Freedom Out Here highlights a community for healing
Event at Out Here Yoga welcomes anyone, whether sober curious, in recovery or friends, family and allies
Alison Zimmerman says a 2018 DUI completely changed the trajectory of her life.
She describes a program she went through afterward as incredible, adding that it opened her eyes to change her relationship with alcohol.
“I feel like there’s a lot of people out there that don’t know they have a choice in the matter,” Zimmerman said. “For me and my addiction, I didn’t know that it was possible to be clear.”
Through the process, she found yoga and a community at Steamboat’s Out Here Yoga that helped inspire her to “do further inquiry and look within” and then to share those experiences with others. Zimmerman said that community — and the variety of resources she found in Steamboat — “saved” her.
Kristin Burge found the same community at Out Here Yoga before she even lived in Steamboat and tuned in to virtual sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burge moved to Steamboat last year and is now a therapist and licensed clinical social worker with Mind Springs Health locally.
“When I moved here, I immediately got a bunch of inquiries from people at the studio,” Burge said. “It became clear to me that there’s an openness in this community to seeking help and support … and there is a real lack of clarity how to do that.”
That led the pair to the idea of hosting an event at the studio and inviting anyone interested to join the community that each of them found so welcoming. On Friday, Oct. 14, Out Here Yoga will host that event and hopes to foster the idea that there is no right or wrong way to deal with addiction or mental health issues.
“The more that we come together and share our experiences, the more it ripples out, the more confident we get in our own voices, with our own stories,” Zimmerman said. “It’s not just us; there is a ton of us that ripple out from the impact this community has made.”
The event, Freedom Out Here, is free and open to anyone who is sober curious, growth and transformation curious, or recovering or still healing, as well as their friends, family and allies. A flier for the event declares: “It is for you.”
Burge said knowing yoga is not required. The class that will start off the event is designed for all skill levels, and there will be people to demonstrate various modifications to poses so everyone can participate.
After the class, Burge said, there would be a sober happy hour and potluck followed by a series of speakers including Dr. Michael Barnes, chief clinical officer at the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat. Burge invited attendees to bring a chair if they want because the studio has limited seating and they often end up sitting on the floor.
“We’ve got meditation and speakers sharing their stories and their experiences with mental health and substance-use healing,” Burge said. “(Barnes) is going to come and share data about prevalence and some warning signs and some of the science behind how these diseases work.”
Burge said people could come to as much or as little of the event as they want.
“We heal in community; we make the decision to grow in community,” she said. “We learn what’s possible through hearing others’ stories and sharing our stories with others.”
Zimmerman said planning for the event has become a cool collaboration of local people passionate about mental health, recovery and reducing the stigma surrounding both. She and Burge both hope this event is just the beginning.
“The more of these events there are, the better,” Burge said. “The day that it becomes super saturated and people are like, ‘There’s too many healing events,’ that’ll be a good day.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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