SHOW NOTES: Cole Chance, now 2 years clean takes us through 16 years of the most gut wrenching Heroin/Cocaine Drug abuse imaginable for any human being and finally shares with us her inspirational journey into Recovery!
Today Cole is a Yoga Instructor, a Y12SR Yoga instructor, performs Thai Massage and a world traveler who takes her message of hope and recovery all over the world.
Clean Date: August 26, 2013
This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.
Here are Cole’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Cole: Well my normal routine, I wake up in the morning cuddling my Bernese Mountain dog, that’s the first thing that I do. It’s a little different every day. I like it that way. Every day is a new exciting day. It’s normally a mix of yoga and body work. I do Thai massage and table massage. I film YouTube videos. I’m booking yoga workshops, having lunch dates and more yoga. I just recently started to try to create a new relationship with running. That has been interesting and it’s been wonderful. I’m setting my own schedule and just really getting to do the things that I really enjoy as a job.
Omar: How do you maintain your spiritual condition, that conscious contact with a higher power?
Cole: You know, I’ve really found my higher power through my yoga practice is really how I came to come to that. I struggled in AA as I think a lot of people do. It really started to make sense to me on my yoga mat. Like I really began to come inside and start to find like some inner power I guess you would say. There’s this one quote that I love from BKS Iyengar that says “there’s a dormant part of divinity in each of us that it must be fanned into flames by yoga” and I felt that way after the fact, but I was like “that’s exactly what it is.” So I think on my yoga mat I was able to really kind of come back into my own body. I spent so much time trying to get away from myself and just to be able to sit with myself and to listen that I was really able to make a contact.
Omar: How much clean time do you have and when is your anniversary date?
Cole: It is August 26, 2013 so going on a little over two years now, which is unbelievable completely. Completely unbelievable!
Omar: How old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly, how did it make you feel?
Cole: Well, I remember it very clearly as I think a lot of us do. I think I was 13 or 14 and I was at like a friend’s house that I played soccer with and her parents were out of town and we were having like a pool party and we’d gotten into the Peppermint Schnapps and some rum and we were floating in some inner tubes in the pool and I remember like sitting in it and like spinning the tube around and I was like looking up at the sky and the stars were out and I felt so amazing and I remember just laying there talking to myself, like this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Like it was hands down, no questions. Like I had found it.
Omar: What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Cole: You know I just really didn’t want it for a long time. I just don’t think I was ready. I don’t know how you can look at my story and not think someone is ready, but I just wasn’t and when I was going into rehab in the hospitals and detoxes and all of that, I just wanted an immediate help. So I definitely think that you need to be real with yourself about are you really ready. I bartended through my 20’s. I was the party girl. I mean, that’s who I was. Like that’s who, I remember telling a counselor “well then buy me a rocking chair if I have to get sober because my life will be over.”
I don’t know. I had no idea. I didn’t think I would have a personality. I didn’t think that I was gonna be able to dance or to laugh or to make love or do anything. I didn’t have any prior knowledge of life. That was probably one of the scariest things. I mean just to think about it, I mean actually right now it just kind of brings me to tears, just that moment of being really that terrified of not knowing yourself at all, but only knowing yourself as that, to have that ripped away from you is horrifying and that is such a real feeling. It’s terror, but you have to, I guess, get comfortable with the unknown or to leave room for the unknown and I don’t know what finally brings somebody to that precipice.
Omar: At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ‘aha’ moment in recovery when you finally accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time developed the hope that you could recover?
Cole: On my yoga mat. When I unrolled that yoga mat, I still remember I was still shaking. I felt awful inside, that coursing through your veins. It’s palpable and going in there and unrolling my mat and just this feeling of despair, fear and of hope all at the same time and for me to be in child’s pose which is a pose of reference, reverence of surrender. I mean that’s what that pose is and you know some of the stuff that Nikki Meyers touches on is like how the physical pose can bring an emotional response. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I got down and got into that pose. It was just incredible and I’ll never forget that moment and probably neither will anyone else in the class because I was like bawling so bad, just crying my eyes out. I felt hope that this time I really could recover.
Omar: Do you have a favorite book you would recommend to a newcomer?
Cole: I do. I love to read. I’m a big reader. Okay some of the ones that helped me, there’s one called “Drinking: A Love Story” and it’s by a lady named Caroline Knapp and it’s an incredible book. It’s about her journey and I found that many years before I got sober. I just happened to find it at a flea market, poking out at me. Very auspicious and that really, really resonated with me. There’s another book called “Still Water” by William Alexander and it is alcoholism, mindfulness and ordinary recovery. He’s a Zen Buddhist and it’s a very interesting approach about how to find the extraordinary in every day things. I thought that was a really great book and then one other one that’s really helped me is called “Waiting” and it’s a non-believer’s guide to a higher power and that one really helped me.
Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power – Marya Hornbacher
Drinking: A Love Story – Caroline Knapp
Still Waters: Sobriety, Atonement, and Unfolding Enlightenment – William Alexander
Omar: What beautiful suggestions. I love it! Thank you. I’ve only heard of one of the books. So I love getting new suggestions.
Cole: Oh yeah, totally. I’m a book nerd.
Omar: And Cole, what is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Cole: Suggestion that I’ve ever received? Well I really think that, I don’t know if this is a suggestion or not, but the thing that I recalled from that lady who was at the treatment center who told me that you finally get to a point where you can be drunk and high. You can have that life or you can be happy and you can have everything else. I just think that that’s a really good, I don’t know if that’s a suggestion, but something to ponder.
Omar: That’s beautiful. Well with that being said then, if you could give a newcomer only one suggestion, what would it be?
Cole: I think just to leave room for the unknown, otherwise your story has already written itself and it’s just going to get worse and darker, but if you leave room for the unknown possibility, it can just be better than you ever imagined and I know that sounds cliché, but it’s so true.
SUGGESTION FOR THE NEWCOMER
“Leave room for the unknown…”
Omar: Now do you have a web page? Do you have like classes that you’re currently teaching? I mean, you just said you finished a training. So give us your website and the best way for our listeners to get a hold of you.
Cole: Yeah, no I’ve already been teaching yoga and doing all of that for a bit. I’m just now finishing Nikki Meyers training, the yoga and recovery piece, but you already know that part obviously! ColeChanceYoga.com and that has stuff about my yoga, my Thai massage and it has a link to YouTube videos and kind of what I’m up to. I travel a lot so I kind of do workshops wherever I am, wherever I’m traveling to so I’ll be in Colorado next over the winter. I’ll be back in Vail!
Thanks again for your SHAIR Cole!
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.