Alsana Staff Spotlight Series: Lexi Cleverly
Lexi Cleverly has been a direct care counselor at Alsana Stella, the PHP/IOP program in Westlake Village, California since 2018. She is one of Stella’s relational ambassadors and works with clients individually and in groups. Lexi works for Alsana because she believes in the guiding principles, our unique approach to recovery, and the incorporation of spirituality and movement in the Adaptive Care Model. She is grateful to work in a place where she can help people find recovery and the peace that can come with it. Lexi is adored by clients and coworkers alike and we think you’ll see why as you read her spotlight!
Where is your favorite place on earth?
I have a few favorite places on earth, one of them being Disneyland. I love, love, love the instantaneous magic you feel upon entering the park. I have a lot of happy family memories at Disneyland that are very meaningful to me. I never get sick of it, and I discover something new at the park every time I go.
What’s your favorite hobby?
I don’t think I can pick one favorite hobby, I have a few… I love to learn and enjoy reading educational books, as well as fiction. I also really enjoy several different art-related hobbies, mostly photography and crafting. Traveling is also a favorite of mine. If I’m not on an adventure, I’m planning my next one! Recently my husband and I took a trip to Minnesota to see the Mall of America, and this fall we are headed to the Bahamas!
How do you keep yourself occupied on a long flight?
This is probably my quirkiest talent…I always fall asleep on airplanes. I don’t know why, but as soon as I get settled into my seat, my eyes get really heavy and I’m out until we land! There have been a few times when I haven’t been able to fall asleep, and I go crazy trying to entertain myself!
Do you have any pets?
Yes! I have a 3-year-old Yorkie, named Teddy. He is the cuddliest, sweetest little guy! He loves going on walks and driving around in the car. He’s a pretty cute adventure buddy.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
I would tell my 13-year-old self that Uggs and a miniskirt are really not that cute together!
Then would come the inspirational stuff: You just being you is absolutely enough. Trying to impress everyone with perfect grades, a perfect attitude, and a willingness to do anything for everybody is not how you build genuine relationships. Being yourself, and letting others see you as you are is the key to being accepted. Those who accept you are the ones worth fighting your insecurities for.
How do you help individuals with eating disorders?
I believe that kindness and compassion go a long way. Even to those who feel they don’t deserve it. I try to treat each client as I would hope my family members were being treated if they were in a treatment program. I also help clients to look at their spirituality from a different perspective and show them how to incorporate their spirituality into their recovery. I love learning about my clients’ differing beliefs and watching how when they embrace their beliefs their healthy selves become significantly stronger.
What do you specialize in?
I specialize in helping clients identify their spiritual beliefs. We all believe in something, and there is no bad or good belief. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want to believe. Recognizing our beliefs, and standing by them with confidence, gives individuals a type of strength that can’t be found anywhere else.
What do you believe is the most common motivator for healing?
Freedom. It is possible to live a life where food doesn’t hold power over you. Everyone’s freedom looks different. Some want the freedom to be able to travel the world without the burden of an eating disorder, some want to be able to be a present parent and not be distracted by their eating disorder, and some consider freedom to be living their daily life without the constant pressure of an eating disorder. Whatever freedom looks like to each individual, I have found it to be the most common motivator for recovery.
What’s the hardest part about recovery?
What isn’t hard about recovery?! Recovery can be scary and intimidating. It’s change, and any type of change can induce a sense of fear. I have found that once clients learn to trust the process and become more confident making recovery minded choices, they are able to weather the ups and downs recovery brings better than when they first started.
What words of hope/encouragement would you give someone with an eating disorder?
I would gently remind them they are not alone and offer resources I have to help them. It doesn’t get easier, but you get stronger and your healthy self becomes louder. With work and persistence recovery is possible. There are people who want and are willing to help you. The hardest part is speaking up and asking for help.
What do you think is the worst part of living with an eating disorder?
The shame. It’s awful. It breaks my heart every time, even though I’ve heard it a thousand times. Living with constant embarrassment, fear, and guilt is a heavy, heavy burden to bear. It makes me so sad to hear clients who think they deserve it because they have lived their life with the eating disorder. No one deserves to live that way, especially our clients! That’s part of why I come to work every day—to help our clients see there is life outside of the shame they constantly feel.
What should clients expect at Alsana?
A warm environment, compassionate staff, and an opportunity unlike any other that aids you in discovering who you are outside of the eating disorder.
What do you look forward to at work?
I look forward to seeing my co-workers at Stella every day. I really love our team and the friendships we have created. (Not that I am biased or anything, ha!) I have seen our team work miracles for our clients, and I feel honored to be part of such a hardworking collaboration!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Offering individual relational sessions. I am able to work with clients one on one and help them on their spiritual journey. We are able to talk about what their beliefs are, and how their beliefs hinder and aid their recovery. It’s been amazing to witness our clients finding who they are spiritually and then using their beliefs to propel themselves into their recovery minded selves.
What three words would you use to describe treatment at Alsana?
Spiritual, individualized, compassionate
What could someone do to make you feel really appreciated?
My two top love languages are gifts and words of affirmation. My cute co-workers surprise me with flowers or my favorite drink from time to time to remind me that my work is appreciated. Small gestures like that fill up my love bucket and help me remember that the work I do for Alsana is appreciated.
“Let your light shine” is a foundational principle of Alsana’s culture. We expect employees to come as they are and bring their whole selves to work, just as we want our clients to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves—exactly as they are—to their eating disorder treatment.
Alsana’s staff spotlight series highlights the way our employees let their light shine and the unique attributes only they can add to our clients’ recovery experience.