‘Life in Bite-Sized Morsels: Learning to Live Life on Life’s Terms’ | A Book Recommendation

Using yoga for addiction treatment

“Many of these essays refer to the hangnails in life, the annoying and all-encompassing moments that have hijacked my attention and provoked me to consider things in a different light. I have learned to investigate them, to focus on one moment at a time, taking life in bite-sized morsels. Yoga enables me to do this.” 

I was using my body to get into my feelings and using my breath to heal my nervous system. I had found the holistic therapy for my holistic disease.

Those are the words of Kyczy Hawk from the intro to her new book Life in Bite-Sized Morsels: Learning to Live Life on Life’s Terms.

Yoga and RecoverySome time ago, I was a member of a Facebook group for addiction recovery and emotional/mental health practitioners. Kyczy (“Keetski”) was a member of that group and I was always so impressed by her knowledge, dedication, and gentleness (come on, just look at the pic).

When she knew Life in Bite-Sized Morsels was about to hit the shelves, she asked if I’d feature it on Chipur. It was easy to happily commit.

Before we get to the book, a bit about Kyczy. Well, she’s been in recovery since 1985 and has been an active yoga practitioner, specializing in addiction recovery, for the past 10 years. Kyczy is the creator of S.O.A.R. (Success Over Addiction and Relapse), a certification program for yoga teachers who want to work with people in recovery and their families.

Kyczy is a certified Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) space holder. She teaches workshops and leads retreats using recovery and yoga principles to invite deeper self-understanding and compassion – key to holistic recovery. Kyczy is the author of the Central Recovery Press best-selling book Yoga and the Twelve Step Path. She writes and practices/teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Hmmm, I’d say she’s qualified to deliver the goods.

Life in Bite-Sized Morsels: Learning to Live Life on Life’s Terms

Using yoga for addiction treatmentLet’s set the table for digging-in to the book. This is just huge. Kyczy turned to yoga as she was “falling apart from the inside out.” And, go figure, she’d been clean and sober for years. So in the midst of all but breaking-down, Kyczy strolled-in to a yoga studio and took her first live yoga classes.

Several years later, Kyczy said good-bye to a hectic job (she says, “the one that had defined me as ‘normal’ and ‘successful'”) and trained to become a yoga teacher. Her goal? Teaching yoga to those in recovery. And she continues the same good work.

Along the way, Kyczy developed S.O.A.R. and wrote Yoga and the Twelve Step Path. It was then she began blogging on what she calls “the intersection between yoga, recovery, and daily life.” And the essays in Life in Bite-Sized Morsels are based upon the pieces she posted on her blog.

You know, whenever I consider buying a book, I check-out its Table of Contents. How ’bout it for our featured book?

  • ETHICS, VALUES AND KARMA YOGA: On the Road to Knowing Right from Not-Right
  • DREAMS AND DHARMA: Awakening and Waking Up
  • MEDITATION AND THE BREATH: Looking Inside While Moving Outside
  • RECOVERY AND YOGA: A Powerful Blend Creating Strength, Balance and Flexibility On and Off the Mat
  • RESOURCES AND REVIEWS: Recovery, Rather Than the Pain of Active Addiction, Gratefully Makes Its Way Into the Culture
  • COMMUNITY AND CONFERENCES: Our Community Both Challenges and Sustains Us
  • FAMILY: Those Closest To Us Teach Us Most
  • EGO AND ACCEPTANCE: Learning to Discern the Big “E” from the Little “e”
  • CODEPENDENCE, BOUNDARIES AND BALANCE: Getting Grounded Grants Freedom
  • DEPRESSION, MOURNING AND HEALING: Both Sides of Disabling Emotions, Going In and Coming Out

Comprehensive as heck. And hopefully it’s obvious by now why I’m recommending Kyczy’s book. Just in case, I’ll slip in a small excerpt…

Yoga was the new skill to add to my recovery repertoire as mindful movement without goal. Exercise had been attractive, but its goals of weight loss, strength, distance or other measure became the focus, not the integration of body, mind and spirit. By contrast, yoga incorporated introspection, sensate movement, breath, and present-time awareness. And it broke me open. I felt feelings in a safe way with tools to knit myself back together – all in a single practice. I was using my body to get into my feelings and using my breath to heal my nervous system. I had found the holistic therapy for my holistic disease.

That’ll Do It

Be it providing assistance with managing a substance use disorder or a mood and anxiety situation, Chipur strives to bring you quality material.

Yes, Kyczy delivers the goods with Life in Bite-Sized Morsels. Check it out on amazon.

Oh, here’s the book’s Facebook page, as well as Kyczy’s website.

More Chipur titles? Look no further.

  • Patricia Miller July 7, 2015, 10:58 pm

    I read the quote at the end and this jumped of the screen and just nestled into my heart like a warm cozy glow, “I was using my body to get into my feelings and using my breath to heal my nervous system.” I am not used to that idea, or image at all. It is the other way around for me where my FEELINGS end up driving my body into places I don’t really want to go. My shoulders get tight, my neck becomes rigid, my forehead is taut, and the next thing I know I’ve got a migraine in action. To attempt to use my body to help my feelings isn’t a brand new concept because I know I am “supposed” to exercise each day to feel better, but there may be some magic in this idea…..Thank you for sharing this Bill and Kyczy.

    • Chipur July 8, 2015, 8:12 pm

      Welcome back, Patricia! Your contributions are always so valuable.

      I love the quotation at the end, as well (guess that’s why I used it???). And it’s all in the gentleness of Kyczy I mentioned in the article. And I’ll tell you something else – I’m not used to the idea/image either. But I’ve been swirling this yoga business around. I mean, essentially, I don’t know anything about it – other than what I learned from Kyczy’s book. But I’m seriously considering contacting her, asking if she knows of a good studio in my neck of the woods. So, yeah, I believe there is “some magic in this idea.” Incidentally, I’m looking forward to Kyczy’s take on the article. I know she’s out of town with no internet access.

      Thank you, Patricia. Please keep coming back…

    • Kyczy July 11, 2015, 2:58 pm

      Patrica and Bill, I am so glad that this quote (and this approach) are of interest to you. What you describe Patricia is the whole deal – the body CAN drive our feelings and pain response and integration/ enjoyment of life. What if we could catch it before it overwhelmed? What if the sign and signals of the body turned us towards self care and compassion? Our bodies are wise. More often than not I have learned to listen to my body, and my yoga practice is one of kindness rather than achievement or comparison. Most of the time :-)

      • Chipur July 11, 2015, 3:23 pm

        Hey, there’s Kyczy! Appreciate you checking-in…

        “What if we could catch it before it overwhelmed?” To me, that’s just everything – and I’ve challenged my clients – myself – to “catch” things we know take us to a bad place and intervene before our circumstances cycle out of control. And, of course, your yoga techniques, Kyczy, are not only a wonderful intervention – as I understand, they’re an ongoing presence/spirit that helps us maintain a sweet balance.

        Yes, “our bodies are wise,” aren’t they? For my money, especially from the neck down.

        Good hearing from you…

  • Lisa Frederiksen | BreakingThe July 8, 2015, 10:54 am

    I so agree with you Bill – I highly recommend Kyczy’s new book too!!

    • Chipur July 8, 2015, 7:23 pm

      Well, hi there, Lisa – nice to have you back. Given your area of expertise, your recommendation is mighty. And I’m thinkin’ you know Kyczy better than I do, living in the same neck of the woods, etc. Appreciate your visit and contribution.

      Chipur readers! Be sure to check-out Lisa’s excellent substance-related work http://www.breakingthecycles.com/blog/


      • Kyczy July 11, 2015, 2:59 pm

        Thank you all!

  • Lisa Frederiksen | BreakingThe July 10, 2015, 3:53 pm

    Thanks so much for the shout out, Bill!!

  • Amy Edge July 11, 2015, 12:51 pm

    Thank you for this book recommendation. This is the kind of book I have been searching for. I am all too familiar with “falling apart from the inside out.” I look forward to reading this book. Thanks!

    • Chipur July 11, 2015, 2:59 pm

      You’re welcome, Amy. Yes, that “falling apart from the inside out” can really hit home. Thank you for stopping-by and commenting…


    • Kyczy July 11, 2015, 3:00 pm

      Thank you for sharing that these feelings are familiar to you too. It is by expressing myself that I don’t feel so alone. I hope you enjoy this book!

      • Chipur July 11, 2015, 6:48 pm

        Well, express away – we’re all in this together…

  • Sue Ledet July 14, 2015, 3:59 pm

    Thanks so much, Bill, for posting this book. I’ve only read two chapters and I am completely enthralled. Can’t wait to discuss it with you during our next session.

    • Chipur July 14, 2015, 5:55 pm

      You’re welcome, Sue. Really glad it’s hit home. It’s sittin’ right here on my bookshelf…

    • Kyczy July 15, 2015, 10:55 am

      Sue – I am so heartened that you are enjoying my book! I am honored.

  • npeden July 14, 2015, 7:33 pm

    Well, after I began studying genetics for all my mutated neurotransmitters, I started studying trauma again after a long time away. So I had heard that Bessel von der Kolk recommends yoga. I can get it that it helps balance the brain. A long time ago there used to be a lot of folks using yoga in private sessions as healing modality. For some time, I looked for practitioners but although I live in California, it can be very conservative here in Monterey so never found anyone who knows yoga and trauma (I know you are talking about addictions but that comes along with trauma. I am not very crazy about AA but this seems to make it more palatable. I just ordered my copy! Thanks, Kyczy and Bill for another method WITHOUT DRUGS! Whooray!

    • Chipur July 14, 2015, 10:13 pm

      Hey, thanks for visiting and commenting, Nancy. Hope you enjoy the book, and hoping it brings great results…


    • Kyczy July 15, 2015, 10:54 am

      I love it that you have read van der Volk’s work. He is awesome. There are some great thereapeutic yoga teachers in “our” area (I am in Silicon Valley) and YES private sessions are an important and supportive way to get into your yoga practice.
      May I say I am delighted that you are giving my book a try- I appreciate you checking it out.

  • npeden July 14, 2015, 8:36 pm

    i think i need to add why i dislike aa. much of my abuse was at the hands of men and when i went to a couple of meetings, the men hogged all the time and raged and i am terrified of male rage. as for the women, the groups tend to be petty and not well fascilitated. i have no patience for this. i have doctoral level work in group process but what i found in aa was generally not good group proceess. the one’s with the most sobriety often are the most rigid and in my view narcissistic. i have a zen friend like this. zen is also very rigid…btw. we have a good/great zen group called ordinary recovery and that is the one i would go to if i slept at night and could get up and go….i was able to stop drinking cold turkey when i was diagnosed w/ mthfr. after i got monoxide poisoning, my slumlords tried to evict me; they hate me (a woman who needs a handy man) and love my ex who abandonded me because he does a lot for free, being a contractor, wanting me to be able to stay in house in a premier location where there are no other options. i will have to move many hours away if i get evicted and lose all my current support . so i am pretty freaked out and now i am getting lots of pressure to give up my benzos and alcohol. i was able to quit easily then, now i am just freaked out and i cannot face going to yoga. i do not sleep.

    i know i am ovr reacting, but i have faced an enormous amount of trauma.

    btw, i am friends with a homeless women, sort of like she might help me face the future. homeless womens lives are very scary. they hide to not be raped or used as drug whores. so i am terrified a lot. celia has obvious signs of ptsd….and the life she lives is very hard. she has a pit bull who is as sweet as can be. homeless women have dogs for protection and that plays against them when they try to rent.

    that’s it for this rant. not ready to go back to yoga….hope i will be but i am not bright about my future. bill, you are welcome to delete this.

    • Chipur July 14, 2015, 10:17 pm

      Nope, not going to delete, Nancy. You very openly shared what’s on your mind and in your heart. It stands (and thank you)…

    • Kyczy July 15, 2015, 10:50 am

      Oh Nancy- I am sorry for the difficulty and pain you have faced. i can support you enough about going place, being places,and finding friends that give you peace and comfort. Take care.

      I too am very sensitive to both language used and delivery. It has taken me a long time to be able to care for myself when I am overwhlemed by negative energy (inside and out). I have even experience periods of “blackout” during times of extreme emotion. I can’t remember what was going on or how I responded – and this has been in clean /sober moments.

      In yoga I have veered away from dogmatic teachers. I avoid SHOULD and MUST. My body is my guide- so I have to listen to her messages of ENOUGH. I took a workshop recently where the teacher was forceful, critical, and judgemental. I couldn’t hear waht he had to say as I was protecting my inner me the whole time. I will not take his class again. I have learned I have a choice.

      I have been lucky to find 12 Step meeetings that are supportive and solution oriented. This was not always the case in early recovery. My chooser was off. I am fortunate to live in an area with LOTS of choices. That has not always been the case. I hope you find a nurturing place to land.

      Be well

      • npeden July 15, 2015, 12:59 pm

        thanks for the support. i have one option for a free class; i think it is a woman. I am used to iyengar but would love some hatha or restorive. I defenitely cannot work with an authoritarian teache. our pilates class is fun and we all decide together with teacher guidance what will do. I am into a co creative reality and do not do well with dominators.

        As for AA our ordinary recovery is an option. Right now I have a month to get off klono and am not looking forward to that. Have written to the group leader; may go one Saturday but I have been saying that a long time.

        I am under a threat of eviction and if I lose I will not be able to rent for 7 years so to make these changes facing that is very very difficult. Thank you for your kind replies. Both buddhism and yoga are rife with authoritarian theory and teachers. I am loathe to do that.

      • Chipur July 15, 2015, 6:47 pm

        Hey, thanks for reaching-out to Nancy, Kyczy. And, Nancy – just another reason why I wouldn’t delete your comment.

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk July 15, 2015, 11:32 pm

    I love the way that Kyczy has combined yoga with her recovery work. It makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing the interview and Kyczy’s book!

    • Chipur July 16, 2015, 8:44 pm

      You’re welcome, Cathy. Spoke with a client last night who is reading the book, and it’s given her a wonderful new perspective on recovery.

      Sure appreciate your visit and comment…

  • npeden July 16, 2015, 12:47 pm

    My book came! And since I now have an all male support team, I guess Kyczy will be my female support. And they all want me of drugs and alcohol. Not happy about that. I get terrified at night about my situation. BTW, Kyczy, I live in Monterey, just down the road from you. Did I see a website and a way to sign up for your teaching and retreats? My geneticist is not even worried about my body health. She says my brain needs rewired…ah, that would be nice. Well, I will start the book in the morning…..my favorite time to read. Thanks, Kyczy and Bill. I still like my pilates but must somehow face my fear of falling and get back to yoga, somehow. Challenging times for me.

    • Chipur July 16, 2015, 8:46 pm

      We’ll be with you during those challenging times, Nancy. Never hesitate to turn to us for sharing and support. Just pick an article and comment away…


      • Kyczy July 24, 2015, 9:34 am

        Keep doing what works for you, there are no SHOULDS. Yoga is an option and NOT the ONLY way. Start with self care. Non-harming is the first principle of yoga (before the physical practice and everything else) and turning away from self criticism is a way to practice non-harming. Next time you are in the San Jose area – join us at a Y12SR meeting (on my website). be well

      • Chipur July 24, 2015, 6:52 pm

        Hey, thanks, Kyczy – good counsel. But, man I’ll tell ya’, self-care can be so tough to facilitate – especially when that self-criticism is crankin’ along. No doubt, the thing to do; however, I want to honor the difficulty factor. Takes hard work/practice, but definitely “doable.” Appreciate you checking back in…


  • Sue Ledet July 22, 2015, 10:37 am

    Bill AND Kyczy,
    As I said before, only got a little way into the book and I was hooked. I saw myself ALL OVER it. Now I’ve read it twice. Will continue to refer to it. Your chapter on Depression and Mourning resonated with me as I lost my son to murder. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into this book. It’s really a joy to read.

    • Chipur July 22, 2015, 6:16 pm

      You’re welcome, Sue…

    • Kyczy July 24, 2015, 9:35 am

      Sue- I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I am honored you like my book. be well