One out of eight Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Of those with a substance abuse problem, at least 40 percent have a contemporaneous mental disorder of some type. While the root of addictive behavior varies from person to person, studies show correlations between an inability to process emotions and cope with stress in a healthy manner, and subsequent misuse of alcohol and drugs.
The estimated cost to our country in direct relation to alcoholics and drug addicts is over 250 billion dollars annually. With 70 percent of illegal drug users that are employed, the expense of substance abuse caused accidents, absenteeism and decreased productivity is on the rise. Health care costs are 300 percent higher for untreated alcoholics versus non-alcoholics.
Addiction treatment centers and agendas such as Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Step Program aim to minimize a person’s drive to drink alcohol or use drugs by addressing psychological and mental health issues. Using therapy techniques to calm, soothe and diminish anxiety, these programs are deemed helpful for those needing assistance.
As yoga rises in popularity, the benefits of a regular practice continue to be researched. Along with enhancing physical health, the immediate and long-term effects of yoga have proven to be a strong proponent in fostering mental health. Similar to an addiction recovery program, a consistent yoga practice helps people develop respect for their body, learn healthy ways to cope with stress and instill a sense of hope and faith.
Several people have turned to yoga for drug and alcohol addiction therapy. For some, their success in staying sober has shepherded them into becoming teachers and create their own yoga for recovery strategies to share with others.
Of the notable yoga for addiction recovery teachers, Nikki Myers from Indianapolis, Indiana developed Yoga of 12-Step Recovery, a program that parallels and complements Alcoholic’s Anonymous’ 12 Steps. Her program includes meetings, intensive workshops and leadership training courses, available all over the United States.
Tommy Rosen, a Los Angeles based Kundalini and Hatha yoga teacher, founded Recovery 2.0 to provide addicts the yoga inspired tools that have helped him recover from his own addictions. Believing that “to live happy, joyous and free is a birthright,” Rosen joyously shares 20 years of recovery experience and extensive yoga background in classes, retreats and workshops with people all over the world.
In support of yoga for recovery programs, a study conducted by Harvard Medical School suggests yoga is equally as beneficial as group therapy meetings, when combined with traditional substance abuse treatment programs.