An Old Friend

It has been awhile since a certain old friend of mine made a strong appearance in my life. Honestly, I can say that I have felt her presence for months. A decade ago she had stuck around for many years and then disappeared. Or maybe she just stepped into the shadows for a while. I always knew though that in a moment of vulnerability she could easily step back into my life.

This friend of mine is smart, as well as sneaky, in how she can slip into my life and easily take over. Her presence is big even though she has a tendency to come incognito and honestly, I didn’t really recognize her this time until the middle of the night whispers invited me to take off the blinders and see the truth.

My old friend has name and it is control with a middle name of addiction.

Last fall as I was starting to experience more physical pain than I liked. I also started walking far more than I normally do. My old friend convinced me that this was to manage pain. She told me that the more I walked the better I would feel. She was right. For months and months I walked further and further each day. Indeed the pain felt less. My mind felt clearer and I was more content. Being outside for a couple hours a day walking was balm to my pain.

At first my old friend cheered me on and celebrated with me the miles and miles I would walk. She was step by step with me and the conversations we had were about overcoming the physical pain and building confidence in my body while not letting the pain be the focus.

She told me instead to see and celebrate what my body could do.

In her incredibly manipulative way, soon the walks weren’t enough. She convinced me that I had to have more. My friend persuaded me to attach an outcome to a number of steps and if I wasn’t there, then I was shamed and begrudged for letting pain win. Years ago she had convinced me that if I could just walk a certain amount of steps a day I would be amazing and that anything less than that number was weakness. It took a real friend at a beautiful restaurant in Sedona to shed light on the fact that a silly number was stealing joy from my life. That day, I let my friend control go and she stayed away until last fall.

I have been teaching the yoga principles called yamas and niyamas this month. I realized in the quiet moments of the night that I was allowing this so called friend to blind me from ahimsa (non-harming) and asteya (non-stealing). In demanding my body to perform at a certain level each and every day, I was stealing joy from myself. My walks have become no longer about nature, quiet meditation, health or connection. Instead they became about speed, distance and numbers.

Control + Addiction = Stealing joy.

In doing this for months, I have also turned an eye to non-harming. Yes, walking is the best thing I can do for myself. It DOES reduce my pain greatly. It does clear my head and help my mood. But many of my recent walking has also become a space for shame, anxiety and unworthiness. The addiction to performance and outcomes has begun to overshadow the benefits. The panic that takes over when I am not close to the target increases my agitation and negative thoughts.

One the best feelings in the world is my ability to trust in my inner wisdom to acknowledge it, listen to it, share it and own it. This awareness is the antidote to control and addiction. It also helps to have the real and honest friends who rather than join the negativity and shame, just listen and give advice that is from the heart and from that space of truly seeing me.

This morning as I walked that old friend called control and addiction was thanked because I know that she shows up every once in a while to reel me back into living the authentic life I want to live.

She comes around occasionally to help me peel away another layer of self-worth and doubt to reveal an even clearer and brighter version of myself.

I will keep walking everyday to manage my pain and to bring me joy. I will no longer allow the numbers to steal my joy and harm my heart. Instead I will notice the birds, the changes of the season, the aliveness that is in and around me.

I told control and addiction thanks for the insights and until next time…

Natural Ways to Manage Addiction

It may be that I am leaning towards the age of 50 and the things that used to matter so much to me now have much less weight in my day-to-day.  For example, I am finding that I am far more confident than I was even just 5 years ago.  One example of this lack of confidence showed up in my insecurities about my ability to effectively share yoga, when in truth I am a fine teacher.  It showed up during the times when I worried way too much about my appearance, or my speed running up a mountain or the amount of work I could pile onto my plate.  This all seems to be fading with every passing year.  I was driving home today thinking that I really don’t feed an internal need to be “liked” anymore, and with that falling away a sense of authenticity has begun to emerge the last few years.  My voice has gotten stronger and my attitude about life has gotten much richer.

And then life showed up in a real big way.

Three years ago this month, I severely tore tissue in my hip called the labrum. It is likely that it was already slightly torn, but during a snow storm while shoveling my driveway, I tore it to then point of needing to go to the emergency room.  I was prescribed pain medications, although since I had just had foot reconstruction a couple prior, I had some leftover and opted to not get the prescription filled. When the surgery to repair my hip came in April, I had been taking pain meds off and on since the January snow storm.  The surgery had a rough 4-6 week recovery time and the pain control was tough.  By the time August came, I knew that my hip was still not quite right despite my greatest efforts to heal.  Another MRI and unfortunately another tear.  A bigger tear.  Another round of pain meds while we waited for surgery.  Surgery was the end of December and that meant another 4-6 weeks on crutches and another round of pain meds.  When March came, I again knew that my hip did not do well with the 2nd surgery. The month of May brought a consult with a specialized surgeon in Denver who does nothing but reconstruction on tissue of the hip.  Surgery was scheduled, but not until the month of September, which meant 4 months of pain meds.  The surgery in September was a HUGE and long surgery that encompassed two very detailed procedures.  I had a couple of nights in the hospital and an even longer recovery than the first two ahead of me.  And more meds. My body had taken a toll.

It has now been 4 months and my hip is finally starting to stop hurting every minute.  Sure, some days are hard and when I do teach a lot, I feel hip pain, but it is tolerable. What is not tolerable is the effects of long term—low dose—narcotics.

When we hear on the evening news the term “opioid crisis” some of us may see in our minds a picture of the strung out druggie doing anything they can to get high.  We might even see someone in chronic pain who has given up and chooses to self medicate with more than the needed amount of pain meds. Who you might think of last, is a person like me.  A healthy, vibrant, positive and upbeat Yoga teacher.  Someone who has been prescribed rounds and rounds of narcotics because life has handed her some hard physical challenges in the last 4 years.  I have never taken more than I was prescribed, in fact I take half of what they tell me to.  Why?  Because I know the power that they have.

So in my authentic truth, I am dependent on opioids and I am fighting with all I have to get off them.  I am working with doctors and I have a strong plan of tapering them out of my system.  Even going slow, and barely taking any, the effects of withdrawal are living HELL—runny nose, shaking, lack of breath, stomach issues, racing thoughts, adrenalin, anxiety and panic, and PAIN.  Pain that makes my hip pain a walk in the park.  You see, our brains have the capacity to change—both positively and negatively—its called neuroplasticity.  My brain and its chemical structure has become dependent on the external chemical and without it, my brain sends different pain signals to other areas of the body, until I take the drug.  Once I take it, my symptoms go away….temporarily until the brain wants it again. And again.

Besides lowering my dose, I have some strategies in the uncomfortable moments of withdrawals.  I take epsom salt baths, I walk, I meditate, I cry and I use essential oils.  I have come up with an amazing blend that helps reduce the symptoms of withdrawals.  I apply the blend to my spine, the base of my skull, my wrists and under my nose.  Within minutes, the symptoms are tolerable. Sometimes I have to apply every twenty minutes, and sometimes the effects last longer.

This is not a post about essential oils.  It is about reality.  It is about authenticity and being real.  It is MY face of the opioid crisis. It is about my truth. It is about being confident enough in myself to be transparent.


In a 10ml roller combine the picture of oils, 8 drops each (yes it is a TON of EO), top with FCO. It may be trial and error like it was for me.  I researched and looked in my resources to find what is best for me.  I also take zendocrine detox daily and put lemon in my water.  If you want more info, or you are also struggling, I would love to connect—doing this alone should never be an option.