Welcome to The (Not) Drinking Diary Series! I’ll be chatting to people on alcohol and on life; about their sobriety, mindful drinking and/or alcohol free period.
Sasha is a kindred spirit, a soul sister living on the other side of the world & I am forever grateful to the crazy beautiful internet for connecting us. She is a lifestyle & recovery coach and writer, and her answers are super honest, frank & totally inspiring. We’re hosting a 10 day #dailyselflove challenge on instagram to encourage ourselves – and everyone else – to make time for one (or more) act of self love every day – come & join us!
Name: Sasha Tozzi
Location: Washington, DC, USA
1.What led you to think differently about drinking?
I was 20 when my employer called my family about my cocaine use and my family staged an intervention. It was then that I went to 3 recovery meetings and concluded I was too young to have a “real” problem. I guess I thought it was just a phase. Or wished it was. I cut back on the cocaine but continued to binge-drinking.. Then at 26, I was so overflowing with shame about all the things my blackout drinking led to: unprotected sex, drunk driving, getting kicked out of places, belligerent and disrespectful behavior, etc., etc. that my therapist suggested I check out an AA meeting. So I did and eventually came to realize that drinking had no place in my life. It was causing so much pain and I had to get it out of my life.
How would you describe your relationship with alcohol now?
My relationship with alcohol now is that it’s mostly a non-issue. I don’t love to be around it because I see it as a poison, for pretty much everyone. I keep a safe distance from it and at 5+ years sober, I rarely ever crave the substance.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your approach to alcohol shifted?
Dealing with my anxiety in social situations. Alcohol was a huge help to me in terms of giving me “liquid courage,” as it is for many. It gave me the confidence I needed to do anything I wanted–things I simply could not do sober, like socialize and talk to men. I felt euphoric, almost manic, under the influence of alcohol. But when the effects wore off, I remembered I was just a small, scared girl with low self-esteem.
So sobriety for me has been this huge inside job of building self-esteem and self-confidence. To truly believe in myself, that I matter, and have the power to create my own big life despite what anyone thinks of me. Drinking kept me small. Without it, I have discovered my voice and I love it.
What lessons have you learnt about life (and yourself) since your relationship with alcohol has changed?
Oh gosh, where to start. I’ve learned so damn much, and continue to learn every single day I abstain from alcohol. And now I retain what I learn. 🙂 Once I quit drinking, I then realized I needed to quit smoking cigarettes. I smoked a pack-a-day. After that, I addressed my food & body image issues. And after that, I looked at my codependency pattern in relationships. I will say that quitting alcohol first was the catalyst for embarking upon this extraordinary journey of transforming into a more whole person.
I have learned to listen to my body and intuition because they are really smart. I have learned to give myself what I need and honour myself and my range of emotions. I learned how to say no to others so I could say yes to myself. I learned how to be grateful, how important it is to laugh in life, and how to be happy with what I have.
How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
I think morning routines are so crucial that I wrote an entire blog post on them. Read that here.
I like to punctuate my days with spiritual bookends: starting and ending the day with some kind of connection to source. Usually it’s quite simple and just involves a couple minutes of quiet before I start “doing.” A couple moments of reading my daily reader (I love Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie) and saying a short prayer of thanks to greet the day.
Do you have any rituals you always make time for?
Yoga (my soul medicine), epsom bubble baths (appointments with my body), daily readers (intellectual stimulation and grounding), a good hard floor cry (cleansing ritual.)
What’s your favourite thing to do (hangover free) at the weekend?
I’m such a homebody and you can find me ridiculously happy when social plans get cancelled so I can introvert my heart out on a Saturday night. My fave is just to frolic around my house in my pajamas and snuggle up with a ginormous comforter to watch a movie.
When it comes to your own personal development, what is one thing that you’re working on or learning right now?
Currently I’m working on building my meditation routine. I tend to skip days here and there, and I’m making every effort to make it another non-negotiable.
What is the one thing you’re obsessed with at the moment that’s making your life better?
Turmeric lattes. I started making them for my Mom who loves them and swears they help her joint pain. She was raving about the taste too, so I tried them myself and have incorporated them into my nightly ritual. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, they’ve been very healing for my skin issues (acne and psoriasis.)
And finally, thinking differently about alcohol can be challenging and isolating, is there any advice you turned to or do you have any words of wisdom for people reading this?
I would say to just follow your heart. You will be afraid but do it anyway. Don’t let the fear of being different and marching to your own beat stop you from doing what you know in your heart to be best for you. Push-back and challenges are to be expected. Just don’t give up.
“Courage, dear heart.” ~C.S. Lewis
Sasha in her own words: Lifestyle & recovery coach and writer. I believe in hope, healing, and daily miracles–beyond what is considered reasonable to most. I love the ocean and the oxford comma.