In my humble opinion, this woman needs no introduction. She (and The Unruffled Podcast partner Sondra Primeaux) are changing the face of what it means to be a sober creative — and that art and recovery are not mutually exclusive, much like Adriana Marchione, our last RePro. I had the pleasure of meeting Tammi at She Recovers in NYC and then again at She Recovers in LA, when I got to take her gratitude art workshop (along with beautiful soul Shelley Richanbach, who led us in a full body gratitude scan). I am inspired by Tammi on a daily basis and my hope is twofold: 1) that I will get to spend some true, quality time with her one day and soak up her art and gratitude and beauty in person, and 2) that you, dear reader, find something in Tammi that resonates with you. It’s my true honor to present Tammi Salas to The Sobriety Collective.
Name: Tammi Salas
Location: Valley Ford, CA (NorCal)
Recovery date: 2/03/2015
Art, writing, podcasting, late bloomer + college student majoring in art at my age!
If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Recovery story in a nutshell:
On February 3, 2015, I had my yearly physical scheduled with my general practitioner. January had been filled with a lot of contemplation about how miserable I was in my life. I had a physical bottom with booze the week after Christmas in 2014, so I spent a lot of time examining why I felt the way I did. When I was sitting in my doctor’s waiting room, filling out the general medical intake form, I paused at the question How many alcoholic drinks do you have in a week? I thought about lying, like I usually did on the form, but something inside of me wanted to tell the truth, the whole truth. I put 21 down on the intake form and handed it back to the receptionist before I could change my mind.
My doctor seemed surprised by this new information provided, but asked good questions about what I drank (bourbon) and looked up what bourbon was made of (corn) and told me all of that corn was turning to sugar and most likely contributing to a lot of my health issues (cystic acne, weight gain, etc.). She nonchalantly asked me if I would consider going on an elimination diet and removing alcohol first. Now, I love a challenge, so I immediately said yes. She reiterated that I would need to eliminate alcohol for 8 weeks and was I sure that I could do that. The bait was taken and I was all in to eliminate alcohol, gluten, sugar and dairy.
The funny thing is that even though I thought I was telling the truth on that medical intake form, it wasn’t the whole truth. In actuality and with hindsight, I was really drinking 42 drinks a week because I drank three double manhattans every single night towards the end of my drinking. I feel like it’s important to tell you this because when I was drinking the truth was fluid and bendable. Once I got sober, I realized I had a long way to go in the truth-telling department. This would be my first start.
In sobriety, I started sharing my creative work on Instagram. I was approached to create illustrations for Holly of Hip Sobriety and we collaborated on The Mantra Project: 40 Days of Sobriety email course. I pitched myself to write a column for the Recovery Revolution about how I navigated the 12 steps of AA and it’s called Crossing The Room. I got a little braver with each project.
Last year I launched The Unruffled Podcast with my co-host, Sondra Primeaux, and we talk about where art and creativity intersect with our sobriety and recovery from alcohol. I also released a softcover book called My Daily Gratitude Practice: How I Got Started + Found My Visual Voice. I also sell original paintings from my 2018 gallery show called The Geographic. Those can be found in my shop on my website.