Esther has kindly shared her story of recovery from addiction, and self empowerment.

Esther Nagle created a mask and comfort blanket out of alcohol for over 20 years. Wracked with self loathing and shame, she had virtually no other coping strategies in life besides drinking. When life got difficult, that coping strategy made things worse, and Esther surrendered into a breakdown.

That led her to Yoga teacher training, and her salvation. Through Yoga she learned tools that helped her reach a place where she no longer needed alcohol. This showed her that Yoga is far more powerful than she ever realised, and she realised she had a message to share.

Esther is the author of “Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga”. Esther is a Yoga teacher and public speaker, and the host of the new podcast Sober Living Rocks. She writes about her journey on her websites Sober Living Rocks and Balance and Breathe

Esther Nagle at Om Studio

In 2013, after 20 years of alcohol dependence, and depression, and 8 months of the hardest year of my life, I had a breakdown. I was the single mother of 3, two of whom still lived with me, a 3 year old and a 16 year old. My resilience was at an all time low, I had life hitting me from all angles with work problems, family health problems, a vicious breakup and court proceedings with the father of my youngest, who had managed to destroy what little self esteem and sanity I had throughout our relationship.

In August of 2013 I realised I could actually cope no longer, and, in a state of complete overwhelm, quit my job and fell into a vat of cider as I tried to cope with my breakdown. I spent the next few months crying, drinking, sleeping really badly, and making very erratic decisions before calming down a little and starting to think about what I was going to do once my government benefits ran out. I knew that the 9-5, commuting to sit in an office wasn’t going to work for me anymore, so I needed a new plan.

I had been going to yoga classes for a number of years, and it was one of the things I really loved in life. I had long wanted to become a yoga teacher, but had never been able to find a course that worked for me. I started looking again, and, as though the universe was lining it up for me, at the same time a local teacher started advertising her first teacher training course. I signed up and immediately felt myself begin to calm down a little.

The course started in April 2014, and within a matter of days my mind was being blown as I discovered aspects to Yoga I had never heard of in the 6 years I had been attending classes. I had thought Yoga was a physical exercise class, but I was learning how it could change me and my life at the deepest levels imaginable.

Through the practices and course work I started to unravel the knots that had existed in me for so long I didn’t even know they were there. I learned to properly relax. I learned the magic that happens when you start to pay attention to the breath and learn to breathe properly. I started to see patterns and identify the source of behaviours I had always just accepted as evidence of my flaky and unstable personality, and began to change them. I developed a new, positive outlook not only on my present, but on my past, seeing lessons and gifts in the pain of the past.

After just the first 7 months I was a different person entirely, and on October 12 2014, I woke up with the worst hangover ever, and made a life changing decision. True, I had made the ‘I’m never doing this again’ declaration many times in the past, but I had never really meant it before. I knew wihtout a doubt that I preferred waking up sober, and I no longer needed the comfort blanket of alcohol to help me hide from my problems. I had gained enough insight into myself not to tell myself I was quitting, and risk triggering my self sabotage, so spent the next few weeks making a daily decision that I was ‘not drinking today’. When I attended my brother’s wedding 6 weeks later, and shunned the endlessly flowing red wine in favour of Elderflower cordial, and had a really good time, I knew I had turned a corner. From that moment on I started talknig about quitting drinking, and, singificantly, started to finally be honest with myself and others about the nature of the problem I had lived with for 20 years. I had been an alcoholic in total denial and had risked so much to hide my addiction. Finally being able to talk about it, to be comfortable in discussing it with loved ones and strangers alike felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders.

I have been sober and smoke free (I quit smoking the same day, but seem to forget about that, despite having smoked for longer than I was drinking alcoholically, and being asthmatic!) for over 2 years, and at no time have I come close to a lapse. I know that this was completely down to the deep inner work I did through Yoga.

I was truly amazed to learn the power of Yoga, It is not just an exercise class, not just relaxation and meditation. Yoga is a system for living that addresses our whole being, how we live, how we speak, how we think, what we do to and with our bodies, minds and souls. It can improve how we relate to ourselves and to others. It can help us to defeat old habits and create new, more positive ones. Any change you want to make in life can be helped by adopting Yoga principles into your life.

I would love to hear how Yoga has impacted on your life, or how you have created positive change in your life

How to get kids to do stuff inspired posts like my one about being a waitress to them.

how to get kids to do stuff

I have driven myself into the ground all too often looking after my children. I am one of those mums who wanted them never to be upset and that was unrealistic. It wasn’t their fault but they learned through my bad parenting skills to take advantage on occasion.

My most wise child is my youngest who told me that if I show him how to do something he is more than happy to help with household tasks.

So I did. He has started keeping his room so much nicer as a result and has offered to help even when I could not see that things needed tackling.

My daughter at the age of 12 suddenly has started to take a pride in her bedroom.

I am still working on the sulky teen.

Having said that today, I put my “I mean it” voice on which actually does work and does not require a raised voice or tension.

Imagine my happiness when my 3 little ducklings (yes all 3 of them!) did exactly as I asked immediately and with no arguments or attitude problems.

Is it really simple as that? I believe it is and wish someone had told me so much sooner!

r2bc

As I am joining in with the Reasons to be Cheerful linky, I will add in the following lovely things.

1. The dream is becoming so realistic now. Watch this space!

2. I am feeling better after a week of feeling grotty. It shows how when you rest up it does you the power of good.

3. My son is walking better and becoming more independent after his operation.

4. My daughter continues to amaze me with her vivid imagination.

5. I had a lovely long film session with my youngest. I love quality one on one time with each of them.

Do you find it challenging to get kids to do stuff?

Pot au chocolat recipe perfect for date night or Valentines Day.

pot au chocolat recipe

 

200ml double cream
130g dark plain chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
70g milk chocolate
2 tbsp liquid glucose
2 egg yolks
20g Rachel’s Lightly Salted butter
100g Rachel’s Greek Style Natural yogurt

To Decorate:

150g whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
25g chocolate, grated

Preparation time: 15 minutes Serves: 4

Method

1.Heat the cream, do not allow it to boil
2.Break the chocolate into a bowl and pour over the hot cream. Stir the chocolate until it melts and there is a smooth consistency
3.Add the liquid glucose, egg yolks and butter and beat lightly to combine the ingredients into the chocolate mixture
4.Fold in the Rachel’s Greek Style Natural yogurt and then pour the mixture into the glasses and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving
5.Decorate with a rosette of cream and decorate with shavings or grated chocolate

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Here’s a duck salad recipe perfect for special occasions and with Valentines Day around the corner, go for it!

duck salad

Ingredients

2 Gressingham duck legs
140g watercress
1 carrot, peeled and grated
100g mooli, peeled and grated (optional)
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely
1 bunch spring onions, sliced

Dressing:

150g Rachel’s Greek Style ginger yogurt
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp Soy sauce Sesame seeds

Please note: Mooli is an Asian giant white radish

Method

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 2

1.Heat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas Mark 6. Score the skin of the duck legs and season. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add the duck, skin-side down, and cook for 4 mins or until the skin is crisp. Turn over and quickly brown the underside, then transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

2.Remove the duck legs from the baking tray and allow to rest, use kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.

3.Slice the duck into strips or shred from the bones.

4.Add the salad ingredients into a large bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients together and toss the two together.

5.Transfer the salad to a serving platter and add the duck pieces.

6.Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

The Pramshed

Cocoon is my word of the week. It keeps coming to mind at various moments.

What do we associate with cocoon?

It protects whilst something develops. I feel that my medication and online support does this for me.

I love choosing a word of the week because then I go off and find out more about it. I did not know it was related to spiders and military equipment for example.

My Mum left school at the age of 12 and took on her own literacy education learning words from the Reader’s Digest every week.

Apparently a star can be hidden in a cocoon of dust. I think of all the bloggers I know who emerged and got valued for the first time in years when they became blogging stars in their own right.

Baby it is cold outside so I am often wrapped in blankets, a duvet or a patchwork quilt often joined by my super hot water bottle dog.

I feel my mind is strong these days so disturbing realities don’t shipwreck me. Either I rise about those realities or start to change them and my own.

I love that song “There’s a place for us somewhere” and now I know there is a place for me and that feels good. I quite like my cocoons.

The Reading Residence