If you gave up alcohol for lent I truly hope you have noticed the vast improvement a booze free life brings and have decided to continue on sober and free!
My life continues in a normal way. Kids at school, traveling for concerts (we saw Weezer a few weeks ago). Planning for the rest of the year. Work, teaching yoga, family. Normal stuff.
Along the way I gave up my volunteer yoga teaching at the local recovery centre. I had been teaching alternating Saturdays for a couple of years. It is small, a 16 bed facility, and provincially funded. They get people from all walks of life.
Over the years the class had its ups and downs. It is mandatory for the clients, who are all there at varying times of a 28 day stay. I didn’t expect them all to participate, but at a minimum to relax on a mat and nap if desired. As long as they weren’t disruptive. I generally kept the class pretty much a stretching exercise, with some breathing and moving to just get the group back into the body and perhaps to slow down. And a guided meditation, which was always very well received.
In the past few months the groups had been less receptive. There was a fight between 2 clients one week and I had to insist the facility staff stay in the room (they used to come and go). And in the weeks following there was always someone voicing their unhappiness at being made to come in the room. Of course, then there were great weeks where people participated and the time went by quickly.
Teaching to a non responsive group has been a huge learning. I know it is not about me. I know these people are in early sobriety, they are scared and angry and prickly. I am not trying to change the world, but to offer them an hour of respite. I know all this, but I still fall back into self doubt…thinking I am not doing a good job, nervous, generally dreading going to the recovery centre at all.
A few weeks ago I went to teach. I didnt want to. The group had been really aggressive the week before, and my anxiety was very high. I knew I should stay home, but I hated to disappoint the staff.
When I got there we had moved to a different, smaller room. There was general grumbling about that and as we settled in one of the guys stood up and declared it all bullshit that he had to attend. He was very angry and aggressive.
At that point I realized this was no longer a good situation, for me or for anyone else. I gathered my things, and wished everyone a good day left. The nurse came and talked to me, apoplgizing, but I realized this was exactly what I needed. A break from the constant discord. I was shaking and almost ill
I was pretty distraught after. I felt I had failed, that a “regular” person could handle the conflict, that I was weak. I cried and cried.
Eventually The sadness passed and I and realized none of that is true. I had stood up for myself and declared a boundary that I needed. I put my own mental and emotional wellbeing first.
Afterwards the centre staff called and told me they would change how things are organized, but I have decided I will take a break from that for the rest of this year. Maybe someone else will take over and she or he might be the perfect person for the role.
For me, it pushed the boundary between wanting to help and trying to fix.
When I ask myself what feels right for me today, I know I have chose the right thing for me.
And life goes on.
Stillness and peace,