Breathing New Life

Tommy Rosen Welcomes You on a Path of Unfolding Possibilities in Recovery
Tommy Rosen
Table of Contents
If I never let go of substances—all substances—I was never going to realize what my life could have been.

Tommy Rosen

Tommy Rosen's infatuation with substance use began as a teenage love affair with marijuana. "Love" is Rosen's word to describe the relationship.

"The first time I got high smoking weed, it felt like the first deep breath in my life. It was the first time that lifelong anxiety was quelled. I loved smoking pot so much, I built my community and my lifestyle around it."

Cannabis led Rosen down the road to dependence in a most insidious way. Slowly and gently, over 12 years.

"Because of the way cannabis operates, the way it works in the brain and the body, it doesn't kill you like alcohol could. It doesn't kill you like opiates or cocaine or methamphetamine could. You can use cannabis for a while, and it's very unlikely that you're going to die from it. With cannabis use alone, you're less likely to reach bottom and recognize that you need help."

At least that's how things played out for Rosen. When he eventually got into cocaine and heroin, his fall came fast and hard—landing him at Hazelden in Plymouth, Minnesota, in 1989. Even then, at his lowest low, Rosen didn't see his cannabis use as an issue. On his way to rehab, a buddy asked, "You're not going to stop smoking pot, right?"

"I told my friend that no treatment center in the world could get me to stop smoking pot," Rosen recounts. "That's where I was in my mind. I just knew I was going to smoke pot for the rest of my life. Why wouldn't I? I didn't associate anything negative with cannabis. My problem was with hard drugs."

The Sobering Truth

Rosen describes his 40 days at Hazelden as the "entry point" for a profound shift in his thinking—a time of "accumulating some good ideas." At the top of his list? The realization that he would never know what his life would be like without drugs unless he stopped using. Sounds simple, but the truth caught his attention.

"That was a really big awakening for me. It was the sobering thought that led to my recovery. If I never let go of substances—all substances—I was never going to realize what my life could have been. I realized I was just living out some kind of diminished version of myself and my life. I couldn't tolerate the thought of living 'life lite.'"

Sustained sobriety would not be an overnight thing for Rosen, but he had a solid start. He left Hazelden with the understanding that his substance use was taking up too much space in his head and his heart.

"Being abstinent from mind-altering drugs became the prerequisite for me to do other things that required a certain level of energy or consciousness or awareness. When my mind was focused on getting high or acquiring drugs and then on the feeling of coming down from being high, my life and my world were organized around that endless cycle. I didn't have the capacity to even consider 'What do I want to be thinking about today?" or 'How would I choose to spend my time today?'"

He would also come to see that dependence on substances to help navigate life's challenges and manage emotions was holding him back from realizing his fullest potential as a human being.

Once Rosen embraced a one-day-at-a-time path and gained some good traction in sobriety, he was able to fill his mind and his time with other ideas and experiences. Like yoga.

Embracing Evolutionary Change

For Rosen, the providential pairing of Twelve Step recovery and yoga offered a path toward freedom and fulfillment that drew him in wholly. Everything came together, body-mind-spirit.

"I was very fortunate to find yoga in my first year of recovery," Rosen shares. "My journey with yoga, like my journey of recovery, would unfold and unfold and ultimately become the vehicle for living life fully and thriving," he shares.

Three decades later, Rosen is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, recovery expert and founder of a global movement, community and wellspring of healing practices and wisdom known as Recovery 2.0. As a yoga instructor, author, podcaster, and conference host and presenter, he quite literally helps people the world over breathe new life into their recovery.

"Thriving in recovery doesn't mean you're happy every day," he cautions. "You're still a human being; you still have to deal with all of the human challenges. Recovery 2.0 is about applying principles and practices that lead to freedom, health and fulfillment—doing what we need to do in order to live a life that leads to those things."

The tools and methods Rosen shares for redirection, growth and well-being are the same tools and methods he uses. Every day. For 32 years now. That's the thing about both recovery and yoga: they are daily practices that take you to a better place—and that better place gets progressively better through daily practice.

"I'm 32 years sober, and I'm still working to break out of patterns," Rosen shares. "This is a continuous path of discovery for each of us. Recovery is evolutionary, or it is not true recovery. That's as true for me as it is for anyone else. As long as we're willing to walk the path of discovery, we will discover more."

And along the way, the journey and the destination become one in the same: living at 100 percent of your human potential.

Breathe the Difference

You're just three minutes away from a better place. Curious about how to get there? Let Tommy Rosen be your guide in a breathwork sequence for stress relief and mental calm. Follow along now—and take yourself to a less tense, more pleasant place. And once you know the route, you can go there whenever you want. 

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