Letter from Publisher, June 2015
I grew up seeing two men in my family struggle with substance addiction. One found his salvation through Alcoholics Anonymous. But the other didn’t resonate with it and suffered the demands and effects of addiction throughout his life; his continued pain profoundly reverberated in his spirit and that of those that cared about him. The experience opened my heart with compassion for anyone dealing with this complex issue.
Thankfully, additional help is now available. Lisa Marshall explores proven alternatives in our feature article, “Rethinking Recovery: Holistic Approaches to Healing Addictions,” where experts share how breakthroughs are making long-term recovery possible for more people. Effective complementary modalities include yoga, acupuncture, cognitive mindfulness practices and hypnotherapy. The goal is for everyone to be able to live a happy, healthy, addiction-free life.
Locally, we hear from Mike Huggins, founder of the Transformation Yoga Project (TYP), who began teaching yoga in prison during his own incarceration and went on to create a team of teachers offering yoga classes across the Delaware Valley to support recovery from addiction and trauma. Beyond asanas (yoga positions), participants are encouraged to look inward to find peace and equanimity, and to develop spiritual aspects of gratitude, redemption and salvation.
I first met Mike in 2010 at Street Yoga, a pioneering program that originated in Seattle to serve at-risk communities through yoga and meditation practices. It was during that weekend training, Mike recently told me, that he and his friend Colleen Devirgiliis were inspired to start TYP.
Our expanded slate of local wellness professionals underscore the fact that addiction isn’t limited to drugs and alcohol, but manifests in different ways for each of us. I gulped when my acupuncturist suggested that I cut out white starches and sugar from my diet to help reverse skin and digestion issues I was struggling with. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized it was a problem for me.
I’ve made progress—replacing sugar cubes with Stevia and white rice with quinoa. But I’m far from having it beat; when I’m stressed or overscheduled, my car cup holders are quick to fill up with empty soda cans and candy wrappers.
If we’re anything alike, there’s probably at least one thing in your life—maybe it’s your cell phone or your daily mocha latte that shouts, “You can’t do without me!” It feels like just acknowledging what those cravings are for ourselves is a step in the right direction.
Wherever you are on your journey, know that we are together on the path to discovering our healthiest, wholest selves.
Yours in authentic community, Karen