UN-DEPENDENT: The Power of Raising above Addiction.

Every 11th of the month a Chance to Change your Life

Addiction: the frightening word capable of taking even more frightening forms and shapes. Strong enough to completely destroy lives, take away from us the ones we love and shatter destinies, rip apart families and affect the future of the children involved. It can destroy relationships, stellar careers and determine the addicts to spin out of control to the point of committing suicide. Its power has the ability to wipe out an entire life trajectory. It can alter the perception of who we are and annihilate the sense of our own self. It can turn people into slaves, and what can be worse then being a slave by choice?

Fast forward and by changing the course with a 360°, it can also be the turning point in someone’s life by forcing them to shift their lives forever, determine them to break free from anything that has the power to hold them prisoners, and even more so: begin to inspire others to free themselves from their respective addictions.

Asia Dyrkacz knows these trajectories all too well. She knows addiction and understands its impact; after all, she used to be an addict. Addictions have run in my family, ruined my childhood and ultimately destroyed the closest people in my life, Dyrkacz said. Addictions took away the lives of my father and my brother, affected my own life, destroyed the trust and love of my soul mate, as well as the childhood of my children.

As seen through her eyes, the beautiful eyes of a former model still stunning in her early sixties, addiction doesn’t seem as scary. Once overcome it becomes a story of the past and its only functionality is being a strong reminder of what not to ever allow yourself to become again, and strange places not to be tempted to revisit. Asia is a true warrior who was not content to win the war but also determined to inspire others to fight and win.

Her path is unique in many ways. To begin with she was born and raised in Poland in a dramatic, full of violence family atmosphere, where her father was an alcoholic. By the time she was eighteen years old she already had a history of consuming drugs and has attempted suicide. Her decision to immigrate to US from an ex-communist country, leaving everything she knew behind, forced her to adjust quickly to a new society without any family or other emotional support. Substance abuse became yet again a constant companion until the day an imminent change took place: a new career path was waiting in the wings.

Not too many models get signed by top modelling agencies like Elite Model Management and Wilhelmina Models in NYC at that age of 40. It was beyond just a stroke of luck, it was her determination to change her life and pursue a career she was passionate about. At the time she seemed to have it all: looks, success, motherhood. Being on top of the world couldn’t stop Asia from falling into old habits and nearly two decades after an addiction-free life, in 2008, she began drinking heavily, in addition to using cocaine.

The second time around addiction had an even more shattering effect upon her, allowing emotional pain to fully take over her life: it tarnished her relationships with her family, colleagues and friends. It affected her health and she lost touch with her core values.

In a desperate attempt to regain her life back she finally sought professional help in a six-month outpatient program. Very few addicts are strong enough to voluntarily enter themselves into treatment. Part of it is shame, part is fear of being judged by others. Especially when you are a model in the spotlight, admitting your addiction becomes a less easy task. She became the model to fight addiction and decided to help her fellow models in that position. In the world of fashion substance abuse is a well known territory, and one would be surprised to find out how many successful names are a victim to it.

Asia knew that the only way to truly help others would be to change the narrative of what being an addict means. To change the stigma associated with it and relief the fear and shame of admitting it. Her non profit organization Models Against Addiction: Combating the Stigma Associated with Addiction founded in 2008 was born out of strength and courage. Out of desire to redefine the power to change that grew out of fear.

It was created with the goal in mind to help reshape destinies once headed to failure. Being so passionate about the organization she even created and trademarked a concept for it: Un-Dependent which encourages anyone to divert themselves from their dependencies whether severe ones like drugs or alcohol or behaviors society doesn’t’t even think of as addictions, including social media and eating habits. I am lucky that I have become strong enough to liberate myself from that vicious circle and heal. Asia said. For the first time in my life, I have finally found my true soul-mission to help others.

The biggest impediment in offering a treatment to those in need is lack of proper funding in mental health and addiction services and proper diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, the perception of addiction perceived as a stigma stops people from seeking help. Addiction affects nearest 1 in 4 families in urban cities and it’s a topic that needs immediate attention.

As a result, Models Against Addiction, featuring some of the nation’s top fashion models, has created a path towards achieving health and happiness through the implementation of mediation and yoga, practices acclaimed and applied by large audiences worldwide. Furthering its efforts, the organization has created a focal point: their 11:11 program since the Un-Dependent day was born on November 11, 2011. On the 11th of each month for a time frame of 24 hours people are being encouraged to refrain from their dependencies, and to join their programs, in an attempt at making the first step towards healing. Un-dependent is Independent became its slogan.

The organization is sponsoring a global meditation event on November 11th 2017 promoting world-wide healing and group meditation. This international day of healing is their first step towards inspiring people to come together and celebrate an addiction-free lifestyle. Nothing is more powerful and enticing than the power to gather together and generate amazing energy in the name of change. We all have dreams and dreams do require a lot of growing pains before they are being turned into reality.

Life is a test of faith and we are constantly being challenged in many different ways. We are affected at times by facts and calamities beyond our control and other times we make choices that impact us negatively. However, the moment we make a conscious decision to conquer all obstacle, declutter our lives from all redundant and negative elements and raise above fear, we are becoming Independent. And Independent can perhaps often revert to being Un-Dependent. And what a world of opportunities this shift can generate!

For more information on the organization, and how you can participate in their global day of meditation and healing, please visit their website, modelsagainstaddiction.org.

Originally published at medium.com