana it’s not surrender that’s not surrender right and so and all the spiritual principles have a sin safe feeling associated with them for another example you may never know i’m being dishonest or lying but i do and i feel that in my body there’s a sin state feeling there’s really you know that is something i can feel and so we bring people to that so you can’t [ _ ] yourself right you can’t say you know right you talking radical honesty if it doesn’t feel like that in your body you know that you [ _ ] right and then tools to come back tools to keep coming back right using breath work you know and using all the tools and program to calling somebody finding connection all of those kinds of things i i find that fascinating because in uh therapy sessions when people are very disconnected from their feelings we’ll do exercises that are like hey let’s be an actor or an actress and pretend what it would be like to be disappointed right and so we start to learn how these feelings feel in our body for when the moment happens but i have never ever thought about feeling a spiritual principle ahead of time like never considered it that’s right that’s wild so that’s that’s what we teach to right so that hopefully in my walk in the world right number one when i’m triggered right there’s some things that i know first i recognize i’m triggered and then there’s some tools that i can use to come back to a sense of balance to come back to a sense of homeostasis in that moment right and so it’s all that that’s so interesting i know there’s some differences between your well i don’t say your group but y12sr uh which you found it and you know these anonymous 12-step fellowships that all seem to follow a similar model of you know we don’t have ties to anything else we don’t have this we don’t have that very strong in traditions i noticed uh going through the sr website i didn’t see any traditions i did see that like there was some hey these are our friends in the world of the recovery and yoga community um is there a reason you didn’t adopt the traditional model of having traditions and sticking to that kind of concept right um we did want to keep it generally different from that because um even though what a white over certain meeting looks like is a meeting and then a yoga practice right the theme of why toys are is the issues live in our tissues right that’s been our theme forever right and so we usually have a meeting then a practice or it can be a practice in a meeting and it doesn’t matter which one as long as the two are tied together it doesn’t matter which goes first or any of that as long as there’s this combination between the cognitive and the somatic right that’s really the that’s the juice right it really is the juice in that we did um write the a world service organization who owns the steps and asks them would it be okay if we use the steps as a model within that and we got permission to use the steps right um uh but we we still in in that well just like a treatment center anybody else they use the steps you ask for permission in order to use the steps um but we wanted to keep it different it’s different right there’s a whole when you include the body in it there’s a whole um a magnitude of difference right so we definitely wanted to keep it distinct from that and we well all addictions are in the room at the same time right which is another one of the powerful things that we found about juan tobistar and i know there’s some universal 12-step meetings right this one it’s really you got a-a-n-a-o-a-s-l-a i always say e-i-e-i-o right in the world all at the same time so for example some of the things we’ve seen relative to that someone from ex for example the al-anon program right and they speak and they’re talking about their experience and you know the whole nine yards and then there’s someone else in the room who is directly affected by the disease of addiction substance or you know just directly affected and um oftentimes they’ll go over to the person that’s in al-anon i’ve seen this so many times it’s not funny and they’ll say something like you know i was listening to you speak and now i get how my wife feels now i understand how you know my mother feels right because you can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame right so you got all of these folks in the room at the same time and you get to see that there’s something that the substance or the behavior is like the tip of the iceberg there’s something else that’s going on underneath there right there’s a whole deeper level and so um there countless times we see that kind of thing happen and that’s been a big benefit are there any and this is maybe a portion where we get into a little more of the specifics of how the program works are there any qualifications for membership don’t even need to be in recovery so to speak you could just do yoga you know we we say this we see that this program is for anyone um dealing with their own addiction or affected by the behavior of others the addictive behavior of others and if you think about that right i always say that was one of the most brilliant sentences i’ve ever written right

just because who’s left out of that right there is no one that is left out of that i mean even if you’re not directly affected even at a societal level we’re all affected by this thing we’re all affected by it and you know one of the deeper ways that we love one of the things we love to do in wachovasar is kind of broaden the definition of addiction right if you think about it and you know i’m paraphrasing one of the classical text of yoga which is the yoga sutras right and i assert that that the yoga sutures really basically say we’re all addicted to the way we process our reality we’re all addicted to the way we process our reality right and so at at some level what we do in juan pueblos are is just broad usually you think addiction and you think substance or behavior or you know that kind of thing but you know in in reality we all get addicted to how you know our defenses and our and you know our way of being so we love to broaden the definition hopefully to bring a whole different level of heal and so i know not everybody used the way i used right because i’m just picturing a y12 sr meeting being in my neighborhood uh you know my drug use was pretty extreme i i might have said i was going to come chances are i wasn’t coming if i came once i probably wasn’t coming back just because i was a little preoccupied um i know that’s not everybody’s picture some people but it’s not so uh i’m just curious how often have you seen people come in that are maybe not quite uh clean or sober yet that have found freedom to get clean or sober through y12sr how have you seen that benefit them yeah i’ve seen it a lot a lot yep um very often you know and and the answer is it depends my teacher says that’s the answer to everything right so if someone is still uh if they come into the space and you know they’re they’re high or use it or something like that we might ask them not to do the yoga practice if they’re physically impaired right right but but you know they want to stay and listen to the message of recovery as long as it’s not distracting for the rest of folks and for the many in the room they’re more than welcome to stay and listen to you know the message of recovery and things like that i have seen this happen quite a bit right i it’s so funny because i recently got an email from someone who was kind of um what i was describing a little bit earlier he’d been doing yoga for a long time and um have having problems letting go of this dysfunctional behavior and things like that um asking about coming to the training that we do around this and i have seen many people um get a whole new perspective uh a broader perspective from just being in in that training and that connection and with with that stuff i’ve seen that many times that’s so incredible can you walk us through what it would be like for us to walk into a y12 sr meeting how that maybe looks in ways that are familiar and comfortable to a 12-step meeting and maybe in ways that it’s completely different um it’s probably going to feel really familiar and comfortable to those who are in the 12-step in a 12-step process a program it looks like a 12-step meeting we sit in a circle right somebody reads a format right it’s a little different than the format in a um a 12-step meeting but we read the steps right we read the steps in a certain way we um describe the as humans we’re a vessel this is a i’m a vessel for spirit and addiction turned my vessel upside down right steps one through three are the steps that support turning that vessel back right side up right and so we read steps one through three in a group then we read steps four through nine in a group and the the metaphor there with the vessel is that even though my vessel was now back right side up it was still full of [ __ ] because it had been upside down for 30 years right right so that’s the work we do to sweep the vessel out and prepare it for sale right and then the last three steps that’s four through nine and then ten through twelve are the steps that give us the the twelve steps talk about these is the maintenance steps we talk about them as the sustainability steps the sustainability steps and then so we read the steps right we go through all that we read our community agreements there are the ground rules to help us stay safe right within this context that we’re creating and then so and then there’s we usually open for topic right in the what’s over star meaning that i host now it’s online on monday nights we’re doing this series called practicing the principles right and so the topic is a spiritual principle we introduce in that it’s yogic counterpart and it’s meaning from a yogurt perspective as well we open it up for all the sharing everyone there shares we do that at the end of the hour we close the shearing and we get ready for our yoga practice right and that’s that’s exactly how it works and the way that we work with the body is the same way we work with that metaphor the vessel and the steps steps one through three are foundations so we work with foundation in the body right whatever touches the earth is our base or foundation so we want to have in whatever posture we’re in on the mat or off the man in our life right we want to have a sense of foundation in our being right connecting them with mother earth beneath us all of that kind of stuff and then we work core right core is like the basic part of the steps they’re often called the action steps right the action steps in our body that work is core right and so we do a lot of work with court and really core from a yogic perspective lives all over our body right it’s the part that we begin to reclaim ourselves right because you know i part of my reason for using in the first place i wanted to be as far away from this body as i could possibly be i wanted to get away right so we use this in this part to reclaim right our being reclaim ourselves i left parts of myself out everywhere fragmented out everywhere right so it’s reclaiming all the parts of myself you know that’s why i can say i’m an addict i’m an alcoholic like codependent and right all the rest all of those right all of those belong here and then the last three steps are called the sustainability the expression steps and you know and so that whole idea is matching the way we work on the mat with those base the basic way that the steps are set up right and those basic way that the steps are set up comes right out of um um you know uh from

joe and charlie remember you’re you’re over here joe and charlie right that’s from the aaa program right and they they talk about um there’s a book that outlines the steps is often used called the steps we took and in that that’s the way joe mcquinny describes the 12 steps he breaks them up in those first three four through 9 10 through 12 and we work with the body the exact same way that so you’re saying your meetings more than an hour yes i i don’t know why i’m always so resistant to that idea even though i think it’s needed but it’s not just talking right

i was wondering how you got half hour of talking a half hour yoga that was going to be enough i knew there was a catch no that’s that’s awesome they’re usually most of them are an hour and a half mine because i’m mouthy as you can probably tell are two hours but right most of them are usually an hour and a half and it’s half practice half meeting right whatever it is so do they have the cigarette break in the middle like they have in the

not exactly

that’s an interesting question though because i’m a i i find myself to be an outlier i mean i gave up smoking but then i went back to vaping and whatever but i would be a guy who would come to a y12 sr meeting and then walk out and smoke and come back in and do yoga i i bet you don’t find many people smoking in the yoga practice huh you really don’t know that’s choice so you know we do what we do until we recognize it doesn’t serve us anymore right right no it’s it’s so hard to be in tune and see the effects of something and still continue it it really is i i mean i’m running and i can feel the lung effect of vaping like i already quit the cigars because i could tell that and it’s just like every time i run i’m like damn it i could not have this i could not deal with this but i keep doing it um that’s what we were talking about right you got one intention but this other thing is stronger than the intention right right and that that’s what we’re speaking to that’s the question we all how can my intention becomes stronger than my dysfunctional patterns right and and this is the work you know that’s the work you’ve actually made me super curious and i i don’t know how i didn’t look it up before we started but i want to read the 12 steps according to y12sr because they sound like they’re worded interestingly well they they look pretty much the same one of the things and you know there’s a ton now of folks that are doing why poker star what we do is train others to go out and do this right and so there’s plenty of choice there’s no dogma or or any of that um but for example some of the things in that we found in the 12 steps that have been um off-putting for for people um number one is god right so some people have a real problem with that so we’ve given people the choice if you know that relates go for it right but if for example at the 12th century that i hold space for we substitute the word love for god right you know every place in the 12 sets where it says god we say love you know how can you argue with that even biblically it says god is love so i buy it yeah i mean

right and then the other place that um and that takes care of it because the steps were so gender specific every you know it was he you know god as we understood him and and you know we just saw how much that that really was a barrier for folks to really get at the depth of the steps it was you know there was this obstacle you had to get over in order to do that but otherwise the steps are the same you know you say that and i went to a fellowship at one point where they their wording was uh god as we understood god to remove the gendering and yet it sounded so terrible god as we understand god doesn’t make much sense yeah so uh and i didn’t see anything on your website of this there’s no like promises that your your program offers there’s no disease concept or definition of addiction it’s really less focused about the whys and hows and where’s and more about like hey let’s be here in this place of moving forward now this is a tool right it’s a tool for sustainable recovery right right it’s it really really is the tool and i love to speak of it from that perspective and and particularly the idea back to that idea of broadening the definition of addiction right that this could be hopefully a tool we can even use to to start to work with systemic addictions right racism is an addiction sexism is an addiction all about so we love to use these across this broad spectrum of possibilities for addiction right i i think that’s great we’re i know one of the things that we’ve gotten most out of you know opening our minds and doing this podcast and everything is just understanding that it’s not there’s just no one way to do things right we need to include everybody and make ways that work for everybody that’s right uh so you described something which i found kind of interesting when i mentioned the smokers and the smokers not being so heavy into the yoga is there a type of person or or something about a quality of a type of person that you find that why 12 sr works well for and maybe a kind that it doesn’t i mean obviously i think you think that smokers wouldn’t come so much um it’s not that i don’t think that smokers wouldn’t come so much i would love you know as many smokers as the you know wanted to come to absolutely come um it it’s gonna take a level of pursuit for specifically as you work with body right what what i have found is that if if i just continue to put things that are supportive and healthy in and build that sooner or later the rest of drops away right right right i would just do everything that i could to to support smoker or whoever it is to keep coming back it’s that whole thing you keep coming back you keep coming back if you keep coming back hopefully sooner or later the rest of the stuff all that stuff will drop away so it’s not so much about um having anything relative to what you’re putting uh what you’re bringing in is what we’re putting in on top of it right so the rest of the nonsense drops away right the things that don’t serve us right is that split making the decision does this serve what i say is most important to me or does it not serve what i say is most important to me and probably the most important thing that juan 12 does is creates the space to so that i can cognitively make a choice right i can choose this neural pathway toward what serves what’s most important to me versus going down that other neural pathway that i always went down before right and it creates enough space with the tools that now i can make a choice instead of being off to the races right so yeah and i think we talked about something like that last week or something i mean what you said was the we have the space to make the difference and you know there’s enough tools in place but also i think we were talking about nutrition at the time and just the idea that if you put you know five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables in your life per day there’s just not enough room for all that other stuff you’re talking about right we don’t have room to eat tasty cakes once we’re full on fruits and vegetables we don’t have room to smoke once we’re full on being busy with all these meditation yoga right we’re putting all these practices in there’s no space for the [ __ ] like you say there you go i love it i love it and i’m gonna fill that space with something i might as well try to make it healthy things because if not i consistently make bad choices and i’m used to those not turning out well right right

so i think we’ve covered the basics i think people out there definitely will have an understanding of what to expect if they wanted to attend this program and check it out what’s the website where they can find out where the meetings are and everything and more about it it is y12sr.com and right and there’s a tab there for meetings most of the meetings now although you know now things are beginning to loosen up but they’ve been online right so there are ton of online meetings and actually that’s been a great way it’s not my preference you know i miss being with folks of course yeah you know and all of that and i can’t wait to get back to it but i have to say this has been a gateway into some things that i didn’t expect doing this stuff online i mean sometimes we have folks from all other countries on our meetings and and things like that so it’s just been a way to really um connect with some others in in a way that i didn’t expect or didn’t imagine relative to this so there’s been some good things about it even when things begin to open back up i’m pretty sure we’re gonna still continue to offer the online pieces it’s a good way um for someone who really wants to you know explore and see what why toy story is to go to one of the online meetings right i host one every monday night every monday evening at six o’clock and so if you go online you’ll see all the listings and you’ll see that one there so nice and i know we’re lucky we have actually two meetings i think within a 20 to 30 minute drive from we’re in a small county in maryland and they’re at least if it survived through the pandemic stuff there was one happening in a town here in northeast maryland uh a lady started a y12 sr and then in newark delaware there’s a y12 sr meeting so yeah there are two meetings in our local area

oh good i love that yeah and i agree with you i think the online version makes it highly accessible for people who want to check it out or or you know we talk about like that single parent early in recovery who doesn’t have the ability to do anything with their kid well you can do this from home that’s right nikki respectful of your time i know you have to go and you have more of these meetings to do but thank you so much for coming on yes thank you my pleasure you’re welcome enjoy the rest of your day okay thank you bye

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