5 Minutes for Me Podcast with Dina La Fonte

Mountainside NYC Recovery Coach Dina La Fonte discussing the impact of trauma on addiction. Originally recorded by Five Minutes for Me Foundation, Dina delves into her personal story of childhood trauma, and how she was able to overcome her own addiction by focusing on meditation and her holistic well-being.


Hi, my name is Dina LaFonte, I work with Mountainside Treatment Center, and I’m a certified yoga 12-step recovery teacher as well as a vinyasa mediation specialist. In my field of work as a recovery coach, Five Minutes for Me is the foundation for alcoholics and addicts. It is the vital lifeline we need to do as soon as we wake up in the morning to establish a connection to ourselves. As a survivor of childhood trauma, I realize that we create these coping mechanisms, and that traumatized children learn how to self-soothe which oftentimes turns into some form of addiction.

We get the message early on that we need approval for self-authenticity, because we believe we’re not good enough. We spend our lives trying to prove that we are. This shows up as us being overly nice to people, as us not saying how we feel in fear of it not being acceptable to others. Perhaps we avoid conflict or fighting to be heard or understood. We might be hypervigilant or overanalyze, we don’t express healthy anger; when someone crosses our boundaries, we don’t know how to discuss or communicate them – perhaps we don’t even have boundaries and know what those are. It can show up as working too hard to prove that we’re worthwhile; we may be workaholics.

When we receive the message that we are insignificant, or we are abused or neglected, we spend our lives overcompensating – seeking this permission through the validation of others and external sources. This internalized stress can impact our immune system, our physiology, our cardiovascular system, or muscular system; it can create diseases, and these aren’t arbitrary or random diseases – they’re lives lived with the stresses of childhood trauma. It can affect our confidence and how we contribute any value of who we are in this world.

Finding personal permission, for me, meant sitting with myself, and while meditation may seem scary or too big, your Five Minutes for Me can be something very simple. If you sit with yourself however you are, you lightly close your eyes, you start to begin to notice your breath, without trying to change your breath, you just simply acknowledge it, you watch it, you feel it. You start to notice your shoulders droop away from your ears, the tension in your jaw relaxes, and you may notice thoughts just flooding in – what you could be doing, what you should be doing, what you need to be doing, what you wish you had been doing – and what I’ve learned is that as you allow these thoughts to just pass, and accept them, you start to allow the layers that cloud who you are, what you are, what you want to be, to come to the surface.

This simple step of just learning the art of presence allows you to investigate the art of your personal permission, and through that process, you get to redefine the limitations that have held you back – the negative thought processes that have made you overcompensate to an exhaustion. You continue to sit in this space, just seeing how you are in your own body, and what are the discomforts in your body, what has come up? What can be let go of? The simplest way to close this, is you can go into what’s called a child’s pose or simply lower your head below your heart towards your knees in that sitting position, and your hands can stay where they are, or you can place them palms up behind you, you can lower your knees to the ground. It’s an extremely soothing resting position to take, but in that same instance, your drawing all that energy inwards, so that when you do finally sit up and open your eyes, there’s a certain level of peace. That peace will bring about the next personal permission you can exercise. Thank you for spending this time with me.


To listen to the audio on the app, please click here.

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