Ashes to Beauty – How Pain Can Pave the Future

Sierra by the Sea’s drug and alcohol addiction treatment for women is rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier life without addiction.

In my past I haven’t dealt very well with pain- few of us do. Some mask their pain with achievement, intellect, wealth and relationships. Others choose alcohol and drugs – mine isn’t quite as glamorous. The way I masked my pain was through food. Whether it was the lack of it or the consumption of it, an eating disorder consumed my life for many years acting as a protective barrier between my pain and my mind. While I counted calories and researched a new diet plan I had very little time to recall the pain of trauma, rejection and heartbreak. The problem is that pain is like a weed. Unless you pull it out from the root it will continue to multiply. At 24, I had cultivated a field of weeds that had erupted into a massive fire.  I walked into a therapist office and asked for help. There the pain of my past started to pave my future.

“The truth shall set you free.” It’s one of my favorite quotes because it truly works. As I started to talk about the pain over one small thing it allowed me to unveil another and then another. When I started to see my wounds I became able to feel them and it wasn’t pretty (we’re talking mascara everywhere.) The beautiful thing is that as I sifted through the rubble of my pain I was able to prevent many of these events from recurring in the future. Not solely in my own, but the future of many others.

The ashes of my past have become the foundation of a non-profit I have founded, Rewrite Beautiful. Rewrite Beautiful creatively changes how girls see beauty in themselves for eating disorder prevention through education. We go into schools and educate students about the harms of eating disorders and teach them a creative alternative to how they see beauty. Through this program I have watched many girls crumble to tears in front of me. I remind them, whatever your pain is you have an opportunity to build something beautiful from it. I am not the only woman who has done this, The Ken Carlson Foundation, Kind Campaign, Wonderfully Made and millions of mentors and volunteers who serve everyday are evidence of people who have been hurt and now prevent their pain from happening to others. Start pulling the weeds of your past out and cultivate a beautiful new forest – not just for you, but for the many people in years to come.

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– - Anonymous