Sasha is one of my CLOSEST sober tribe members whom I met via the Internet, natch. Through our digital recovery vessels, we connected, and thank goodness for that. We LITERALLY have a full photo gallery of time spent together and you best believe there'll be more - we're both members of the official sober blogger team for She Recovers in NYC! T-minus 9 days!
Name: Sasha Tozzi
Location: Washington, DC
Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 9/02/2011
Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Writer & entrepreneur
If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice):
Alcohol, cocaine, food, men
In a nutshell, I stopped shaming and I started healing. I understood that I didn’t choose addiction, but I could choose recovery. I was suffocating in shame at the start, and still probably have some residue almost 6 years later. But in September of 2011, I half-heartedly decided to quit drinking at my therapists gentle suggestion, and from that was divinely led to so many more transformations. But I first had to get alcohol & illicit drugs out of the picture. Three months later, I quit my pack-a-day nicotine habit. That was a tough one. I had no idea how much cigarettes were helping me avoid my life. After that came facing my destructive relationship with food, my mood disorder, and then my very strong tendency to be codependent with others--essentially losing myself in their chaos. All of these things revealed themselves the longer I stayed awake on the path. I wouldn't take back a single thing. Because I have access to joy today, so much joy. And it's spectacular. And I'm pretty sure it feels as amazing as it does because I've been to hell a few times.
^ Pictorial evidence of friendship between Sasha and yours truly (along with other recovery rockstars like Cristina Ferri of Sober Unicorn, Maggie Shores of Sober Courage, and Mark Goodson of Miracle of the Mundane).
Top 5 Recovery Tools
1. My daily routine includes my "spiritual bookends," a.k.a how I start and end my day. I do my daily readers every morning along with some prayer & setting an intention for the day. At night, I take a moment to give thanks. These spiritual bookends give structure to my day.
2. Exercise or some form of movement. I take a lot of walks outside to commune with nature and I also practice yoga. It is the best way for me to keep my head on straight and move through negative energy. Yoga helps me get out of my head and into my body so I see it as a therapeutic tool, or medicine for my soul. It has been especially beneficial in helping to change my eating habits and heal my body image issues. Without it, my recovery would not be nearly as strong.
3. Having a food plan. Because disordered eating is part of my story, I do well with sticking to a regular food plan with room for leeway so I don't get all-or-nothing about it. For ex., I mostly keep gluten & dairy free but I made exceptions so as not to deprive myself, so it's more of an 80/20. I get hangry pretty quickly and then my mood is like a cranky toddler's so making sure I get 3 meals a day that are protein-filled and nutritious is absolutely essential to my recovery, and for the well-being of those around me ;)
4. Support system/care team. Connection is super duper important in recovery, because my addictions and mental health issues were incredibly isolating. I am part of many communities including 12-step and my yoga family and I stay as plugged in as possible to my friends and fellows. I also have a sponsor, a coach, and a team of medical professionals that I consult with regularly.
5. Stillness/Mindfulness/Meditation/Breathing. The 12-step meetings I attend are mostly meditation-based and I go to spirituality workshops and silent retreats to enhance my relationship to myself. My relationship to myself sets the stage for all my other relationships. I've learned how to meditate, even though I'm still not that "good" at it--I've learned that's not actually the point. Being able to sit still without ruminating or planning a to-do list, and just be, is wonderful. I've learned how to belly breathe and be present in the moment I'm in. The benefits of all these practices are numerous and essentially are the opposite of addict behavior.