I get most of my healing through the ocean these days, but grew up in Northern Arizona and used the desert canyons and mountains as healing from a very young age. ED's been around since I was about 10. I have a history of trauma that started really early on and I’m not sure exactly when or why I decided that ED would help me coupe with these feelings, but for a long time ED was my safety net...

I’ve always had a special connection with nature, and I remember running for hours into the desert flats chasing the monsoons, like being drenched by the late summer rains would somehow cleanse my soul. I was anorexic in high school, trying to hide under a false guise of being vegan. I have always been very active, and my disorder started to limit me in activities, especially long distance running, so as a coping mechanism I naturally turned to alcohol. I was an easy target for alcoholism, especially since it runs in my family. After losing touch with everyone that I cared for and loved, I started to run and distance myself even more. In my early twenties I spent a good 5 years "park hopping"; taking seasonal jobs in national parks all over the U.S. during the summer, and ski resorts in the winter. Then in between I would squeeze in international backpacking trips. During this time alcohol and being alone in the wilderness was the ONLY thing that seemed to help me feel at ease. Every time I was out in nature, it gave me just a little more courage to look at the deeper problem. The thing was I was always moving, and just thought that if I experienced more that I would feel whole again at some point. I was lonely, and lost, and trying to connect with the soul of the girl I once knew. Enter Bulimia. Then I began yoyo-ing heavily between purging and restricting. I knew how bad I was hurting my body but was too afraid to stop or get help. I couldn't stop, I really felt like I had no other choice. What would happen to me if I did? The next 3 years were a downward spiral of ED taking over my life and heavy alcoholism. These for me have always gone hand in hand. They became the only part of myself I knew anymore....


In 2013 I moved from Flagstaff, AZ (where I was trying to go back to college and failing miserably) to Carlsbad, CA in San Diego. I was hoping that being next to the ocean would help me get outside more and put a stop the madness and spinning that was going on in my head. My life had reduced to locking myself in my apartment, only leaving to walk to the grocery store to get another bottle of vodka.  It took another 2 years to finally ask for help. In May of 2015 enough was enough, I couldn't bare it anymore. It was either get help or die. I had hit my bottom. With the loving support of my boyfriend (now husband), I got sober. It wasn't easy, but every uphill battle has been worth it, and has offered me a completely new view on life. The hardest climbs have the best views! Only through getting sober was I able to face my darker demon, ED. After a year of sobriety, I entered willingly into an eating disorder treatment center in Carlsbad. It was intensive. I spent 6 months face to face with the thing I feared most. I had a full support staff, and wonderful women all going through the same thing to help me and cheer me on. Slowly that fear melted and it was replaced with hope. The women I met there have helped me forever change my life, and the way I see myself.


Today, I have a relationship with myself again. I love who I am, and no longer wish to shut the door on my past, but embrace it as a part of my journey. I'm 2 1/2 years sober! I am following my dreams of becoming a veterinarian. I surf almost daily. I get to take trips to places like Belize and scuba dive with my mentor DVM. I car camp down in Baja with my husband and surf some of the most beautiful and secluded waves. I feel most at home in the water, maybe because it’s so unknow? Like the ocean, there will always be parts of myself to discover. The power of the ocean, the reliability of the changing tides, and the possibilities for adventure bring me hope and courage. In the early mornings it quiets my mind and constantly heals my heart. When I look at the ocean I know that there is more to life, there is meaning. I still love getting into the mountains too. I'm a weekend warrior and go camping and backpacking frequently in the Sierra's. I'm planning a thru-hike of the High Sierra Route or the Bigfoot Trail next summer and I know I will be successful because I see ED for who he truly is, and instead of being fearful, I’m much more loving to that part of me. It's about me and my life now. And I'm living it peacefully these days. I show up and do the work daily to stay in recovery. Recovery is work! I didn’t just wake up one day and was magically healed! I have to be persistent. For me that is through helping others, community, connection, and 100% honesty with myself. It takes courage to get help. But now I know, I never have to be alone again. 

Story from Alessandra Hurt