Sasha Tozzi is one of the amazing recovery warriors out there who has helped me, along with many others, along the way. She’s been a great influence and supporter to me with my Al Anon issues, as well as just being a friend and always there for me. We’ve talked on the phone and email frequently and each time I walk away feeling refreshed and renewed, because thats what its like when you connect with her. She’s such a force of love in the universe! I am excited to meet her FTF in May at the She Recovers conference and until then, I get to enjoy her interview on Relationships in Recovery and learn from her life lessons!
What was your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food before you got clean and sober?
Prior to choosing the clean life in late 2011, my relationship with alcohol, drugs, and food was totally love/hate, all-or-nothing, turbulent, unstable, and consuming. I was very cyclical with my substance use and abuse (including food) so on any given day, I was either being “good” or being “bad.” Bad looked like hard-core binge-drinking, partying, massive amounts of cocaine, eating whatever and as much of it as I wished (binge-eating), and chain-smoking cigarettes. Good looked like detoxing from alcohol and party drugs, restricting my caloric intake, and exercising every day to maintain a lean physique.
What is your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food today?
Now my relationship with these things looks vastly different. With the alcohol and drugs, I am 100% sober. But I do take psychiatric medications, as prescribed by doctor. I am completely nicotine-free. My relationship with food is more about moderation and the middle path/gray zone. I am all about intuitive eating and nourishment. I eat clean and mostly gluten and dairy free, while allowing myself about 20% room for error to steer away from black-and-white disordered eating patterns. I exercise (mostly yoga) to feel good & strong in my body, not as a form of punishment.
How were your relationships with your family before you got clean & sober?
Complicated before and still complicated now. I am a middle of 6 children and family dynamics in a large family, especially where there is addiction present, can really complicate things. I’m happy to report though, that my relationships with them (4 sisters, 1 brother, and my mom & dad) are all way healthier simply because I got healthier.
Regarding your prior romantic relationships – how did your addiction affect those?
I tended to pick romantic partners that were as sick as me– mostly very codependent and borderline toxic. My romantic interests also seemed to be addicted to substance in the same way I was, and then the two of us would become addicted to each other as well. I tended to put all my focus on the guy I was into or dating and make them my “higher power,” completely losing myself in the process and doing whatever he wanted, not ever usually asking for what I needed cause I didn’t know what my needs were.
What is your current relationship status today?
My current relationship status is single and “building an empire.” Just kidding, sorta. I have been single as long as I’ve been sober (5.5 years) and done a lot of deliciously self-centered work on me, myself, and I. What does Sasha want? What makes Sasha happy? The answers to these things took time, but I am clear on my life purpose and desires now. I am currently starting to date again, and it’s from a place of feeling already happy & whole and wanting someone else who is happy & whole to partner up with so we can inspire one another, not from that old place of having a self-love deficit and needing a man to love me because I didn’t love myself. I’m really big on respect and now that I have self-respect, I do not stand for men who don’t show me respect right off the bat.
How did you feel your relationships with friends and co-workers are now that you clean and sober?
Relationships with friends and colleagues and peers have gotten healthier as well. In sobriety I became aware of my very codependent and “alanonic” tendencies and have worked on them and continue to work on them daily. These days I tend to attract more balanced relationships where there is give and take and both parties take responsibility for themselves. Being sober, I’m very much in touch with my intuition and when a relationship or friendship doesn’t feel right or the energy feels off. I am much more present and able to give AND receive, instead of just give, give, give, until I burn out. Prior to sobriety, I could also be very dependent and needy on my friends (especially when I was out drinking, one of my friends would have to end up babysitting me), always wondering if they were mad at me. Now that I have higher self-esteem I don’t tend to feel that way much anymore, but sometimes if I’m going through a depression, those feelings can crop up again.
Do you have relationships with pets and if so, how has that helped with your recovery?
I don’t have any pets of my own but I notice that I am more drawn to them now that I am not cut off from my inner voice and no longer ruled by my own self-loathing. I’m so much more open. I did have a few cats with an ex before I got sober, but he kept them. I really loved those cats. I was always afraid of dogs and not much of a “dog person” and I don’t have my own, but I can appreciate their beauty today and also respect them as another living thing like me.
How is your relationship today with Society at Large? And What have you been able to contribute?
Oh wow, amazing questions Nance. So I realize now how interconnected we all are. I took a zen buddhism class in college and I am very attracted to the philosophy that we are all one. I believe that with my whole heart. And it didn’t occur to me before I got sober that I was contributing to the problem, versus the solution. Now I live in the solution and I try to pay it forward as much as possible. I believe in random acts of kindness and simply making eye contact and connecting with people I see throughout my day. I love making someone’s day. I love dealing hope. The message of recovery is infused in my veins and I feel that I am always carrying the message–with the words I speak, the actions I choose, etc. I also have a recovery coaching business, teach yoga for recovery, and blog regularly.
Sasha is a writer and lifestyle & recovery coach who helps people break their addictive, codependent, and self-sabotaging behavior patterns. She is a lover, a lioness, and a believer in magic & miracles. Get her 5 tools to quit your addictions here: http://www.sashaptozzi.com/optin/