Former Addict, Sex Worker Starts Movement To Help Others Get Clean, Stay Clean

Nikki Myers has a background story that is as interesting and compelling as the work she’s now doing. For years she was a serious drug addict, and at times turned to commercial sex work to support her addiction. Having recovered and relapsed more than once, she founded Yoga of 12-Step Recovery as a way to help other addicts not only overcome their addictions, but heal their bodies and minds through an integrated approach.

YogaCity NYC’s Megan Mook caught up with Myers to talk about sustaining recovery, the body-mind connection, and social outreach.

Megan Mook: Tell us about your journey that led you to yoke 12-Step and yoga.

Nikki Myers: It was 1987 when I first walked into the room of a 12-step program. For years I’d been caught in the throws of heavy drug addiction. Through 12-step, I learned how to love myself and I really got myself together. I went back to school, first for my undergraduate degree, where I made straight As, and then for my MBA, where I made one B. [Laughs.]

I had regained some smarts and was really doing well. I’d repaired my relationships and was working for a software company, but I ended up relapsing. First in Germany, and then in Amsterdam. And there I was, right back in the throws of addiction, working as a sex worker again. When I got back to the States, I returned to 12-step and I became reunited with yoga. I’d been introduced to yoga in the 70s but had become distracted by drugs. I started practicing Bikram, and soon found Ashtanga, which I loved.

I was living in Boston at the time, and every year my Ashtanga teacher would to go Mysore to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She taught yoga in inner-city schools and then one summer I took over her classes while she was in India. Teaching the students got me interested in yoga philosophy. I could see what a profound effect the philosophy had on their minds, and I started to see connections between yoga and 12-step.

After studying yoga philosophy and relapsing, I realized that I needed to couple these two approaches. I need both: the cognitive aspects of 12-step, and the somatic aspects of yoga. I’ve had many, many teachers and various influences. I hate saying that what I’m doing is original, but I did put it together in this form.

MM: On your website, you talk about healing trauma as an integral part of Y12SR. Tells us more.