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Week after Week You Can Find Them IN THE ROOMS

For the past year, every Tuesday night at 7pm Pacific, I have been hosting an internet show called The Recovery 2.0 Power Hour on an ingenious website called InTheRooms.com. The site, which has nearly 300,000 members provides a virtual forum for people in recovery from addictions of all kinds to connect with each other every day. The show I’m hosting is one part 12-Step Meeting, one part Q&A and one-part interview where I often bring in guests such as Dr. Gabor Maté, Nikki Myers, Guruprem Khalsa, Beverly Berg, Chris Grosso and many others. The technology allows for live video sharing and it is just mind-blowing to connect with people from all over the world through this medium. We usually have 150-200 people each week from places such as Guam, Israel, The UK, Germany, South America, Canada and all over the United States. When I was in India recently, I had someone cover the show for me. Yet, I was still able to sign on, request to share and say “hi” to everyone. I have become friends with many of these people whose stories have moved me deeply and whose commitment to the show up has moved me as well. These folks keep showing up week after week. Some have shared with me that our meeting is a highpoint for them in their week or that they consider the Recovery 2.0 Power Hour to be their “home group,” which is a huge compliment.

There are people who come to meetings at InTheRooms.com who are dealing with physical or medical challenges. They literally cannot get out to a meeting and so they have this option. They never miss our show and it absolutely cracks my heart open to see their thumbnail appear in the “request to share” window. They light up my week in a way that is hard to explain. Other people might have colds or flus or be dealing with something that keeps them at home temporarily. Then you have the folks who are tired and cozy at home who want to touch that great energy that can happen at a meeting, but are not going to go out that night to get it. And of course, there are people who have fear of connecting face to face with others. They know they need a meeting and a solution to their addictions, but they are not yet in a place emotionally where they can meet others in person. Whoever the people are that come to our Recovery 2.0 Power Hour or any of the other 97 meetings that take place at InTheRooms.com each week, I love and appreciate them all.

My hat goes off to RT and Kenny P., the co-founders of InTheRooms.com. They have over 60 years of recovery between them and are some of the funniest, most pleasant guys you could hope to meet. There are some extraordinary stories about them both, but they told me to leave the story about RT and the goat for a later edition of this newsletter and so be it.

Please join us tonight 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern for The Recovery 2.0 Power Hour on InTheRooms.com. You will need to sign up for a free profile there and then you will find our meeting listed on the homepage of InTheRooms.

Please sign up today for the FREE and upcoming Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction Conference.

This is basically like Ted Talks for people in Recovery. Share this link with anyone you know whose life has been touched by addiction. http://recovery2point0.com

Sending Love and Gratitude to you on your Recovery Path.
Tommy Rosen

Resist the 2 Temptations…

As I prepare to release my first book, Recovery 2.0:  Overcoming Addiction and Thriving Through Yoga, Meditation and The 12-Steps (Hay House October, 2014), I have been noticing a lot of negative press of late about Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-Steps and the rehab industry in general.

Citing poor success statistics and the lack of science driving recovery programs, the conclusion in many blogs, several white papers and at least 2 books has been that our society has adopted a system of recovery that has failed us.  This is a critically important discussion.

 

I survived acute drug addiction in great part due to the process I went through at Hazelden, a prominent addiction treatment center, and also because of the continuing process of recovery I embraced through the 12-Step program and fellowship.  These were instrumental elements of my recovery, but I would be the first to agree that 12-Step recovery is not all it could be and that the rehabilitation landscape also has a lot of room for improvement.  Yet, we must adopt the willingness to see what is working and to improve upon it rather than decrying that the entire system of recovery has failed.  The 12-Steps are too effective to overlook, but not effective enough to place them beyond the possibility for improvement.  The same goes for the rehab industry though that is a whole other situation with a lot more variety in philosophical perspective than 12-Step society, which more or less subscribes to the same basic doctrine.

 

Large sections of my book discuss this in detail.  It is my hope that readers will be inspired to look deeply at what the 12-Steps have to offer, which is a set of very powerful teachings.  It is also my hope that people will look into the deep and awesome well of teachings on the path of yoga and meditation.  Without these practices in my life, my recovery would not have been as strong nor my life as sweet as it has been.  Yoga has been as important to my recovery and life as the 12-Steps have been, but I have needed BOTH to get sober and build a life of purpose and meaning.

 

Getting sober is not a purely physical phenomenon.  It requires a transformation at multiple levels of a person’s being. One must heal the physical body, the mental body, one must connect with one’s breath, one must develop a connection with one’s innate wisdom and one must also develop the capacity to experience bliss.  These different levels of a person’s being are referred to in yogic philosophy as the 5 Koshas or sheaths.  These different layers of our being all must be recognized and accessed if we are to become wholehearted.

 

Of course, there will be no way to prove any of this. These ideas are based upon the personal experience of yogis who have detected these layers of the being and those teachers such as myself who have seen how these ideas are powerful in the treatment of addiction.  It must all sound like a load of crap for someone who sees the world logically and needs the corroboration of science in order to find ‘faith’.   I urge you to remain open-minded and especially open-hearted.

 

You want to know what’s right about the 12-Steps?  Approach them with an open mind.  You want to know how to improve upon the 12-Steps, investigate it with an open mind.  If you are too extreme to consider either proposition then you are not in the Truth.  You are in a story which has an agenda and you will not be able to find the Truth until you drop the agenda and the story and re-approach with an open mind.  As we ponder the question of how to successfully treat addiction, may we find the strength to resist the 2 temptations – the first is to ascribe the status of perfection to a doctrine and the second is to throw the doctrine out because it didn’t seem to live up to our appointment of it as perfect.

 

In your pursuit of the Truth, I am sending Love and Gratitude,

 

Tommy Rosen

 

PS – Please sign up for the Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction Conference.  It is online and it is free.  There you will find 25 presentations that will open your heart, and inspire you along your unique recovery path.  We are expecting to have 50,000 people from over 100 countries join us for this event.  Please note: If you work in the field of addiction, Recovery
2.0 has 25 hours of CE Credit to offer you.

The Journey to a Thousand Days…

Habits are nothing more than a chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system.  The mind thinks a thought, which causes the endocrine system to release certain chemicals into the blood stream that employ the nervous system to cause us to react to in some way.  Habits become addictions when this process repeats itself enough times as to create what yogis refer to as a samskara or conditioning.  We become conditioned to react certain ways given certain stimuli.  This is what we would call being stuck in a rut.  For addicts, this stuckness can lead to insanity and death.

Looking at it from the perspective of the alcoholic, it might go like this.  For whatever reason be it external stimuli like seeing someone drink a glass of wine or internal stimuli like experiencing a memory of a euphoric feeling produced by drinking alcohol, an individual’s mind begins to direct its energy toward the impression.  An individual’s endocrine system is triggered by the vision or memory of the experience of alcohol and it sends chemicals into the bloodstream working with the nervous system to provoke a reaction to the stimuli, which might be to seek out a drink. This all happens in a nanosecond and takes place over and over reinforcing itself until an individual has an extremely difficult, if not impossible, time breaking this chain reaction in order to bring about a different reaction.

This is going to sound simple.  Actually it is very simple, but very difficult.  In order to break addictions, we have to build new habits.  There is no other way.  How do we do this?

From The Kundalini Yoga perspective it takes 40 days of practicing a particular set of yoga to break free from any negative habits that would get in the way of the expansion that is possible by practicing the set. It takes 90 days to establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of that set of yoga.  This will change you in a very deep way.

It is very interesting that one of the suggestions given to newcomers in 12-Step programs is to attend 90 meetings in 90 days.  Obviously, it is necessary for the newcomer to establish new patterns in their lives.  Attending 12-Step meetings for 90 days in a row is certainly one way to help with that. I love the positive reinforcement that the 12-Steps and Yoga seem to offer each other.

The idea of including 12-Step meetings in your daily sadhana (daily spiritual practice) for 90 days is a powerful one from the yogic perspective.  And there is no need to stop there.  After 1000 days of doing a practice everyday, you master the new habit of consciousness that the practice has promised. It says in Kundalini texts that after 1000 days of vigilant practice, no matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.

As with all things, we approach life one day at a time. The journey to a thousand days starts with day one. Developing a sadhana practice (daily spiritual practice) that you do everyday before you get out into the melee of life is a central component of a life well-lived. In my personal experience, sadhana

presents the possibility of choice in your day versus being at the mercy of your mind.  While everyone who struggles with addiction has to pay close attention to the way their mind can mess with them, this “thinking problem” is part of the human condition.  We all have to deal with it.   For some of you 12-Steps will figure into the equation, others will have other means, other elements that help them to transform.Whatever your situation, It is nothing short of wonderful to employ practices in your life that help you to meet yourself each day before your thoughts form a phalanx that blocks your True Self from sight.  Start (or continue) your spiritual practice today and watch how your amazing day unfolds.  If you need guidance, find a yoga or meditation teacher in your area or online and tell them you are ready to start a sadhana practice.  They will be thrilled to help you.

These are my thoughts from the foothills of the Himalayas today.  And when I get home to Los Angeles in April, these will still be my thoughts on this topic.  I really miss you all.

Yoga Meditation Recovery Retreat

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

Stockbridge, MA
May 26-30, 2014
Teaching and lecturing.

CLICK HERE for more information

Yogis, Meditators, Scientists, Oh My!

I had to include this picture of a doorway I came upon in Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga. Now THAT’s a doorway. Once you walk through it, I have a feeling there is no coming back.

I’ve been reflecting lately on the elements of successful recovery from addiction. Through the course of my own recovery, I have had to find inspiration from teachers, guides and mentors. I would not have made it without them. Now, I am so thrilled to be in a position to share some of them with you.

The presenter line-up for the upcoming Recovery 2.0 Online Conference consists of 25 extraordinary people who collectively are presenting ideas at the cutting edge of health, wellness and recovery from all addiction.

They are spiritual leaders, scientists, meditators, yoga teachers, experts in the field of recovery and addiction. Their contributions are both innovative and practical. Their message extends beyond cultural boundaries, which is why during our last Recovery 2.0 conference we had attendees from over 100 countries (truly unbelievable).

Sign up for the FREE Recovery 2.0 Online Conference.

From May 3-7 here are just some of the highlights we are honored to share with you.

Dr. Gabor Maté, is a beloved medical doctor, speaker and writer of 4 books including the best-selling, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. This fascinating presentation is about addiction beyond drugs and alcohol including addiction to media and power.

Jerry Moe, MA, is National Director of Children’s Programs at the Betty Ford Center, a part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. An Advisory Board Member of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, he is an author, lecturer, and trainer on issues for children and families hurt by addiction.

Nick Ortner, World Renowned Tapping Expert and creator of the Tapping World Summit presents an extremely practical modality to move beyond pain, addiction and other blocks in your life. Half a million people come to his summit and for good reason. Tapping, also known as The Emotional Freedom Technique, works. Nick makes the connection for us between Tapping and recovery from addiction.

Guruprem Khalsa is a master practitioner and teacher of Kundalini yoga. With his down to earth approach and great humor, he lays out the elements of grace in this interview. No matter what your background or perspective there will be something inspiring in this presentation for you.

Karen Lindsay is one of the five mothers who compiled the book, Hope Never Lost; A Collection of Five Mothers’ Journeys Thru Their Child’s Addiction. In the midst of her daughter’s addiction she decided to co-write and publish the first book written by parents, specifically for parents, who are living through a child’s addiction.

Ram Dass, one of America’s most beloved spiritual figures, has positively affected the lives of millions of people through his teachings, lectures and books over the past 40 years. He has literally been a guiding light for four generations, helping free them from their bonds as he has worked his way through his own. You will not want to miss this powerful, heartfelt presentation.

Krishna Das is the best-selling devotional chant artist of all time, with over 300,000 records sold. He also has an amazing story of recovery which winds its way from ashrams in India to music halls the world over and straight into your heart.

Mastin Kipp is the founder of the Daily Love. With a lot of heart and vulnerability Mastin expertly guides us through his struggles with food addiction. There is so much here for anyone who has ever struggled with addiction.

Nikki Myers is the founder of Yoga of 12-Step Recovery (Y12SR), an organization dedicated to bringing both of these spiritual paths together. Because of her work Nikki is one of our favorite people in the recovery field. This presentation is a spotlight on Codependency It is a powerful look at relationships and addiction. Very enlightening.

Mark your calendars. The Recovery 2.0 Online Conference will take place from May 3-7, 2014.

We look forward to ‘seeing’ you there.

With Love and Gratitude,
Tommy Rosen and The Recovery 2.0 Team

It’s Not Always Peaceful and Quiet

I’m here in India teaching alongside my wife, Kia, on her first Radiant Body Yoga Teacher Training.  Kia has been leading trainings for years, but this one is her own training pulling  together all the beloved teachings that have made a difference in her (and my) life.

We are at the Sattva Center, a Utopia in the mountains outside of Rishikesh founded by esteemed yoga teacher, Anand Mehrotra.  I can sincerely say “This is all very good.”
While I have been here, the upcoming Recovery 2.0 Conference has been announced and I hope you are all taking advantage of the FREE online conference by signing up today. The presentations are going to be incredible with Ram Dass, Krishna Das and Radhanath Swami adding their spiritual perspectives on addiction and recovery. We also have leaders in the recovery field from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation offering in-depth analysis of the 12-Steps, Sexual Health, Children and Families affected by addiction and so much more.  Nikki Myers leads us through a spotlight on Codependency reminding us all that addiction takes many forms. I am so excited to have Nick Ortner leading me personally through a tapping session and Gurucharan Khalsa, PhD, sharing a meditation we can all benefit from.We are expecting 50,000 people from around the world to be in attendance. This is going to be a very special convergence.   Please sign up for the conference and spread the word to everyone you know whose lives have been touched by addiction. There is a way through every block.  Do not be alone.  Do not despair.

On that note, there is a new book out I want to bring to your attention from Recovery 2.0 Alumni presenter, Chris Grosso, called Indie Spiritualist.  The book draws on Chris’ punk rock roots and question-everything mindset offering us a collection of stories and musings about his meandering journey of self-inquiry, recovery, and acceptance. He rejects all the hypocrisies and judgments of religion to show that spirituality is not something that only happens on meditation cushions or yoga mats, in sanghas, churches, mosques, temples, or synagogues. It’s not always peaceful and quiet. It can be as loud as a rock concert or as alternative as Chris is himself.  I know you will enjoy Chris’ book.  It opens up a lot of space for us to explore and walk our own unique destiny path.

Forward, Onward, Inward.

Hanuman Festival

Boulder, CO
June 12-15, 2014

CLICK HERE for more information

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Me

The temptation is to try to explain it in scientific terms.  We want to understand the mystery of a man’s demise, particularly a man who had achieved so much in his career and who, by the nature of his work, was known across the globe.  One thinks if this could happen to him with his successes and his fame, his family and all the blessings of his existence, then surely no one is safe.  We are sobered once again as we face the misunderstanding that one’s outer world is an indicator of happiness rather than their inner world, which is the only place where true success can be measured.  If we have been in the habit of having and doing, we look at others who seem to be doing a lot and having a lot with envy. Wow, look at them go!

Part of what hit so deeply about this loss was the emotional depth that Hoffman had plumbed to show us something about PSHourselves. He regularly visited emotional environments that few actors will ever choose to visit in their entire careers.  We, therefore, felt so much “with him” that it is almost as if we have lost a friend and a teacher.  It is mystifying and disorienting to lose a teacher to a dis-ease that people assume indicates moral weakness.  On some level, many feel that he let them down.  How could he do it?  How could someone like him fall from the place we had appointed him to?

I’ll give you one possible explanation of what happened.  Maybe, like so many, he was simply enthralled to death by the feeling produced by heroin as it seduces the human nervous system into the illusion that this is somehow better than living.  You think that’s weakness?  Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your background, you could not possibly stand toe-to-toe against this craving if it was initiated within you.  Though you may not have experienced such a craving, doesn’t make you better or stronger than another person who does.  BUT if you have experienced this craving, you know what I am talking about. It’s bigger than you. It’s like having to fight a full-grown tiger with your hands tied behind your back.

So why now? How could something like this happen after such a long period of abstinence?  I believe the answer requires a deeper understanding and respect for the addiction frequency, an energetic attunement, if you will, that holds a person captive and vulnerable to relapse unless it is dealt with on a regular basis (read: everyday).  Much the same way a diabetic needs insulin, people who have crossed the line into acute addiction seem to need a few things, even after long periods of abstinence.  The 2 main ingredients are a spiritual path and a community to support it.  This is the foundation.  Then, with the foundation in place it is an absolute requirement that one spend one’s life expanding upon that foundation.  This can be the most joyous of journeys for it is a daily pathway to your heart.  Some, like me, find it in the 12-Steps and yoga, others find it in other spiritual paths or therapeutic processes.  Addiction is a dis-ease of lack and we seem to need a spiritual experience to become whole again.  It is also a dis-ease of isolation and so, we must come into community, common-unity, to draw upon necessary resources and to avoid being pulled down into morbidity.  These are the first solutions to this problem.  Whether you have struggled with addiction or care about someone who has, please bring yourself to accept this.  In my experience, it holds as True.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman died at 46 years old.  I am 46 years old.  Previously, he was 23 years sober.  In June, barring the unseen, I will be 23 years sober.  To say that his death hit home for me would be an understatement.  Please do not let the message of his death be that the 12-Steps or other forms of recovery don’t work.  He is in a small percentage of people who stay sober that long and then relapse.  The great majority of people who make it to 5 years of recovery (85%) will not relapse (Source: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/craving/201402/how-often-do-long-term-sober-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse?utm_content=buffer95e58&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer), Somehow, he got cut off from the light.  Somehow, he drifted back into a behavior which kills people.

Strangely, I will miss Phillip. It’s strange because I never met him. I lament the loss of yet another brother to addiction.  Along with the teachings he left us in his movies, please hear his final teaching:  Stay vigilant on this path of recovery.  Work your program, whatever that means to you, to the best of your ability.  Keep your connection to each other and when you find the road to your own heart, walk it everyday.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman.

With Love and Gratitude,

Tommy Rosen

 

TAPPING into Emotional Sobriety?

tommykia2There is nothing you have to do to relax, it’s what you have to un-do that counts.  Relaxation is simply the letting go of all that is unnecessary.  We carry tension, fear, resentment and all forms of trauma in the body.  This stuck energy takes away our ability to relax and causes a kind of constipation blocking us from the energy of love.  Part of recovery from any dis-ease requires that we release the things that no longer serve us and open the channels for something new to come in.

There are several modalities of healing that help us to be free of the unnecessary.  Tapping, also known as the Emotional Freedom Technique, is one such modality.  Lately, my friend, Nick Ortner, has been spending a lot of his time teaching people let go of what no longer serves them through Tapping.  Nick’s Tapping World Summit is going on right now and I believe there is a reason that half a million people attend this life-changing online event.

 

As a person in longterm recovery with direct experience with Tapping, I want to encourage you all to check this out for yourself .  Sometimes the simplest things holds the answers to the most painful questions.  The results that Nick has witnessed in his years of teaching this simple technique are so hopeful.  People have been able to release fear, sadness and pain.  Somehow the combination of elements in Tapping are profound enough to quickly release things that have kept people stuck for years.
If Love is All you need, and I believe it is, we may have to let go of the things that have blocked us from it.  If you have felt stuck in any way, check out The Tapping Summit and may you soon find yourself deeply in Love.
I wish that for you.
Love and Gratitude,
Tommy Rosen

Sun Valley Wellness Festival

Sun Valley, ID
May 22-26, 2014

Teaching and lecturing.

CLICK HERE for more information

***Recovery 2.0 Online Conference

May 3-7, 2014

Yoga of Recovery Symposium

Bahamas
April 27-29, 2014

Teaching and lecturing.

CLICK HERE for more information

Minneapolis Yoga Conference

Minneapolis, MN
April 25-27, 2014

Teaching and lecturing.

CLICK HERE for more information

3HO Summer Solstice Gathering

Espanola, NM
June 18-26, 2014
Teaching and leading Yoga and Recovery panel.

CLICK HERE for more information

National Conference on Addiction Disorders

(NCAD) St. Louis, MO
August 22-26, 2014

Attending.

CLICK HERE for more information

The Power of Having a Teacher or Many!

wellnessAs I reflect on my 22 years of recovery from addiction, I have to thank the countless people who have given me this life.  These are my wife, family members, friends, sponsors, therapists, yoga and meditation teachers and “strangers”.  These people have made it possible for me to grow and to learn.  Some of them I have never met.  They have spoken or written something that I heard or read and it moved me.  It never ceases to amaze me how a poet like Rumi who lived 800 years ago could write things that have penetrated all the way to my soul, which are so relevant they may as well have been written yesterday.  It is also a blessing for us all that some of today’s teachers who are still alive are accessible.

A group of these people are going to present powerful ideas at the upcoming FREE conference called The Winter of Wellness.  Some of the people who will be presenting are: Joan Borysenko, Bernie Siegel, John & Ocean Robbins, David Wolfe, John Gray, Dawson Church.  I, too, will be presenting at this conference.  Of course, I’ll be talking about addiction and thriving in recovery.

The summit lasts for 60 days.  You can check in and out as you desire.  It is all free and there will be a lot of great information and inspiration passed along.  So, take a moment to Sign Up Today and reap the benefits of connecting with these teachers who have so much to give.

ALSO, I will be mentioning a VERY special offer regarding the recent Recovery 2.0 Conference, so tune in to my talk if you are moved to do so.

I am sending you Love and Gratitude from this sometimes difficult, yet quite often wonderful pathway through life.

A Whopping Case of Drug Addiction…

Growing up, my diet was atrocious.  It would begin each morning with toasted, buttered white bread and a tall cup of strong black tea filled with several teaspoons of white refined sugar.  I regularly consumed all the classic sugar cereals – Captain Crunch, Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles.

I loved McDonalds and consumed an unimaginable number of Chicken McNuggets. I ate hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza and was a fan of all starchy foods, french fries, pastas and breads.  I also ate as much candy, chocolate and other junk food as I could get my hands on.  I’d come home from school and down a six-pack of coca-cola and a pound bag of Doritos and then complain at dinner that I did not feel well.  There was practically no true nourishment in the foods I ate.

I had a lot of colds and flus as a kid and regular bouts with Strep Throat and Bronchitis.  I took a ton of antibiotics to combat all this sickness. I also had monumental migraine headaches.  I missed a lot of school, could not sit still or concentrate, was anxious and hyperactive.

Strangely, neither my parents nor I had made the connection between what I ate and how I was feeling and behaving. I had no idea that there was a connection between these foods and the health problems of my childhood. I had no inkling that these foods, which made my life hard as a kid, were setting me up for a whopping case of drug addiction as an adult.

When I found recovery, the obsession to use drugs and alcohol was lifted from me.  Yet, my diet still had to be cleaned up.  Over the years, friends and pioneers such as Dr. Andrew Dattila and David Wolfe would educate and inspire me.  I learned how to detoxify, nourish myself and build immunity by regarding food as medicine.

Today, I am healthy and strong with 22 years of continuous recovery.  I practice and teach yoga.  I meditate and can sit still comfortably for quite some time.  I eat very well – a ton of organic fruits and vegetables, almost no junk food, no sodas.

Unfortunately though, four decades later things have gotten much worse in the world at large.  In my day, it was refined sugar.  Now kids are being fed a more dangerous, cheaper form of sweetener called high fructose corn syrup.  Childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes have become epidemics. Here’s a disturbing fact: 50 years ago, the average American consumed about 20 lbs of sugar and corn sweetener in a year.  That number has now risen to over 130 lbs. per year.

We must make the connection between the food we eat and the way we feel.  Get this:  Our mental and physical health are adversely affected by the overconsumption of SUGAR.

Do not miss this brilliant video that my friend, Richard Haase, turned me onto today.  My hat is off to Simone Bridges and the folks at Bigger Picture Project. This video is nothing short of brilliant and right to the point.

With regards to your diet,  I am sending you my heartfelt wishes for a slightly less sweet 2014.

With Love and Gratitude,
Tommy Rosen

What is the Right Question?

There’s comes a point in recovery where you no longer wonder if you are going to be sober or not.  You know that for that one day you are going to be sober; that come what may you are aligned with your heart’s desire to feel everything – the joy as well as the pain of living as you. The first time you realize this, on that day, your principal question will shift. Where you once asked, “How will I get through this day?”, you will now ask, “How will I get through this day excellently?”  The simple act of asking a new question will change you. Personal transformation/Recovery is like this.  The longer I stay sober, the more I realize that the questions matter more than the answers.  The exercise of writing down the questions you would like to answer this year is among the most profound things you can do.  You might even choose to share some of your questions with others thereby enrolling them in your process of personal growth and achievement this year.

When it comes to Recovery 2.0, I have a lot of big questions.

What can I do to better serve the needs of people in Recovery around the world?  How can I encourage more people to work the 12 Steps, to practice yoga, meditation and thrive in their recoveries? Should I build a membership web site?  Offer Online Education Modules? Continue to offer Recovery 2.0 Conferences? What is needed?

On a more personal note, I am asking things like how can I maintain balance better than I did last year?  How can I show up better in all my relationships?  How can I deepen my mind-body practices?  How can I learn the guitar? How can I become the best tennis player I possibly can be?  How can I access states of consciousness that will help me to serve better?  Of course, in asking a question, we do not know the answer, but simply by asking it are we drawn along the path of our destiny into our next step and the next version of ourself.

May your 2014 be filled with the right questions.

The Profound Loss of Rob Hamer

Last week, my friend, Rob Hamer, died from the diseases of addiction and depression.  The specifics don’t matter.  You would only have to tell me that a person has suffered and died from addiction and I know what that means.  Addiction separates us.  It is cunning in its ability to get us alone. Addiction is not so much interested in a quick kill.  It likes to draw it out and dismantle your life first.  Then it will kill you.

Rob suffered from addiction AND depression.  This deadly combination placed him in a unique category consisting of people whose time is short on this Earth if they are unable to break out of the mind-prison they are stuck in.  Rob was very intelligent and sweet-hearted.  He was sensitive and aware.  He struggled with extremely low feelings of self-worth. He had this pattern where whenever he made a mistake, he would really come down hard on himself.   Because he felt life so acutely, he would then spiral into depression and get stuck there for long periods.

Some time ago, he had an operation on his arm and was introduced to opiates.  Giving Oxycontin to someone who struggled in the ways Rob did was a big mistake.  Opiates are pain killers.  They kill physical pain, yes, but also emotional pain.  Once Rob felt the relief that Oxycontin provided, he was a sitting duck for acute addiction.  Those doctors could never have known that they were using kerosene to try to put out a fire.  Of course, this is not Rob’s full story, but it is an important thread.  This intro to opiates was where things took a real turn for the worse for Rob.

My heart goes out to Rob’s family, his parents and siblings.  They have to face the grief of having lost a child and a brother.  They will, perhaps, have the added challenge of wondering if there was anything else that could have been done or perhaps if things could have been done differently.  They surely know firsthand the powerlessness that exists in trying to love and inspire a human being out of the darkness of addiction. They gave everything they had at their disposal, used every manner of trying to shake Rob from the grasp of the awful diseases that gripped him. They loved him in every way possible.  I beg of them to hear this: THERE IS NOTHING MORE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE. This was the way things had to unfold and we are left with the mystery of not knowing why.  We are not permitted to understand why this had to be this way.  We have to embrace the mystery, and yet be rid of the fantasy that we could have prevented this from happening.

The memories of the recent past of Rob in his addiction are difficult to release.  Yet, if all we were to remember of Rob was the way he was as a man struggling with addiction we would have a tragically incomplete picture of his character and spirit.  Remember Rob before he was taken over by addiction.  Remember his laugh, his humor, his intelligence. These are the true memories of who he was.  

Rob could not find his way through addiction in this incarnation.  It is my prayer that his spirit be liberated for having done the difficult work and for having made the tough sacrifices he had to in this life.  Wherever his soul’s journey might lead him next, may he realize his connection to all things and be free from all suffering.  As for Rob’s family, I can only offer these words as a condolence for what has transpired.  Please know in your hearts that everything is okay.  Even with all you are facing there is hope and peace and love and a meaning to it even if it eludes us temporarily.  We are tied into a common tapestry together.  I can’t explain how it works.  I just know we will see each other again in one form or another, and there will be peace.

In Loving Appreciation of a Brother who fell to the disease of addiction.

Join me on InTheRooms.com on Tuesday (Christmas Eve) at 7:00pm PST/10pm EST for the Recovery 2.0 Power Hour.  In Rob’s memory and honor, we will continue to walk our paths of recovery, to surround each other with love and to once again say a heartfelt, resounding “FUCK YOU” to addiction.  See you there.

We will also join together for a wonderful Christmas Day meditation on Intherooms.com on Wednesday (Christmas Day) at 6:00pm PST/9pm EST.  Come all ye faithful!

Just A Little Nervous From The Fall

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Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery through the use of a lacquer resin sprinkled with gold powder to mend the broken pieces back together.  At some point in the 15th Century, the Japanese started to employ this technique.  Collectors everywhere started to clamor after these repaired pieces because they were seen to be much more beautiful than the originals.

Kintsukuroi artists became known not so much for their ability to make things as good as new, but instead to render them better than new.  The piece is considered more beautiful for having been broken.  Looking at a potted bowl, for example, as having life force, many would say that the bowl’s “energy” was finished the moment it was dropped or broken. From the Kintsukuroi perspective the true life of the bowl actually began the moment it was dropped.

Such is the case for people on the path of recovery from addiction.  My dear friend Nate puts it like this, “We come to this path shattered, fragmented pieces of ourselves.  The actions and substances we have taken in an effort to feel whole and complete are the very things that have left us in this broken state. We need to find something that will actually mend the broken pieces. Something real. Something powerful.”

kintsukuroi2What is to be our golden lacquer?  We are put back together using the gold powder of the 12-Steps, yoga, meditation, connection with a higher power and being of service to others.  These are the elements that make up the beautiful golden lacquer of the path of recovery.  When we use these tools as the golden glue in which to mend our broken pieces, something incredible happens. We become transformed, not just into the entity we once were, but into an entirely new being more beautiful than what the original could have been.

 Gold+Dish2When we look in the mirror, our cracks are still there, filled in now with unique golden lines.  We see them more clearly.  We know where we have been and we are better now for having been there.  We have been fragile like a china doll.  ”Just a little nervous from the fall,” is how Robert Hunter put it.  In recovery, we have combined our fragility with resilience and love to find a life of such richness that before we could never have imagined…A powerful lesson for us all on the difficult and magical path of recovery.

The Greatest Use of the Internet: Cyber-Recovery!

Head shot shrnkEvery Tuesday Night (Tonight!) at 7pm PST, I host an online Recovery show which is one-part 12-Step meeting, one part interview show and one-part story-telling session. This takes place thanks to InTheRooms.com an online social network devoted to people in recovery from addiction of all kinds.

The Recovery 2.0 Power Hour, as it is called, has a live interactive video feed where people can request to share or ask questions by instant message. We usually have about 150 people joining us in the room and it is a blast. I have to admit I had my hesitations about “meeting” in this way, but after 6 months of hosting these shows the entire experience has opened my heart and mind to something truly extraordinary.

Some of the people who join each week literally cannot leave their homes because of medical conditions. They get to tune in and get turned on to 12-Step meeting right in the comfort of their homes. A few of these people are dealing with severe illness and so, to connect with them in this forum is a highpoint of my week. Other folks prefer to just have a meeting from their home. Some of these go to regular meetings and others mostly engage in meetings online. I do feel that the human touch is important. If I am going to engage in an online meeting, I also want to go to an offline meeting to connect in that way. Whatever your opinion might be of getting sober or staying sober because of an online format, there is something pretty magical about having this as an available option for people who want to engage in this way.

intheroomshappyholidaysI want to encourage you to join me and 150 others TONIGHT and every Tuesday at 7pm on InTheRooms.com for Recovery 2.0 Power Hour meeting. You will need to use the Google Chrome Browser and sign up for a free account on InTheRooms.com

Hope to see you there tonight and on future Tuesdays.

By the way, if you like meditation, join me on InTheRooms.com on Wednesday Evenings at 6pm PST for The Recovery 2.0 Online Meditation Sessions.

The Dream Within the Dream…

Several years into my recovery from drug addiction I started to have a recurring nightmare in which I’d smoke pot and feel the considerable guilt and anxiety that came along with relapsing. Still within the dream, I would go to bed and wake up the next morning saddened and overwhelmed. I hid it from my friends and experienced another day of living with the apparent relapse. I’d go to bed and wake up yet again still within the dream and so it went. By the time I actually woke up for real, I was absolutely convinced that I had relapsed. I could not tell the difference between the dream reality and my waking reality. I tried to piece together where I had smoked pot and why it had happened. Sometimes, I’d say to a friend, “I have to ask you the damnedest thing. Did I relapse last night? Did I smoke pot?”  They thought I was joking.  “Tommy, we went to an AA meeting and then to the movies last night. Don’t you remember that?” I would piece it all together in my mind and the most incredible relief would come over me. I was so grateful to still be sober and walking my path of recovery.

I was detoxing on a profound psychological level. Marijuana had been embedded deep in my psyche, it makes sense it would take a lot to get it out. These dreams went on for a while. With each successive one, I felt all the more confused and sometimes quite certain that I had used again. When I explain this phenomenon to people in recovery, many of them have had the same experience. A therapist I was seeing told me that it was a gift, an opportunity to experience the feelings that went along with a relapse without having to relapse. That worked for me and so I went with it.

I learned much from these dreams within dreams. I realized just how mentally ill I had been. Drug addiction hit me hard and penetrated the layers of my psyche. I am fortunate to have escaped its jaws. I also saw that I had changed. Shortly after this period, I would wake up one day to realize that I no longer thought about using drugs and alcohol. The charge around it was gone. My thinking had changed dramatically. From a person who could not have imagined a day without drugs, now I could not imagine a day that included them.TommyYoga

The takeaway here is simply this: Addiction works on us at a variety of levels. It gets in deep and this is almost always underestimated. We have the hardest time understanding and believing it’s destructive power. If you have it, treat it with great reverence and respect by treating it with the biggest guns possible. This means bringing together the healing, transformative power of the 12-Steps, Yoga, Meditation and a healthy diet. These are the main tenets of Recovery 2.0. They work. Embrace and practice them and you will move beyond addiction.

You sure you want to give that up?

RobertJamesonIn a recent Recovery 2.0 interview, Robert Jameson, the gifted therapist and counselor to many, shared the concept of the Law of Reversibility. This simple, yet powerful axiom states that whenever a person gives something up or makes a decision to transform their behavior in some way, the Universe will give that person opportunities to reverse the decision at precise benchmarks along the way. Imagine you decide to quit smoking. The law of reversibility predicts that you will be faced with the need to re-commit to this decision at day 3, day 7, 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and even beyond. Now, any of you who have tried to quit smoking (or change another destructive behavior) might be saying, “Wait just a minute. When I quit smoking, it felt like I had to recommit to it every second of each day for a while.” Yes, this may have been true for you. There seems to be a pattern though for people who give things up that they tend to get tripped up right around these benchmarks. I know from my own history in attempting to quit smoking and also with caffeine, day 3 was usually a big benchmark for me. If I could make it past day 3, it meant I had a shot at going much longer. It also generally signified a lowering of the volume of my mind’s obsessive chatter about the recently released habit. And interestingly, day 7 was big and also day 30.

Curiously, many people who get sober relapse just as they are approaching their first anniversary and many others make it to a year, but then relapse shortly thereafter. It stands as a mystery, but certainly is widespread enough as to be a point of discussion between sponsors and sponsees within 12-Step programs. A sponsee of mine recently got a year sober. It is a day to be recognized and celebrated. It is also a day which seems to present a moment to reflect upon where you have come from, what has happened and whether you want to continue.

universeThe Universe, will give you an opportunity to take back your habit. It might sound something like this: “Are you sure you want to give that up for good? This is the Great Spirit’s way of asking you to review your commitment. The inquiry itself is empowering and serves to strengthen you moving forward.

Knowing about the law of reversibility will be helpful on your pathway to enduring success in recovery and life. It exists. You will notice it in your life. And when it expresses itself, you can bring awareness to what is happening and connect with a friend, mentor or teacher and say, “I am being given an opportunity to take back a commitment I have made. Can you help me think it through clearly?” This approach will bring to light what needs to be seen. You will be progressing forward with greater awareness of what you have achieved and why it is important to stay the course. If you came to me as your mentor asking whether you should return to an addictive behavior or not, I would simply ask if you felt that returning to the behavior would bring you closer or further from your own heart. Most people who are made to reflect about this, will admit that to go back to the addictive behavior is not in line with their heart. Does admitting this guarantee that you will continue with your commitment? Of course not, but giving voice to your heart is a magical thing to do. Even if you went back to smoking, you would do so with the clear understanding that you are at odds with yourself. This is a painful place to be. You would be paying a price every time you smoked and very soon you would not be able to take it any longer. You would have been reminded once again about the suffering that you experience when you smoke.

This is very dangerous for people who are involved in hardcore drug abuse and alcoholism. For those people, going back to do more “field research” might claim their lives. And yet, as I know all too well there is no way to stop someone from a relapse if they are determined to have one.

The law of reversibility arises in order for you to clarify your heart’s intent of remaining on the path of recovery and health. Once you do this, the energy will shift and you will move into a period of greater clarity and power. I wish this for you.

With Love and Gratitude,
Tommy Rosen

The Infinite Pharmacy Within!

When I analyze the motivation behind my addictive behaviors, it is obvious that I am simply trying to manipulate the way that I feel in a given moment. Something about the way I am experiencing reality in that moment is unacceptable to me so I try to change it. The addictive methods I once used to achieve this change were detrimental to my health, relationships and wellbeing. I now know there is another way. Amazingly, we all have an innate ability to change the way we feel without any need to reach outside ourselves and without negative consequences. We do it by tapping into the infinite pharmacy within also known as the endocrine system. When your life is going well one of the reasons for that is the endocrine system is delivering the right drugs in the right amounts to the right places at the right times. If it is freedom and contentment that you seek then you are going to want to know how to befriend the endocrine system.

Have you ever looked at the face of a statue or a wood carving of Buddha? Mostly what you see on this dude’s face is contentment. His relaxed, calm demeanor exudes a presence that announces, ” “While it is true that there appears to be some heavy shit going on out there, in here, everything is ok.” You see, Buddha is sitting there in contemplation of what is. With awareness of breath and a sense of connection to all things, Buddha sits still and becomes awake. Buddha taps into the endocrine system!

Now, throughout my life, I’ve seen the signs and have received the message – MEDITATE and things will get better. As you can see from the photo on the right, I’m still working on it and this is an appropriate contrast with Buddha’s calm complexion.

At first, meditation can be difficult and painful, but when you get past that, there can also be great joy. Most of us will have a varied experience in our meditations, but over time the mania and antics of our minds will become less powerful and our spirits will step forward into the limelight of awareness becoming more powerful. The attunement of your body-mind system will be such that you are no longer living in the frequency of addiction. And this, I wish for us all.

The great teacher, Anand Mehrotra, shared a simple meditation with us during his talk at the recent Recovery 2.0 Conference. Here are the instructions:

Sit up tall either cross-legged or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. What’s important is to keep your spine straight and upright not touching a wall or the back of the chair.
If you can, cover your whole body with a silk or wool cloth which will keep energy calm and prevent disturbances.
Take the tip of the tongue and roll it back creating an emptiness in the mouth.
Close and roll your eyes up toward your brow point.
Just start to follow the breath, deep breath, inhaling and exhaling.
As you inhale mentally chant the word “so”.
As you exhale, mentally chant the word “hum”
Inhale “so”
Exhale “hum”
So Hum means “I am that I am”
Continue to mentally chat the mantra and this will help with the fragmentation of the mind.
You will become more focused, calm and have a deeper access to consciousness.
When finishing the meditation state an intention, commitment or prayer.
This could be anything like, remain in recovery or stay sober today or connect with the divine or be in service to others or anything else you may need to intend and express.
Do this practice for 30 minutes each morning and 30 minutes each evening.

“Remember, when we are talking about meditation, we have to realize meditation is something that
happens to you so you are simply creating an environment where it can just happen to you.” –Anand Mehrortra

Try this meditation this week. Start right now or tomorrow morning. Tap in to your divine self and watch your life transform and grow.

Sending Love and Grattiude,
Tommy Rosen

Don’t put that in your mouth!

Tommy-donutThroughout my life, I have been blessed with teachers.  Some of them have been therapists or sponsors within the 12-Steps.  Some of them have been yoga or meditation teachers.  Others were simply friends or family members who were able to pass on some nugget of wisdom and love at just the right moment.

Without question, one of the areas where I have needed the most help has been with my relationship to food. My diet as a child was atrocious.  My favorite food was…well…anything made of sugar.  I especially loved the combination of sugar and fried bread also known as a donut.  If you decided to create a diet book based on what I ate in my childhood, it would be called, “Sugar Schizoid Freak:  The New Diet That Helps You Become A Full-Blown Drug Addict”.  I really needed an overhaul there.

Thank God, David Wolfe was there  to guide me!

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David’s many books and videos revolutionized the way I looked at food.  He talks about live food nutrition, Superfoods, hydration, re-mineralization of the body.   He speaks about the importance of vegetables and alkalinity – all the concepts that now guide my approach to food and life.

Later, David would become a friend.  And I got to experience his wonderful spirit first-hand.  Having him around is a constant reminder to “have the best day ever.” And you have to love a guy whose nickname is “Avocado” and whose website is thebestdayever.com.

Recently, I interviewed David for the upcoming Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction Conference, and he blew my mind.  The interview provided me with a completely new perspective on the connection between food and other addictions.  Furthermore, David clearly laid out how food could be used to increase the likelihood of someone’s success in recovery and in life.  Whether you consider yourself an addict or not, the information in this interview should be seen by everyone.

The Conference starts in three days on Saturday. There are 35 talks in all.  It’s FREE to everyone for those 5 days with an option to buy for those who want to download and own the videos and transcripts.

David Wolfe’s talk, The Epic Role of Food in Overcoming Addiction, will run all day on Monday, September 30th starting at 6am Pacific Time.  This should help us all to have The Best Day Ever.

With Love and Gratitude.

Tommy Rosen and The Whole Recovery 2.0 Team