I started creating OYAM shortly after I completed a methadone detox. Immediately preceding my detox was an existentially jarring spiritual awakening, likely influenced by a myriad of mindfulness practices I had been experimenting with while enrolled in a methadone program. I found out firsthand that the consistent "dabbling" into mindfulness and meditation I did was highly effective at helping me eventually face the trauma I used drugs to run away from, removing the root of my psychological addiction. Research backs up my personal experience; mindfulness-based relapse prevention techniques have been demonstrated to have significant efficacy in reducing the frequency & severity of relapses. If you are seeking a sustainable path to recovery and wish to overcome your addiction using mindfulness, then you have come to the right place!
The core concepts of OYAM are based on a consistent (daily) practice of deliberate attention to your direct experience, moment to moment, without judgment, otherwise known as mindfulness. In a nutshell, mindfulness is simply being aware of what’s happening around you and inside you without becoming lost in the inner dialogue we identify as our ego. Most human's inner dialogue takes up most of their attention throughout the day, leaving little space for their emotions or physical state of being to come into their awareness. We reverse this imbalance in OYAM. Developing a deeper understanding of how your body feels from head to toe at any given moment brings the subconscious within you to the surface, revealing the hidden roots of your addiction.
Mindfulness is noticing what emotions you’re feeling and whether they change from one moment to another; it’s listening to sounds as if for the first time—and then also noticing when those sounds are suddenly absent. It's "watching" your thoughts as you think them, without having an emotional reaction to them or taking them seriously (while still allowing them to be). When you embody your senses in the present moment as you experience them, simultaneously intend to allow whatever thought pattern your mind takes up while doing so to be as it is. In OYAM, we develop these sensory regions of the brain with consistent practice accompanied with detailed explanations to show precisely why and how these practices work so well for addiction treatment.
When you learn the simplicity of mindfulness, it can be hard to believe that the lack of blood, sweat and tears can truly help people deal with these complicated problems. Yet some of the most effective addiction recovery programs today all incorporate some form of mindfulness into their treatment plans. An estimated 23.5 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD), which is more commonly known as alcoholism. Fentanyl overdose just became the leading cause of death among persons 18-45, killing nearly 79,000 people in 2020. These statistics indicate that there are millions of people struggling with substance abuse and addictions every day, but what sort of meaningful impact would mindfulness techniques really have on those numbers? What makes it so different from the other treatments out there?
Mindfulness is filling the present moment with your presence. A willing intention of fully embodying your body, becoming more aware of your senses and the observations and sensations you experience moment to moment. Fine-tuning a personal mindfulness practice means discovering what makes you live more "in the moment" and thus change your over-all state of being to one of less stress and focus on the problems in your life, and more attention to your life right now. There is a thin line between craving management, and falling into "auto-pilot" mode that eventually leads you to relapse; it all boils down to how much presence you willingly culminate consistently throughout the day, every day. Mindfulness practice helps this by directing more awareness into your surroundings and experiences instead of your thoughts. Whatever it is that's painful and difficult to face that you use drugs to escape.
My OYAM course is a structural equivalent to the clinical Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) course written by Jon Kabat Zinn, PhD. MBRP is a course that helps people learn mindfulness and coping skills in a way that’s tailored to treat the underlying causes of their addiction. My online program consists of 8 weekly online modules, 4 bi-weekly one-on-one calls, one "Day of Silence" retreat, with the option of adding a weekend ayahuasca retreat for cases of severe or treatment-resistant addiction. Each weekly module includes videos and interactive elements where you can practice mindfulness techniques, listen to guided meditations, respond to journaling prompts, etc. Learning mindfulness is similar to learning any other skill – you need repetition and consistency before it becomes second nature. This course provides all these necessary aspects, and encourages a free-flowing space to cultivate your own unique practices. You will be able to work at your own pace from anywhere with internet access, which makes it perfect for recovering addicts who are returning home from treatment centers and have nowhere else to go, or those who are living alone due to addiction-related consequences. Recovery isn’t easy but it doesn’t have to be unnecessarily difficult either!