Arizona man uses yoga to help recover from drug addiction


September is National Recovery Month, which is a vehicle to promote the treatment and recovery efforts of tens of millions of people struggling with substance abuse.

In the Valley, a man who overcame his addiction through yoga uses everything he has learned over the years to help others like him.

Drug addiction started early for Jacon Daffner

Like many drug addicts, Jacob Daffner began to use drugs at a young age.

“You know, I had a pretty dysfunctional teenage years growing up, a childhood and all that stuff got me addicted,” Daffner said.

Growing up in Virginia, Daffner began to experiment to hide his feelings.

“It started out as what a lot of recovering people go through, which is kind of like that, like a gradual progression, you know, drinking beer, smoking weed, and then becoming more and more hard with substances, ”Daffner said.

It got to a point where even the fear of dying didn’t scare Daffner.

“It was a dark place, and that idea of ​​maybe it’s gonna end wasn’t scary, you know. It was almost a bit of a relief,” Daffner said.

At just 23 and his future very uncertain, Daffner headed west to Arizona for help. His demons, however, were not far behind, and this led to him being kicked out of his treatment center.

“I didn’t have any ID. Credit card. I didn’t have a cell phone. I literally had a bag of clothes, and I was in Casa Grande, Arizona, 3,000 miles from anywhere. person I knew with nothing, and I just remember that feeling of utter hopelessness and broke down, and that was it for me. It was, like, the bottom of the bottle, ”Daffner said .

Daffner had a rough start with yoga

With little to give, Daffner channeled his desperation into a willingness to try just about anything, and that’s when he discovered the Scottsdale Recovery Center. They provide a number of resources for other recovering addicts, but it was the yoga program that ultimately caught Daffner’s attention.

“I’ve never, never tried this before. I thought it was, like, hippie shit, and I tried,” Daffner said. “At first I really didn’t like it. I was like, it’s weird, and I don’t know what the names of those poses are, and it’s really hard, and this one really hurts , you know.”

While his body could have said no, Daffner quickly realized that his mind and soul were saying something completely different.

“There is the physical element that could help relieve pain, weight loss, cardiovascular health, strength. You know, your heart rate goes up, the endorphins in your brain are waking up again, that mental part of it. ‘just being a little more present, calm, not living in anxiety, stress, fear, worry, and then that spiritual compound, and it’s just kind of slowing down and connecting to whatever you find to be spiritual for yourself, ”Daffner said.

People use yoga as a form of recovery

One summer day, Daffner’s outdoor class at the Scottsdale Recovery Center was packed, as dozens of people, including recovering addicts, use yoga as a form of recovery.

“Like that physical difference in their mental state, if that makes sense, is so powerful and it’s like, I can, it makes this change that yoga offers, like tangible, like, you can just see with your eyes the difference it can have on someone recovering, “said Daffner.” Doing something can be a lot easier than doing nothing, and the meditation that we end each class with is not just one of the most difficult aspects for most people new to yoga, but also the most beneficial and why we are offering it here. For example, being able to touch your toes isn’t going to help you recover, but being able to be still, connected, and calm for a few minutes could be life changing. “

Daffner says that while yoga is a big part of her recovery, it’s not the only one. He and other addicts like him go through a multi-step program to keep them on track, including group therapy.

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