Yoga teacher and professional Colette Carroll shares her journey with In The Rooms since January, when she began hosting her 11th Step Meditations meetings.
Who would have thought—during the days when I couldn’t get through a single day without alcohol, when I was afraid to socialize without a drink in my hand, when I couldn’t stop even when I wanted to, when I hurt, lied, and wounded my family—that one day, I would be hosting an online meditation group, with a recovery community of over half a million members, with the sole desire of helping another person’s suffering? Certainly not me!
Facilitating the Wednesday night Eleventh Step Meditation meeting has been a huge lesson for me, and a big learning curve.
Something New, and an Important Breakthrough
For a classic commitment-phobe, teaching an online session on In The Rooms every Wednesday wasn’t easy for me. The format was new for me, and I’m not a fan of new stuff. Even so, I practiced during the week, and I watched how others were doing. But the breakthrough came when I received a long email from a young woman with new sobriety. She told me that, though she was struggling and living in a halfway house, her experience with the meditation practice made her feel whole again. Her resistance to working the 12 steps had all but disappeared.
That’s when I realized that even if only one person is impacted by my meetings, it is soooo worthwhile.
The first few weeks of 11th Step Meditations were very small groups. But over time, I began to see the same people coming back each week. As the group slowly began to grow, I became more comfortable with the technical stuff, and with making mistakes. My group is quick to let me know if I mess up! That helps.
Now, I love hosting the Eleventh Step meditation. As a result, Wednesdays have become my favorite day of the week. Hosting the meeting is something that I take very seriously. I prepare, set up, pray, meditate, and set my intention for the group.
Over the years, I have taught Yoga Nidra meditation to lots of different groups. But with a recovery group, I am at home. I don’t have to overthink, and I don’t slip into my imposter syndrome. I’m just myself: a woman in recovery. A garden-variety alcoholic. Moreover, I know with certainty that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, that it’s all a God shot.
Yoga Nidra and the Twelve Steps
The 12 step program is a powerful medium for transformation, as is Yoga Nidra meditation. When these two spiritual paths merge, the result is an unshakeable foundation for life. For an alcoholic, it seems to me, the desire for happiness is stronger than the desire for survival. This explains why we are constantly seeking the end of suffering, and why we’re drawn to know our own freedom and independence, sometimes at any cost.
Step eleven is about choosing life, informed by God’s will for us. In other words, informed by freedom. Yoga Nidra provides the means of just that. The felt understanding that our peace and joy lie within our own being. They’re a perfect match!
Changes and Connections
When Covid-19 hit, I had all the symptoms, and I was quarantined by my doctor. That’s when I started to use In The Rooms more regularly and more often. My own In The Rooms meditation group tripled in size overnight. I showed up every week through my illness. During this time, we all dived in deeper. More than ever, all we wanted was to experience our shared being, and to know peace.
A Big Move
Not long after, I relocated from Florida, where I had lived for over 20 years, to a new town in Texas. My husband got transferred at work, prompting the move. I was afraid, and I was resisting the change. Still in lockdown, we packed up a lifetime of memories, and, armed with masks, gloves and homemade hand sanitizer, we drove 16 hours across the country.
Now, I’m living in a new place, where I’m essentially alone, with no-in person meetings to attend. Even so, as I navigate my new environment, I try my best to see the blessings in this overwhelming, crazy, new-Texas-Covid-world. But one thing in my routine remains the same: my Wednesday ITR group.
I have a service commitment—I have to suit up and show up. This has saved me, from my own self!
A Path Home to a New Happiness and a New Peace
Although I have been sober for many years, there are still ways for my addiction to show up. Even though none of these appearances are life threatening these days, my peace, my progress and my sanity can all be disturbed. And yet, my practice, my program, my willingness and a bit of learned courage has revealed the path through the difficulties—a path home to a new happiness and a new peace. A peace that allows for my insecurities to be felt, for my fears to be known and their messages to be heard and welcomed.
Anyone working a 12 step program will tell you: helping other alcoholics is a soothing balm. Being of service is the medicine.
I’m taking my medicine every Wednesday night. I’m Zooming with my Florida AA’s. I’m attending my favorite ITR meeting, the Trauma and Recovery group, where I have made new friends as well!
I am beginning to like my new Texas life. An English girl…sober…teaching 11th step meditation…online…in the two-stepping state of Texas.
For me, the opportunity to teach the peace and joy that we all long for, that lies within our own being, is the greatest way this meditating alcoholic can contribute. And In The Rooms is helping me to do just that.
These are just a few of the messages I have received as testimonials:
- Dear Colette~We look forward to your Meditation all week long! We missed you this week and hope you are taking good care. Look forward to you next time!
- Thank you very much for tonight’s meeting! I found myself crying a few times, because I was letting go of inner tension. I’ll be coming back!
- Hi! I just want to thank you for your service. I try to make your meeting on Wednesday nights as much as I possibly can. It gives me time out of my hectic schedule to slow down and take a deep breath. Meditation has been a big part of my recovery. Thanks!
- Your voice is so soothing Colette. Your meditation melts us into the deepest level. So grateful for your sobriety support. Many Thanks!
- Thank you for sharing this great gift of Yoga Nidra!!! I am benefiting from it greatly! I want to invite people to come from all the ITR groups I attend. It truly is a much-needed re-set for us hyper-vigilant recovering types.
- Thank you for the soothing meditation Colette. We look forward to next time… We wish it was more often. 🙂