Meet Claudia Zehentmayr

Find out the best gift she’s ever received, which superpower she’d like to have and one thing she wished she’d known when she was younger.

How old are you? 21

Where do you live? Richardson, Texas (right outside of Dallas)

Who are you, and what do you do? I am a spirited, hardworking and passionate person in long-term recovery. Along with being a full-time student, I currently work at my university’s recovery center.

What is your relationship to addiction and recovery? I have been in recovery from an eating disorder and other mental health issues for more than six years. I also work very actively in the addiction and recovery community.

Where do you go to school, what are you studying and what year in school are you? I go to the University of Texas at Dallas and am studying psychology and neuroscience. I am a senior this year, so I will be graduating in spring 2019.

What is on your bookshelf? Series books and, as of late, the Refuge Recovery book What is a superpower you’d like to have? I would want to be able to fly to fulfill my travel bug until my heart’s content!

What’s something most people don’t know about you? I am actually a first-generation American. My family is originally from Austria.

What is on your bucket list? Travel, travel, travel!

What is one thing you are glad to have done but wouldn’t do it again? Compromise my beliefs or let someone have power over me to maintain a relationship. It was a hard lesson that I had to learn, but boundaries have changed my life.

What would you do if you won the lottery? Have a little fun, but mostly save for my family’s future.

What item in your closet do you wear the most? BLACK LEGGINGS!!

What actor would play you in a movie? Oh, gosh, I don’t know, Marisa Tomei?

Who is your ultimate dinner date? Any dinner with my amazing boyfriend, Miguel.

What brings you the greatest joy? Traveling and getting cuddles from my fluffy one-eyed kitty rescue named Gracie What is the best gift you’ve ever received? Love and support. Whether it be in childhood or times of early recovery or even today, I am so grateful for my family that never gave up on me and continue to love and support me while I carry out my dreams.

What are you proudest of? Working through defeat and maintaining recovery even in the most painful of times What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? That everything is impermanent. The phrase, ”This too shall pass” has definitely gotten me through some bad times. Another important lesson that sticks with me is that I have the power to choose who I want to be a part of my life. If someone is causing hostility in my life, I can choose to set a boundary there.

What is your favorite quote? “Doing what you like is freedom, but liking what you do is happiness.” — Anonymous

What is the best advice you’ve been given? I always thought that no one could ever love me if I didn’t love myself. My mother told me that I would find someone someday but to always guard my heart until I found that person to keep from getting hurt. Turns out she was right! Loving and being loved is helping me learn to love and be more accepting of myself.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger? I wish I knew that I didn’t have to believe what society tells me I should look like. Weight is just a number, and it does not define me. I think I would tell myself to embrace my body and feel confident in my choices.

What does your future hold? Once I graduate, I will be applying to graduate programs throughout the country to study and eventually work in the field of neuropsychology. Aside from my profession and academics, I look forward to seeing what building a life for my little family will look like.

Voices of Recovery captures the trials, tribulations and, most importantly, the joys of being in recovery. If you or someone you know is interested in being featured, please email

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