Addiction Counseling Billings MT
Addiction, Depression, Anxiety or Fears, Impulse Control Disorders
School: U of Pittsburgh
Year of Graduation: 1977
Years In Practice: 30+ Years
Age: Adults,Elders (65+)
$110 - $110
Sliding Scale: No
Accepted Insurance Plans: I accept all.
Substance abuse treatment
Types of Care
Adolescents, Persons with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders, Women
Addictions and Dependency, Clinical Mental Health, Couples & Family, Sexual Abuse Recovery, Depression/Grief/Chronically or Terminally Ill
National Certified Counselor
Moving Through Addiction
By Elizabeth Marglin
For Ana Forrest, yoga began as a form of poor man’s therapy. Sexually abused as a child, living in poverty, not having enough to eat, Forrest’s early life seemed a setup for addiction. In the beginning she turned to drugs, alcohol, and food—anything that could help her check out. At 18, her addiction was bulimia. She ate and ate and then purged. She got so skillful at controlling her body she could swallow backward—immediately vomiting her food back up.
Kicking drugs and alcohol was no easy feat, but once she put her mind to it, she quit cold turkey. However, overcoming her eating disorder was a different matter. She obviously couldn’t stop eating; food required that she face her addictive nature daily, instead of just the addiction itself. And face it she did, which demanded a whole different level of healing and maturing. “Bulimia, in a kind of perverse way, forced me to evolve—or die,” says Forrest.
How did she finally control her urge to purge? Her yoga. Sun Salutations, to be exact. This flowing sequence, done at the beginning of a yoga class to warm up the muscles, provided the kinetic focus she needed to take her mind off her food obsession. When the desire to binge threatened to control her, she’d do these poses until she felt calmer and the feeling of overwhelm subsided.
The Dictates of Abuse
Recovery programs often provide yoga classes for those who suffer eating disorders, in part because yoga calls for the ability to feel sensation—most anorexics, bulimics, and binge eaters are entrenched in some sort of gridlock of numbness and denial. At the heart of eating disorders beats a poignant contradiction, in which the need to feel and connect struggles with its shadow—the longing to disappear, protect, check out. “Eating disorders are so misnamed. They are only partially about eating,” says Kathryn Zerbe, MD, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University and author of Beyond the Body Betrayed (W. W. Norton & Company, 2008). “People often use the binge-purge cycle to feel their bodies or put certain feelings to sleep.” When you can help the body learn to wake up and withstand the barrage of feelings, Zerbe says, the eating disorder often improves.
Most women (and increasingly men, too) turn to food in one way or another as a substitute for hard-to-stomach emotions. Others abandon themselves through exercise, alcohol, sex, or even compulsive shopping. All addictions dramatize the inner struggle of how we claim our identity and our right to exist. To live out loud, free of the muffler of debilitating obsession, we need to accept our current circumstances but also learn to recognize what’s at stake.
Forrest has since worked with thousands of people with eating disorders. Often, she says, a traumatic experience (such as sexual abuse) sets a person up for this behavior. “It’s not simply about wanting to be a small size,” says Forrest, “it is about self-esteem. Something happened to shatter th...
Author: Elizabeth Marglin
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