In this series, we sit down with the staff and subject matter experts (SMEs) that facilitate the many different workshops, Q&As, and processing calls with our members.

Today, we’re talking with Jocellyn Harvey, writer, creator of Recovering the Home: A Decluttering Guide for Sober Women, and host of the Soul & Mindset podcast. Jocellyn joins us for Movement month in our membership program, where she’ll be teaching a workshop called Using Stomach Massage to Manage Chronic Pain, which details how to use this form of self-massage as a helpful and safe way to manage pain in sobriety. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I focus on making spirituality and mindset work more realistic and compassionate. About two years into my recovery, I stumbled upon spiritual methods, like Shadow Work, and they helped me dive into my past. That said, I noticed a lot of spiritual and mindset work had many barriers, and was intensely focused on discovering more areas where we need to “improve” that had disempowering and problematic language. I used to write exclusively about sobriety, but when I made the switch over to focusing on spirituality and mindset, I wanted to make sure it was a safe and compassionate place without words like “victim mentality” or the idea that we attract our traumas.

What drew you to learn about stomach massage?

Starting in 2018, I had really bad gut, bowel, and pelvic issues. It got to a place where I was in daily pain that ranged from dull and nagging to so debilitating that I had to stay in bed and pray that Tylenol and Naproxen would work (plot twist: It didn’t). Because a lot of the pain I had was tied to my cycle, I started the at-home massage for Maya Abdominal Therapy. Instantly I noticed how tender and inflamed my stomach was, and because I had done physical therapy on other areas of my body, it then made complete sense that a person could get trigger points in their stomach — which is such an emotionally charged area.

The more I did it, the better I felt in many regards, and it also helped me connect to my stomach in a way I never had before. Now I do it just for fun, if I’ve had a big meal, or if I do get the occasional flare up.

What does the word recovery mean to you?

For me, recovery means choice. It means self-trust. It means awareness.

Do you have an affirmation that you use regularly? 

“You cannot hate yourself into lasting change.” It resonates because we can enter recovery, or spirituality, or the mindset worlds from two places. We can hate ourselves and belittle ourselves along the journey, or we can be kind as we grow, and kind as we reconcile the past and the things we did that admittedly weren’t great. Yes, we can hate ourselves into change, but it probably won’t last and it definitely won’t be enjoyable.

Can you list a few things you have in your sobriety ‘toolkit’?

Seeing a therapist. We’re now at a “give me a call when you need me” level. Going on morning walks. Hanna Somatic movement. Regular gratitude lists (ensuring I’m not doing it in a way to bypass situations that are happening). Owning when I’m in a mood and letting it be. Connecting with people who are sober and those who aren’t. Meditating. Doing things I love when the moment strikes. Taking time for myself.

What things have you been doing to support your recovery during COVID-19?

Really taking advantage of the alone time and working from home. This time has really shown me what an introvert I am, so being in my own energy most of the day has been quite nice. However, I have a stable job, a fiance I live with, and I’m in Vermont which hasn’t had very strict shutdown rules, and those are huge privileges I recognize not everyone has and they’ve definitely made this a supportive time for me.

What has been the best part about being sober?

When I first got sober, it was the dramatic decrease in anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I’ll forever be grateful those aren’t there, but in the day-to-day, it’s being able to wake up early without a splitting headache. Having a full day ahead of me. Not forgetting myself mid-way through a sentence. Having body awareness. Those are many “best parts”, but it’s hard to pick one. Oh, wait — having much lower restaurant bills! 

Want to learn more about Tempest Membership? You can explore the program here.