Bryan Bixler, M.S.
Chief Program Officer
Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
~ Pema Chödrön
Bryan began his career as an academically successful scientist in the field of conservation ecology and sustainable development. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in biology and was recruited to a prestigious masters program at the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia. His work led to various projects ranging from the reintroduction of bison onto the great plains of Oklahoma to the study of a rare species of ant in the understory of a Costa Rican tropical rainforest.
However, as fate would have it, his true journey began in his mid twenties when he developed a serious eating disorder, which would nearly take his life. Through his fifteen-year battle with and recovery from anorexia, which ultimately made national headlines when he appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, Bryan received an education far different from anything he had ever received during his time at university. Bryan’s unexpected path brought lessons in compassion, humility and a natural connection with others who struggled with the same darkness he now knows freedom from. Through this connection born of shared experience, his passion to work in the recovery field was born. For the last several years he has served as a consultant, recovery coach and a trained interventionist for individuals, families and loved ones affected by eating disorders and addiction. He has been active in public outreach, has participated in speaking engagements and has been a repeat guest on the Dr. Oz Show. It is his passion, his mission and his desire that, by sharing his experience, he may instill in others a sense of hope, even when the prospect of recovery seems hopeless.
In addition to his current work at Hotel California by the Sea, Bryan is working on a book relating his personal journey towards recovery. In his free time he stays connected with his ecologist roots by playing beach volleyball and cherishing each and every sunset. He is a ruthless Scrabble adversary and dreams of one day owning a Tesla.