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Yoga used in Warren County to help those recovering from substance abuse

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Posted at 5:46 AM, Jul 23, 2021

LEBANON, Ohio — The Warren County Recovery Court uses a variety of ways to help people struggling with substance abuse, and one man has found success through yoga.

"Everything that ends up doing with your mind and your body and yoga and oils, it's all incorporated into recovery, which I had never seen before," Paul Haywood, a client with the program, said.

Haywood has struggled with substance abuse for the past 17 years. He said he's tried almost everything to get clean, but the approach offered through the recovery court is unique.

"They do things that other treatments wouldn't do," Haywood said. "They incorporate everything into the 12 steps of NA and AA. ... Their sole purpose and interest is to invest in your recovery."

Lynn Sullivan Abrams runs a yoga class through the court. She also uses aromatherapy and other techniques to help people build skills to stay sober.

"They're usually running away from themselves," Sullivan Abrams said. "They're trying to find something outside of themselves to make them feel safe and peaceful. The practices that we teach help people to feel safe and peaceful in their own container pretty immediately."

"Every time I go to Lynn with a problem, she has an oil for it, a pose for it or a diet recommendation, and it works over time," Haywood said.

Judge Robert Peeler oversees the court, which also helps connect clients to resources to find work, sober housing and other things needed for long-term recovery.

"They're getting a life back," Peeler said. "It's more than just I'm alive here. It's 'I've got a job. I've got my kids back.' Those are the things, to me, that are important."

Haywood entered the court seven months ago, and he said their approach has given him his best chance at recovery yet.

"To see other people come before me and do it and succeed, you get hope," he said. "Then when the people before me, after me or with me fall down, the sole purpose is to spread the message of hope.”

Sullivan Abrams is also planning to take some of these same techniques to a more comprehensive treatment option at Saint Zachary’s Haven. It is going to be a faith-based therapeutic sober living farm in Morrow.

While it is still in the planning stages, Sullivan Abrams says it will fill a crucial need in the recovery community.

“There’s not enough places for people to go after they’ve completed some of their programs or gotten out of some of the rehabs,” she said. “This will be a catch net.”

You can find more information about Saint Zachary’s Haven here.