COUPLES THERAPY: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

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When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

Alexandra (right) and her girlfriend Orian after the cleanse

I was a bit nervous about telling my partner about the detox. We’d only been together five months, after meeting at a karaoke bar in Koreatown where I was instantly drawn to her off key rendition of “Stand By Your Man.”  Since then, we’d been falling in love over wine, croissants, late night snacks, drunken dancing…you know, the general dietary rule breaking that happens when you’re in a state of hormone induced euphoria. So deciding to put the brakes on the fun, so to speak, was a bold move. Especially seeing as we were moving in together a week later.

But I’ve always been one to take risks and do things in extremes, so I went with it. To my surprise, my girlfriend’s response was “I want to do it too.” This caught me very off guard because a) she’s more religious about her nightly cigarettes and wine and her morning coffee than her Jewish heritage, and b) I had been planning spending the week wearing mumus and listening to Enya while journaling, and never imagined doing it in front of my lover. Not to mention the idea of us both of being hungry/grumpy/gassy at the same time! Ew. I was hoping she’d be bringing me tea and holding down the emotional fort while I was the one being “transformed.”

Before the experiment

Okay, so what’s the big deal about a silly cleanse? Well THIS cleanse ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s a full on Ayurvedic experience, which includes rising with the sun, doing daily yoga, meditation and dream journaling, eating only two handful sized portions of vegan food at meal time, drinking your weight in greens, doing a three day juice fast, skin brushing, self oil massage, garlic liver flushes, kidney flushes, oil pulling, salt water colon cocktails. It’s basically its a full time job. But I did it last year and emerged glowing like a baby’s bum and happier than I’d felt in ages, so after this #$%^ing winter it was the medicine I needed. Plus with all the falling in love stuff (loads of white bread, recreational drugs…) I felt like I was in need of a full-on detox to get back on track.

What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional upheaval that occurred. Geez, not only had I stored up a few extra pounds this winter but also like, A LOT, of emotions. Four of my close friends also decided to do the cleanse and we were group texting about it all week. The word “meltdown” came up almost daily. Why were we all crying so much? Were we pms-ing? Nope. Were bad things happening? Not really, except not being able to eat. Shit just comes to the surface when you’re doing a detox, which I guess is why some people opt to take off work or go to a spa to do it. But alas, I’m not Lilo, so the closest I came was steaming up the bathroom and chilling in some epsom salts.

Couples cleansing: a balancing act

And of course, the meltdowns melted into my relationship. It began with me announcing I needed to be alone for the week and storming off in tears, and soon I was dividing the green powder and groceries in two as if I was the star in a reality show about cleansing. I also cried pretty much every day as I released fears about all the attempted relationships gone awry in the past year. And I’ve already gone to therapy and done a peyote ceremony to try and work through that shit.

But those past heartbreaks and insecurities came rushing to the surface with a vengeance with every organ flush I did. And all of a sudden my girlfriend was angry at me! I’d “taken away” her freedom and her ability to be herself (i.e. eat when she wanted to). She grew resentful of me as I asked her; “Did you read the cleanse booklet?” and reminded her “wait, you can’t drink out of the faucet!” As she was too embarrassed to admit she was having these feelings, she just got really cold and distant until I broke down and cried into my turmeric stained hands. (As an aside: she said she didn’t cry at all, but later admitted to sobbing while watching a film about low income housing in Israel. I mean…) It’s an emotional thing, this cleansing.

Very dark green juice

In the dark alone time while staring at my garlic olive oil slurpee, I found myself challenging and questioning everything about the relationship. Everything. No stone remained unturned. The cleanse had forced me to get REALLY real with myself, and now there was no turning back and nothing to hide behind. No robust red wines, no morning coffee in bed, no trips to the bakery on the corner holding hands like we were in some 1990’s rom com. No spontaneous nights getting stoned and laughing ‘til you pee your pants and pass out holding a bag of Doritos. None of that!

You’re just raw. Real. Without frill. Looking tired, feeling grumpy, stinking of garlic and coconut oil. And actually, an honest look at yourselves as individuals and as a couple is pretty much the best gift you can give your relationship. Detoxing together as a couple is hard, but worth it. You don’t have to cleanse your colons together or scrape each other’s tongues, but making a goal and seeing each other for who you are without all the other stuff is a risk that – hopefully – will only deepen your bond.

Here are some tips for doing a detox for couples and not fucking up your relationship:

  • If you’re fully addicted, the first few days without coffee are bad. You may get evil, so maybe take this time alone to yourself and try to start on a weekend when you can scream underwater or hide in a closet.
  • Do not micromanage your partner. If you know more about cleansing than them etc, it’s easy to say things like, “wait that apple’s not organic!” before snatching it out of their hand and throwing it across the room. Just don’t.
  • Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on each other. Ride the emotional ups and downs like a pro surfer and don’t do anything rash. Just breathe and imagine yourself in that exotic spa, staring at an extremely overpriced juice while gazing at a partial ocean view.
  • Resist the urge to send a photo text asking “does your poop look this green?” Just ask Google instead, please.

Alexandra Roxo is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She and her business partner Natalia Leite have a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff. See more here: Drinkpurplemilk.com

Their new web series Be Here Now-ish, which chronicles the spiritual pilgrimage of two girls’ from NY to LA , will be premiering April 10 on Beherenowish.com

Follow more from Alexandra and Orian @yogi_vegan_lez 

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