On today’s Episode of the SHAIR Podcast our featured guest is 4 X bestselling author and Recovery Coach Maria Pau. Maria was raised in the slums of the Philippines surrounded with drugs, gangs and violence. She came from a broken home and was left out on the streets fending for herself from the age of thirteen.
Maria is now the Founder of Coaching with Substance a recovery coach program teaching others how to become a Recovery Coach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health specializing in Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs and a degree in Psychology. She is nothing short of a miracle.
Join us now as Maria takes us through 25 years of drug addiction where she travels through 127 cities and into the unmanageable life of sex work and drug trading. You don’t want to miss this episode.
Maria, let’s talk a little bit about how your life is today. I know you have a very busy schedule, obviously with all the book tours and all the conventions, but tell us about how you balance your hobbies, what you do for a living, your daily routines.
Maria: Sure. Daily it’s a little bit of different things that I do every day, but it’s the same. I exercise. I eat well. I meditate twice a day so as soon as I wake up I do a 20 minute transcendental meditation and then I do one in the afternoon as well. Transcendental meditation is the technique used by Oprah when she ran Harper International. Everyone in that company actually meditated twice a day. If you look it up, Oprah Winfrey transcendental meditation, you’ll find it.
Russell Brand is one of the people that really use that as well as a tool to get well. Same with Hugh Jackman. Seinfeld as well is one of them and Nicole Kidman so a lot of celebrities have been using it. The Beatles were the ones who started it back in the 50’s and it’s founded by Maharishi and when I was seven years old I was taught transcendental meditation and as I got into my addiction that started at 11, I finally let go of it, but now I’m back into it again, practicing it daily and that’s really what grounds me: my meditative practice. Of course there’s exercise every day. I do yoga one day. Tai chi one day. Qi Gong one day and I’ve got hip hop classes twice a week. One that I go to and one that I teach.
What’s the one thing right now, what’s the most important aspect in staying clean and sober today?
Maria: I wish I could say there was one thing. There’s 50 things, but the first and foremost is spirituality. It is the belief and the firm faith and belief that there is something greater. This isn’t even me. This vessel that I ride this world in, I’m bigger than this. Just like yours, you’re sharing stories of people in addiction and your vision is so great that people are going to hear this and they’re going to think my life might not be so bad after all after I hear that crazy girl. Maybe I should make some changes and that’s why I wrote my book. Spirituality, we need something bigger than ourselves, because if it’s just up to us, if it’s just up to me, I’d still be out there. I swear to you I’ll still be out there.
At what point did you have that spiritual awakening. Give us that story, that ‘aha’ moment in your recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol and for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?
Maria: It was the time that I drove into this driveway because one of my really good friends that I’ve known for 20 years said ‘you need to see this monk. He’ll protect you’ because I had this guy after me with all guns blazing and so I went to see Xu and when I looked into his eyes, I saw my experiences. He looked into my eyes and saw his experiences and this is when we said that we can do this together and really that’s the journey of recovery.
Not that you need to do it with another person. You need to do it with yourself and it was a hand off. He didn’t aid and abet me like every other person. He didn’t hook into my codependent side. He was just there modeling the behavior of spirituality. He’s lived a monastic lifestyle and he trains , he exercises, he eats well and not just exercises the things he can do with his body are amazing.
O: I love it. We can’t do this alone. We need models, mentors, whatever term you want to use, we need a guide to take us through this journey because otherwise we’re constantly seeking outside of ourselves, especially in the beginning and if we pick the wrong person, we pick the wrong guide and we pick the wrong mentor, then we’re right back where we started from so it’s crucial to find that connection with others that will allow you to connect with your higher power, with your spirituality.
Suggestion’s for the Newcomer!
“ Find quiet time every day to really energize your mind, your body, your spirit. That’s the place where you ask the questions, where you let it all go and you just watch the tape of life play through…”
What is the best suggestion you have ever received Maria?
Maria: Is to find quiet time every day to really energize your mind, your body, your spirit. That’s the place where you ask the questions, where you let it all go and you just watch the tape of life play through without falling into any of its illusions because there’s a lot of illusions in my head of the people I’ve hurt and all these types of things that will get me to fall. If I don’t have that quiet time where I’m not listening to anyone telling me what I am and who I am, it’s just me and myself and my higher power and the universe. That’s where I find my answers.
O: Sitting down for 20 minutes for a lot of people is so hard because you have all these thoughts that are constantly flowing through your mind, being quiet for some people, just the sound of a car going by or a dog barking will throw them completely off.
Maria: Yes and doing that two times a day, every day is the discipline in its’ own right. You know what? Your mind can go race as much as it can, but the fact that you’ve got your eyes closed and you’re going within. Even if it is not quiet. The peace comes with time and you know, I’m two years into it and peace is still missing. If I didn’t do it daily, one day becomes bigger and then I’m carrying a heavy weight. That’s where I let it go in those moments (of daily stillness). Some call it prayer, some call it many things, but for me, I need that time alone to watch my mind.
If you could give our listeners only one suggestion, what would that be?
Maria: Get a recovery coach. Get someone with experience and expertise in the academic or theoretical side. They must have sound knowledge of it, but also a peer. If your therapeutic person doesn’t have the experience themselves, they probably do and they’re just not telling you, but if they don’t then you go to AA or you go to a place where you can have a peer mentor you through the process. That’s what I do with my clients and we’re pioneering it here in Australia with Coaching with Substance, but that’s my best suggestion. Research the person that you aspire to be and get them to coach you, mentor you, sponsor you, help you out.
I want you to list all of the books you would like to recommend that you’ve written, your website, the best way for our listeners to reach out and communicate with you in the future.
Maria’s Best Selling Books:
Kill Your Addiction Before It Kills You – How I Transformed My Life Of Addictions, Bipolar and Suicide – Maria Pau
Kill Their Addictions Before It Kills All of You – How to Support Your Loved One Through Their Journey to Recovery – Maria Pau
Sit With Monk Xu – Spiritual Inside Training With A Modern Day Taoist Monk – Maria Pau
From Rock Bottom to The Sky’s the Limit – How to Become a Recovery Coach in 60 Days or Less – Maria Pau
The Best way to Contact Maria:
All of those are available on our website, CoachingWithSubstance.org.au and really that’s the best point of contact. We’ve got a lot of volunteers that help us so send an email through our website. I’ve got healers, light workers and people that I’m accrediting them to become recovery coaches. We have a school as well. Those are the ways to reach me. We’re on YouTube. We’re on Facebook so just search for Coaching With Substance.
Thanks again for your SHAIR Maria!
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See you then!
Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.