"'My story' of addiction is not something that I talk about or share much about. Like so many other folks struggling with substance abuse, I have felt a lot of shame around my behaviors. I faulted myself for so long when I was coping with life in one of the only ways I knew how. One of the things that makes Trini Foundation so valuable- is that they are breaking the shame and stigma around addiction and helping folks step out of the shame and into their power. With that I share some of my story of what lead me into a place of darkness and addiction and how yoga was able to help heal me to see the light of my soul: Growing up my family moved a lot, about every 3-4 years. New cities, new experiences, but difficult to make connections and grow friendships. This became especially difficult and apparent when we moved from the larger cities that I was used to, to a much smaller town when I was in High School. It was clear to this "new girl" that everyone already had their friends and they were not looking for any more. I struggled to find a place in this new environment and when I didn't find support at home, I began to control my life in the only way I could and developed an eating disorder. I was verbally shamed and confronted about my eating disorder but never really offered any hope or help. I forced myself to put on enough weight so that I would be left alone, so people would stop saying terrible things about my body. Junior year of high school I went to a party, and there was alcohol. I was ready to try anything- just to make all the thoughts stop- the shame, the negative self talk, the guilt. I blacked out on vodka and it was incredible, nothing mattered. I could eat without worrying about calories when I was drunk, drinking made me put on weight and externally that looked good and "healthy". I continued with this pattern of disordered eating and binge drinking through high school, into college and my adult life. In adulthood the binges and blackouts got worse, it affected friendships and relationships and the hangovers lasted days. I always told myself my drinking wasn't really a problem and I wasn't an addict because I didn't drink everyday. I dabbled in and out of sobriety. However, after one especially rough night of partying I made the choice to stop drinking (again). This time it stuck though, and a big reason why is that I found the practice of Ashtanga Yoga about 4 months after I took my last drink. I didn't want to be up partying late at night or be hungover because I wouldn't be able to practice. The practice also helped me to get better connected to myself & others and to get mental health help which was vital to my recovery. It is both an honor and a privilege to represent Trini Foundation that is committed to providing the life saving tool of Yoga to individuals in recovery."