As we turn the page on Prana Recovery Centers first calendar year, I cannot help but reflect on so many high points and learning curves. Our efforts have been intense, including long hours of emotionally and spiritually hard work, and the intense motivation it takes to fortify the heart in order to stand in the trenches with the ravages of addiction. We walk side-by-side with the people behind the wreckage of a disease that is still culturally unacceptable.
So how does one journey from addiction to happily living clean & sober? This work involves connecting the mind and body, practicing living a life based on spiritual truths, and prioritizing positive social connection and service to others.
One of the goals of our Relapse Prevention Program is for each participant to find his or her own authentic path to recovery. Options are based in our six pillars of wellness, then guide people to practice living their choices. And it is a practice.
Connecting Mind & Body
At Prana Recovery Centers each participant begins with the long, slow process of connecting the mind and body. This is not a quick fix and requires skillfulness in managing the newly surfaced emotions (and sometimes trauma) that the body holds. We employ mindfulness meditation and yoga (asana) as the foundation for this deep inner work.
Addicts and alcoholics have disconnected the mind and heart on purpose. There is too much turmoil in the inner environment to expose everything all at once. This is like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. Unraveling the physical, emotional, and spiritual knots requires support, courage, skillfulness, and patience.
The Prana curriculum includes multiple approaches to help someone become aware of the habits of mind that exist and then slowing dismantling the thinking that keeps addicts and alcoholics stuck in addiction.
Participants know from the very session that their task is to find and select their path to recovery. Not the path they think they are supposed to be on, not the path someone else thinks they should be on, and certainly selecting no path and living on auto- pilot. For example, our Relapse Prevention Program participants have been taking a deep dive into the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances) of the eightfold path of yoga. The yamas and niyamas are like a road map for learning to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
One of the yamas is Ahimsa which means non-harming. It is a simple concept – do no harm – that is incredibly challenging to put into practical application in day-to day life. There are no hard set of rules and each individual has to define what non-harming means to him or her. We all agree that picking up a drink or a drug is doing harm. Practicing Ahimsa requires courage to excavate our fears, finding space in our lives for stillness, and truly living compassionately toward oneself and others.
Our participants move from Ahimsa into one of the tenets of the Science of Happiness (and it is a science) – kindness. Kindness is a major support to Non-Harming (Ahimsa). From kindness, we branch into gratitude, empathy, and loving-kindness. These practices are developed through readings, discussions, multimedia approaches, talking with others, and then actually experiencing (living) it.
We also use the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve steps to develop spiritual principles by which to live. The Big book contains the instructions for the steps in the first 103 pages. The steps are based on a practical application of how to live life happily, with meaning and purpose, and free from drugs and alcohol.
Social Connection & Service To Others
Social connection and service to others is a theme throughout our Relapse Prevention Program. Addiction breeds isolation. We create meaningful connections with one another. Developing a positive safety net of support takes time, the willingness to be vulnerable, and commitment.
Service to others is a cornerstone of all the work we do at Prana. Being of service to others takes the focus of ourselves, helps us to find meaning in life, and brings a wealth of positive emotions.
Prana Recovery Centers has experienced a humble beginning in 2016. We have focussed on fine-tuning our curriculum rather than marketing. Our priorities have been individualized attention and support, creating the groundwork and solid foundation for an approach that is a bit before its time. We have also focussed on accepting people regardless of their ability to pay. Work with family members of the addict and the alcoholic has begun through our Family Matters Program.
We have learned a lot, made mistakes, created community, and been of service. And we have begun to define future goals that will provide meaningful services to addicts and alcoholics. We do not approach the enormous problem of addiction in a traditional manner. In fact, we are quite proud of that fact. We realize that insurance companies and some in the established rehabilitation sector may not quite fully grasp what we are all about. At the close of our first calendar year we are more convinced then ever that our approach is solid, wholehearted, effective, and messy.
It is with tremendous gratitude and enthusiasm that we recognize those generous souls who have graciously supported our learning year. The Relapse Prevention participants have shown courage, commitment, and tenacity. We bow to you with deep gratitude for putting your trust in Prana Recovery Centers and we recognize your tremendous efforts to beat a disease that few understand.