Relationships in Recovery; an Interview with Tamara Roth, Ph.D.

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Relationships in Recovery; an Interview with Tamara Roth, Ph.D.

Tamara Roth is someone who has written guest posts for Last Call and someone who I admire as a leader in the recovery community.  She is the Clinical Director of women’s programming at JourneyPure’s Tennessee treatment center JourneyPure At The River.  Tamara has a great way of looking at things from a clinical, as well as personal level standpoint and her Interview reflects that.

Relationships in Recovery:

  1. What was your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food before you got clean and sober?

I had a love/hate relationship with alcohol.  It was like being in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend who would come back around with flowers and sweet sentiments the day after an altercation.  I couldn’t imagine living life without alcohol and I also knew I couldn’t continue living with it because it was going to kill me.  It triggered my deepest fears, shame and depression.  It also provided me with great relief (albeit temporarily) which is why I kept returning to it day after day.  Thinking of giving it up was the most terrifying thing I ever did.

 I also had a tenuous relationship with food.  I constantly obsessed about it.  I was always planning what I would eat and trying to control caloric intake and balancing it out with the right amount of exercise.  Sometimes I would “mess up” and eat too much, not meeting my self imposed eating guidelines and the shame and guilt would set in.

  • What is your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food today?

Today there is no relationship with alcohol.  I simply have no interest or need for it.  I’m not tempted by it and I have no desire for it.  I have found many other ways that give me all I craved with alcohol (connection, warmth, ability to let go, be creative, spontaneous and free).

Food is now a nurturing aspect of my life.  I no longer crave it or monitor my intake.  I eat healthy, colorful whole foods and listen to my body and know when I’m full and I stop.  It no longer feels like I’m trying to fill a void within.  I’ve found what I’m really hungry for in life.

  1. How were your relationships with your family before you got clean &sober?

They did not have healthy boundaries, I was closed off emotionally and would drink to tolerate the feelings that were evoked in interactions when boundaries were crossed.

  • How are those relationships today?

Today, some of the relationships are much better, more open, honest and sincere.  Others ended.  Actually, many ended due to my need to set boundaries and live a life of honesty.

  1. Regarding your prior romantic relationships – how did your addiction affect those?

I was insecure in my marriage and constantly needing reassurance.  I also hid my addiction to the best of my ability.   I wasn’t fully showing up and being honest in the relationship.  There was a buffer between me and my partner.  We could never truly connect due to my strong relationship with alcohol.

  1. What is your current relationship status today?

I’m miraculously still married! 

  • How has this changed since being sober?

It is phenomenal and beyond my wildest dreams.  I feel confident and independent on my own.  I don’t rely on him for my self-worth which takes a lot of pressure and burden off him.  We are both much happier with our relationship with me now having a life of recovery which has brought so much self worth.

  1. How do you feel your relationships with friends and co-workers are now that you are clean and sober?

Most of my friends have changed over the eight years that I have been in recovery.  The “drinking friends” self selected out.  And now I tend to be drawn to friends who are very present and aware.  We enjoy deeply satisfying conversation and activities together.  I typically don’t engage in activities that involve alcohol.  I have found that I’m a highly sensitive person and just being around people who are drinking or drunk affects me energetically.  I choose friends who desire to be present and awake.

  1. Do you have relationships with pets and if so, how has that helped with your recovery?

Yes, my dogs have always been a wonderful comfort by providing unconditional love.  I have also gotten much more involved in nature and animals since becoming sober.  My allergy to cats went away and I’ve also begun working with horses.  I feel a deeper connection to sentient beings than when in active addiction.

  1. How is your relationship today with Society at Large?

I’m more involved in some ways (especially the recovery community).  I love working to inspire and empower women.  I’m less involved in ways that I find affect me harshly.  i.e. I am not involved in political or activist organizations due to how it makes me feel afterward.

  • What have you been able to contribute?

 I’ve written two books on my recovery process. 

I started a women’s meditation recovery group. 

I facilitate women’s retreats and offer partial scholarships to women in recovery.


Tamara Roth, Ph.D is Clinical Director of women’s programming at JourneyPure’s Tennessee treatment center JourneyPure At The River , and an accomplished author of “High Bottom – Letting Go of Vodka and Chardonnay.” Dr. Roth is a licensed professional counselor with two master’s degrees from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in metaphysics from The American Institute of Holistic Theology. She is a trained neurofeedback provider, EMDR therapist, and has extensive training in dreamwork.


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