Rachel was around 4 years old when she first used a substance. “I felt like God touched me,” she describes. “That I was suddenly lovable, beautiful, cute. I felt good.” 

Her childhood home was chaotic and traumatic, and this was a way to escape. By the age of 13, she was using meth on a daily basis. 

Throughout her teenage years, Rachel rotated through a number of foster homes. One foster family left a lasting impact; they showed her the power of something new: unconditional love with firm boundaries. 

Making moves in recovery

In time, she found something similar—“that unconditional love”—in 12-step programs as she entered recovery. With support, she developed a better understanding of addiction and began to see the “possibility of going through a day without being high.” 

Rachel graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in dance and theater arts, and then completed a Master’s program in counseling.

“Moving my body was a huge growth point for me,” she says. “And it’s part of the reason that I do the specific work that I do around body-centered wellness.” Today, Rachel is a licensed marriage and family therapist and runs her own business, offering group exercise classes and other neurosomatic services.

Living with a sense of awe

Through her work, she supports some of Mendocino County’s most vulnerable community members, including children who are experiencing grief and trauma like she did. It is personally powerful and moving work for her. “I still am in awe that this is what I get to do,” she says.

Rachel is now marking 27 years in recovery. She does not take it for granted: her comfortable home, her growing children, and the safety of their life together. There are moments, she explains, when she pauses in her kitchen window and stares in awe at her own backyard. “I’m struck with disbelief that this is the life I get to live,” she says “I am not my addiction. We can overcome addiction together.”

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