The Mother Who Promotes Addiction Awareness Through Art
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The Mother Who Promotes Addiction Awareness Through Art


A new public art project called the Doors of Recovery offers a keen visual representation of the hope and redemption of sobriety for kids struggling with addiction.

The Door to Hope

In the exhibit, which features paintings and sculptures done on old doors, a shadowy painted figure is seen reaching up toward a radiating explosion of light. The door is a lovely visual representation of both addiction and recovery and will be on display throughout the month of July.

The goal of the artwork is to raise addiction and recovery awareness and to celebrate kids who are taking strides to put their lives back together, according to the project’s sponsor, an organization called Transforming Youth Recovery.

Stacie Mathewson and Sober Youth: A Brief History

TYR’s founder, philanthropist and entrepreneur Stacie Mathewson, first got involved in the addiction world in 2011, when she launched her own recovery-centered foundation, the Stacie Mathewson Foundation. The group is entirely dedicated to promoting addiction awareness, recovery, prevention and education at every level. Next she launched Transforming Youth Recovery in 2013, after losing her son, Timothy Joshua Montoya, to prescription drug addiction following various attempts at sobriety. Mathewson’s mission? To “transform youth recovery—one community, one school, one student at a time.”

Recovery in Reno and Beyond

And it has. Mathewson’s group has grown a lot, funding the first collegiate recovery pilot program at Reno’s University of Nevada. It’s also striving to fund 100 similar programs at other colleges. The Reno program now includes about 50 students and 12 core members; they range in age from 18 to 33 years old, and it doesn’t exclusively focus on hardcore addicts. It’s also open to students who choose, for whatever reasons, to live a sober life, offering support resources, AA and NA meetings, and eating disorder, grief and sexual-trauma support groups.

Of the collegiate recovery movement she’s gotten so involved with, Mathewson says, “I see nothing but rapid growth, partially due, unfortunately, to the prescription drug epidemic. There have been so many deaths, my son included, that we’re finally getting the attention of the government and the legislature and people in general to change policies and bring awareness to this disease.”

Growing through Understanding

Artists involved with the Mathewson’s latest Doors of Recovery art project found hope and strength in their work. “For me, it was a personal growth,” recalls one artist named Carol Foldvary-Anderson. “I went through transitions and changes just working on this as far as what I first submitted (for the project) and what it turned out being.” Her door features paint, molding and the image of butterflies, along with several mirrors.

What Mathewson most wishes the public would understand about young addicts? “That this is a disease and that the person who has it suffers more than anyone knows.” Hear hear.

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.