Yoga is a rich and powerful path that helps us create a path through life’s thickets. I swear by it.
Still, as I’ve said in other Yoga with Eve Grzybowski posts, it’s not the end-all and be-all. I was reminded yesterday, while listening to a friend, of my own short and helpful period of contact with the meetings of “Adult Children of Alcoholics”, a spin-off from other Twelve Step Tradition groups.
My friend was talking about how she was encouraged through attending the ACoA meetings to find there are people out there who have had similar childhood experiences to hers. She discovered, as I did, that there’s comfort in discovering that you’re not the only one to have had to survive traumatic childhoods and/or adolescences.
We’re not talking misery-loves-company gatherings here. Hearing others speak about their challenges in growing up in an alcoholic family normalises the experience and opens one up to tremendous compassion. Having the opportunity to talk of these things in a safe, supportive, lets a person acknowledge himself for qualities of courage and tenacity.
In a way, all the Twelve Step programs give people an opportunity to see that they need not be alone, that it is possible to heal from shame, and it’s possible to be vulnerable – to let go and let God.
The mission statement below sounds to me like the yogic notion of self-study (svadhayaya) that can help one evolve into the best version of oneself – an understanding, undefended and free human being.
We meet with each other in a mutually respectful, safe environment and acknowledge our common experiences. We discover how childhood affected us in the past and influences us in the present. We take positive action. By practicing theTwelve Steps, and accepting a loving Higher Power of our understanding, we find freedom from the past and a way to improve our lives today.
Hadn’t thought of 12 Step groups in terms of svadhyaya, but it certainly fits.
I’m a grateful member of CoDA (Codependents Anonymous), and have also found fellowship and growth through ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse).