As a credentialed yoga therapist (C-IAYT) and certified substance abuse counselor (CSAC), I’ve had extensive training in Ethics and I take it seriously. One of the first things I tell people is, “I am not a therapist.” Meaning, that if I believe one of my clients is in need of western medical or professional mental health counselor, I will refer to someone I trust in my professional network. I can provide therapeutic yoga education which may alleviate much of the discomfort associated with early recovery and aid in sustained self-care, but I do not counsel on medications or provide psychotherapy.
Most of the work I do regarding addiction seems to break down into two areas:
Support and Guidance
I offer direct support and guidance for individuals and/or family members who have a problem or think they have a problem as a result of substance use or process addictions (gambling, disordered eating, boundary issues). This support can occur in person or via phone and may consist of one session or multiple sessions.
I can answer questions about how to find appropriate treatment, give you a better understanding of the differences among forms of treatment, i.e., inpatient, detox, residential, partial hospitalization, outpatient, etc. I can explain the process of finding medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, how that works and where to find reputable resources.
I recognize that not everyone is interested in a 12-step recovery program and am familiar with other mutual support groups that can provide a much needed connection with others who are going through the process of early recovery. Personally, I found 12-step groups helpful in my own early recovery. However, I combined them with group therapy, then individual therapy, and also began a regular yoga practice at that time. Early on, it was a great benefit to me and I also realized it was not the only thing responsible for my continued recovery.
During my work in residential treatment, I wore several hats. I was the yoga therapist (working individually with people in treatment), I was the personal trainer for a while, I provided peer support, and also offered aftercare follow-up and support.
I still hear from people, often years after their initial treatment episode. Some have relapsed, some have had a short lapse, some are enjoying long-term recovery. Those who seem to have the best success are people who have developed a good support network, have identified activities that support a lifestyle of recovery, have identified areas where they need work, and actively participate in making lifestyle changes. Discontinuing damaging behaviors is a great start, and it is almost always necessary to make changes in your daily life in order to feel comfortable without your addictive behavior.
Once you set foot on the path of your recovery, there will be obstacles to navigate. Learning the best ways for yourself to do this is important. You might be dealing with PAWS (post acute with syndrome) or protracted withdrawal as it is called by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.