One day I granted myself the gift of freedom and stopped drinking alcohol. That was a Friday. Which made Day 1 a Saturday.
So, what do you do when you are newly sober of a Saturday?
Having learned from steering through previous personal challenges, I knew one thing I needed was support, so I joined Recovery 2.0. This online group promotes a holistic approach to "recovery and discovery" and every Tuesday, there would be a live speaker on a specific topic, and we had the opportunity to ask questions about nutrition, withdrawal, meditation, yoga, twelve steps, trauma, healing, etc.
I also started to do Kundalini yoga, as well as meditation and I adopted a morning routine called Sadhana, which felt very comfortable to me. I had met Tommy Rosen, the founder of Recovery 2.0 at the Ashram in the Bahamas (I had happened to book my stay at the same time as they were holding their week on addictions! Talk about synchronicity.)
Joining this group is what inspired me to put together my own Home-Based Therapy center.
Addiction takes all your resources, it damages your health, your emotional being, your relationships, your finances, your spiritual life and your intellectual capacities. You won’t recover all of this all by yourself in one day.
I knew enough about recovery not to be naïve so I knew instinctively that this would require love, support, focus, courage to heal mind, body, soul, etc. I also knew I should run toward freedom and happiness instead of running away from addiction and pain.
I am being cautious in sharing my recipe because although it worked for me, applying it as-is would not mean it would work with everyone. It's also a question of the combination of all the ingredients that made it successful. No one approach or therapist is the panacea to all of our needs.
This, however, is what worked: I managed my recovery like a project, with a chart, resources and a timeline.
I have a blackboard in my kitchen where I made 3 columns:
1- what I needed
2- who would provide it
3- how much it was costing me.
The first 2 needs were Security and Love, which were all provided by me, for free. So this was a very good way to start my project!
Another thing I tried were online AA meetings and then a few Bhuddist meditation twelve-step meetings. For some reason these did not really stick with me, but, for a couple of months, I felt I had a safe place to talk and felt true support. There were many professional women my age who had also encountered the Red friend in a bottle (see blog post - How I became sober) and our stories were similar. I was not alone, I was still numb, not yet totally conscious of the changes that were already taking place every day. (This, by the way, is an excellent example of gradual change, where each day something is moving forward slightly, but so subtly that you can’t really tell.)
After a while, I took on a personal trainer (Melissa Donfrancesco, DNA Fitness) and a massage therapist Priya (Priya Kamala Giri). All this wine had had me put on a good 30 extra pounds and I was literally out of energy. The main impact of the withdrawal was weariness. To date, I can’t describe it exactly - it's a fatigue of the soul, of the cells, of the DNA, of the whole system. Melissa and Priya were been so instrumental in getting all this out of my body! Which harkens back to what Nikki Myers, founder of Yoga for 12-Step Recovery, says: "The issues live in the tissues"!
There were mornings where Melissa and I would simply walk around the canal. I was tired and I just needed to talk, and she listened. She was genuinely invested in my well-being and I felt I mattered as a human being and I felt safe. By the end of my training with her, I got into shape like I never had before. One by one, the pounds left my body and one by one my muscles started to show. It took me a whole year but I slowly gained more energy, and I really credit her with helping me rewire my brain to believe that I can be in shape, that I can adore training, that I have muscular capacities. Whereas before, my beliefs had been "I hate training, I suck in a gym, I have no balance, I look ridiculous in a gym, I am out of place".
Priya is a very unique massage therapist. The first time I saw her for a 2-hour session it felt like I had visited a sacred space, as if I had explored a part of me I hadn't known existed. In healing me, she used a technique that really got the toxins out of my body and got me to connect back with my inner voice. She made me realize that my brain/spirit sailed very fast into recovery but that my body was lagging behind and taking its time, thus I felt really de-synchronised and held back. Apparently, I had to have faith that this was the right healing path for me. This was news to me, that my body had been really damaged.
There were many more contributors to my recovery and I will talk about them and their skills in Part 2 of this Home-Based Therapy blog series. For now, I need to say that I found enough self-love to gather a team, but then, I had to let go and trust they would help me to the best of their abilities. I made it clear to all of them from the beginning that I was in recovery, that I had stopped drinking and that I was changing my life. I had to trust my intuition and instincts and certainly not expect to be "all fixed up" after a few training sessions, a few massages, and a conference or a meeting or two. I even momentarily shut down all my social activities and cut ties with friends and family because I did not want to be disturbed. I wanted to do things my way and I had confidence I would succeed with help and new beliefs.
Each of these elements entered the mix in a very non-scientific dosage, helped me get through my first year sober and it was all that mattered at first.
...Parts 2 and 3 to Home-Based Therapy to follow!
Janylène Turcotte, hypnothérapeute certifiée
CRHA, ACC, C. Hyp, RTT
I am naming professionals in this article because of their contributions to my recovery. They have not asked me for this, nor I have received compensation in exchange for talking about them - they just deserve it. They are good at what they do and they make a difference in people’s lives.