The Beauty Behind Actions- Writing Prompt 3

The Beauty Behind Actions

          Beauty is in the positive actions of those around us because when we act positively, wonderful

outcomes can arise out of negative situations. In the process of bettering my life, I have seen the beauty

in helping others. Although I have struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, and because I have stayed

motivated, I have been able to stay sober for two years and help others get better as well. Because of this,

the positivity in presentations such as Liv Gagne’s “My Personal Experience With Art” have stood out to

me. Beauty in the little things in life instead of the material objects, as talked about in John Armstrong’s

“La bella vita”, is important. I believe that today’s society puts a lot of stress on the beauty in

materialistic items and falls short to see where beauty truly lies, in the affirmative behavior of others.

          There was a time where I fell short in my idea of beauty. Drinking and drugging became my idol.

During the addiction I underwent, I grew vein and only saw beauty in the material world. I tried many

times to get sober but it never stuck until about two years ago. When I stepped into recovery, I was

finally able to see beauty. The beauty I began to see was in other people, the good they were doing, and in

the way that I, and so many others, was finally able to find hope in life. Part of that was seeing other

people come back from relapse and get better because it helped me and other people know that we are

not alone. Macklemore’s song “Starting Over” is a good example of this. He describes a relapse that he

went through and the humility he had when he came back. Macklemore sings “If I can be an example of

getting sober, I can be an example of starting over.”  Macklemore and Ryan Lewis- Starting Over

Macklemore gives others strength by creating a song about his relapse with such honesty.

          Beauty can be in the action of helping others. John Armstrong states “The point of beauty is to

elevate the soul.” In other words, Armstrong is saying that beauty is made to be experienced as a tool for

emotional growth. Today the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is used as a tool for growth. Helping

others is a huge part of this, as the twelfth step is to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to other

people who are suffering and to bring this work into our everyday lives. I am blessed to be able to

sponsor women in the program because I take them through all 12 steps. Once they complete these steps

they get to sponsor other women and I get to see many more recover. John Armstrong states, “Don’t get

worked up trying to figure out which things are beautiful”. He is talking about how it is okay that beauty

can be different from one person to another.

         Unfortunately, because everyone is allowed to have their own perception of beauty, many people in

society do not see the beauty in Alcoholics Anonymous because it does not fit their standard idea of

beauty. Many people see beauty in the entities that they or other people own. This looks like people

obsessing over new cars, jobs, clothes, shoes or jewelry. When we focus only on the objects in our

possession, we can judge other people for not having them. This leads to criticising those who may not fit

in with others ideas of normal. I have seen a multitude of people, in the news, television, and magazines,

condemn those in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous merely because they do not fit their standard.  

John Armstrong states “To regard beauty as an a luxury adornment or a social signifier was to miss the

true potential of the experience.” Armstrong is saying that when others view beauty as solely in the

material world, they overlook its real purpose.

          Beauty has two forms: the sense drive and the form drive. The sense drive is about living in the

moment and the form drive is about seeking understanding. In order to find something beautiful, we use

both drives. Armstrong states “When we recognise beauty in a piece of music, or the graciousness of

someone’s conduct, we see things that we know we have neglected or betrayed, and we feel an

astonishing combination of anguish and delight.” What Armstrong is saying is that when you see beauty

in the small things, like music or someone’s actions, you see what you can improve on and you also feel

warm inside. Much like in recovery, beauty has a balance. Seeing women and men fight against an ugly

addiction and find happiness and peace is beautiful. In recovery, knowing the struggles that people have

gone through and seeing them grow happier and become stronger individuals feeds both drives.

         beauty that I am blessed with is seeing others recover and being a part of their process of recovery

as a sponsor, and a staff member at a treatment facility. I am graced with the responsibility of working as

an on call recovery support staff at Liberty Bay Recovery Center. People come into Liberty Bay Recovery

Center depressed, lonely, and afraid. At the end of 90 days they graduate as a totally different person and

it is incredible. This process is not easy. Residents work with licensed clinicians to gain their life back

and become positive members of their communities. Although residents have good days and bad days,

just like everyone can, the results at the end of their 90 days can be amazing and that is the beauty of it


                   Liv Gagne talked about how art can help patients in the Boston Children’s Hospital to feel

better emotionally and sometimes even feel better physically. Liv Gagne states, “Around the world loved

ones are going to get sick, whether now or in the future, art can help ease their pain.” Liv points out how

art, a well known beauty, can be used in a beautiful way to help other people. At Liberty Bay Recovery

Center, and at many other treatment facilities, we also use art therapy as a technique to help the

residents feel better, and to teach healthy coping skills.

          Beauty in my life is not material objects; beauty in my life is the affirmative actions of others,

personal growth, and happiness, which I find in recovery. I find that Armstrong’s idea of beauty being

two forms that balance each other, mirrors my idea of beauty in that recovery has two sides to it. It is

also important to know the many forms that art and other aspects of helping others are beautiful as

shown in Liv Gagne’s presentation. Luckily, in my life, the most important thing is practicing helping

others, so I get to see beauty every day.

Work Cited

Armstrong, John. “La bella vita.” 14 Feb 2014. Web.

          25 April 2018.

Gagne, Olivia. “My Personal Experience With Art.” 10 March 2018.

Web. 25 April 2018.

Macklemore. Lewis, Ryan. “Starting Over.” 10 Dec 2013. Web. 25 April 2018.