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Reiki and Recovery

By TJS, Western New York (Client of WNY life Coaching)

I sat looking blankly at my computer screen, clicking away mindlessly the next morning. Just like many other mornings, I couldn’t quite bring myself to do any real work. I shuffled papers around on my desk to feign progress if anyone should walk in my office. In reality, I was working hard – trying to figure out what to do with myself, how to fix me, how to never drink again. 

Because you see, in April of 2016 I was battling alcoholism again, and it had come back stronger than ever. I had been sober for several years and lived a productive, peaceful, spiritually expanding life. But that was some time ago now and I was broken, once again by the damage I had done to myself and loved ones while under the influence.  

As the morning turned into afternoon I searched for an answer, a solution, something to redeem the terrible events of the night before. I couldn’t afford much at the time because my money mostly went toward buying alcohol. But I gained a little hope as I came upon a discounted reiki session with Shawn of WNY Life Coaching Center. I took a leap of faith and sought healing through a therapy I had never tried before.  

A few weeks later, I lay restlessly on a massage table in a quiet room, with lights dim and warm, and serene Zen music playing. Shawn asked me a bit about myself and then began my reiki session. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I was just emotionally desperate enough to remain willing and open to the spirit within and around me. As Shawn quietly and gently worked on me, I began to feel intense releases of energy, and strong shifts within me that I still can’t quite identify. But when I sat up and took a deep breath, I was changed. I thanked Shawn again and again and proceeded to tell her about how I ended up on her table.  

I described my secret drinking, day after day, accompanied by the shame and guilt that must always come with silent self-harm. I told her all about my loving and supportive partner, and how he had finally discovered the extent of my dependence. I told her about the journey of sobriety I had begun. She listened carefully for what was more than an hour. I dove without inhibition into the depths of my emotions out loud to a stranger with kind eyes and a powerful spirit. Her responses were gentle and encouraging and she, a woman I had never met before, expressed how she believed in me, and in the healing my soul needed and deserved.  

I left Shawn’s office feeling lighter, more confident, and more hopeful than I had walked in. Because of my powerful experience, I bought two more sessions, both for my partner who was suffering in a different way from my alcoholism. He hurt from the deception of my dependence and from my hurtful words and actions when I was drunk. He always battled with insomnia, but now, sleep escaped him every night as he worried and agonized over what seemed like a doomed relationship.  

My partner, my love, met with Shawn twice for similar sessions as I had experienced. This man, who couldn’t sleep for days at a time even with sleeping pills, relaxing music, earplugs and just the right pillow, began to snore softly as Shawn worked her magic. He had discovered something just as powerful as I had and together we began a journey of trust and healing.  

Restful nights weren’t the only thing that changed in our lives. My partner began to forgive my deception and began to trust in me. Unfortunately, I began to drink again because of a delusional thought that I could control my drinking; after all, I had stayed abstinent from alcohol for a whole year. So, I cautiously but purposefully tried again. By May of 2018 I was fighting a losing battle and found myself in a familiar prison, bound by shame, fear, self-loathing and apathy. During my last drunk I heard myself say out loud, “I can’t be happy and be sober.” I almost choked on the words as their gravity struck me.

Within days I checked myself in to an inpatient facility in Pennsylvania. I would spend the next 28 days learning about the medical and scientific aspect of my addiction, identifying ways to cope with stress in healthy ways, and recognizing areas of my life that needed to change or improve to better support my sobriety. Most importantly though, I was challenged to open myself spiritually.

I thought I was starting from nothing but during a regularly scheduled spiritual gathering, I sat meditatively expressing gratitude for my sobriety and asking for inspiration and clarity. Suddenly I was moved to share my meditations with the other individuals I was in treatment with. I nervously asked a staff member if I could do this with the group and was met with enthusiasm and excitement at such an offer. In the next three weeks many men and women battling addiction themselves gathered in quiet, dimly lit rooms to be guided into a relaxing, meditative state. They too had minds full of clatter and fear and sought the peace that I intuitively knew I could help them find.

The response I received surprised and delighted me. It grew me spiritually a little bit every time. So, I sat down in a quiet room as the end of my treatment grew near and wrote a letter to Shawn. I told her everything, once again. This time however, I asked for her guidance, for an opportunity to learn from her how to actually “do reiki.” I reached out feeling vulnerable but hopeful and heard back from her about a week after I returned home. I have since received my reiki placement and as one might assume, I have continued to stay sober.  

Since my reiki placement I have found the courage to make some very difficult decisions. I have uncovered an “intuitive knowledge” as a mentor explained to me. Now I must be brave enough to listen to it, and act accordingly.  

I am thankfully and excitedly looking forward to learning more from Shawn’s amazing gifts and practices as I work toward my reiki certification. What will my future bring? Where will my calling take me? How am I meant to love others and contribute to the world? I am not quite sure yet. But what I do know, with all my heart, is that this beautiful journey I am on started 2 ½ years ago, when I lay restlessly on a massage table in a quiet room, with lights dim and warm, and serene Zen meditation music playing, with Shawn’s gentle and healing energy leading my way toward healing and growth. Words cannot express my gratitude, so I am committed to continuing to pay in expressions of love.  


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