Meet Our Founders
Michael Dadashi's Story
"As a young teen I started feeling a void in my life 'an unquenchable thirst', which I tried to fill with friends and popularity. This did not work for long and by time I was 15 years old, I discovered alcohol. I felt like I had found the solution to my emptiness, something to fill my void on demand. I quickly progressed to Oxycontin and then to Heroin because it was cheaper and easier to obtain. By this time, I knew I was addicted, but I could not stop. I was in and out of rehabs and hospitals, at one point nearly dying of a heart infection. During this 10-year period I was a tornado in my family's life. Eventually, drugs could no longer fill the void I was feeling, and my life flashed before my eyes. I threw in the towel and pursued sobriety with a vengeance. I completed yet another rehab and to the external world things looked great. But I knew it was only a façade, because I still felt a tremendous void in my life. I relapsed after 9 months, and my self-esteem had reached an all-time low.
Finally on July 20th, 2009, while high, I had this spiritual experience. The desire to use was lifted. All the years of lessons learned in treatment finally came together for me. I needed to honestly and wholeheartedly seek recovery with the desperation of a drowning man. I became obsessed with being of service to others. The spiritual awakening was finally realizing that my purpose was to share my story to help others. The façade was shattered! I didn't care what people thought of me. I could finally be present to the moment, be authentic and transparent.
My design for living is volunteering at local detox centers and hospitals, sharing my story. This is where the magic happens, when people connect heart to heart. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what your circumstances are: the heart is always the same; the human condition is the same. People constantly tell me, “Michael, you told my story. You have walked in my footsteps.” With service and sharing, I finally experienced the riches of the heart that you can't put a price tag on. And the more I give away, the more my heart fills up. I finally found a way to quench that seemingly unquenchable thirst, and now my darkest past has become my greatest asset." -Michael
Learn more at michaeldadashi.com
Ylianna Guerra's Story
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We’ve all heard this famous saying growing up, but I can tell you from experience whomever came up with that saying lied, because words do hurt. They hurt a lot. Trust me, I’ve been hurt by words many times. It’s called being bullied.
They say your high school years are the best years of you life, but that wasn’t the case for me. In fact, they were the worst years of my life and it’s because it was the first time I experienced extreme bullying.
The bullying culminated one day during my senior year when a classmate tried to run me down in the parking lot. The person who did this to me went on to post on Facebook, “Dear You, If I could’ve hit you this morning, I would’ve done it with a smile on my face. Sincerely, Me.” The incident went viral with many ‘friends’ siding with the bullies. I had to finally stand up for myself confronting my greatest fear.
The bullying ceased after that confrontation, but the previous months of harassment had left me feeling empty. My self-esteem had been damaged. I was hurting deep inside. That’s when I found pageantry, my outlet.
Three years later, I won the title of Miss Texas USA and competed at the 2015 Miss USA pageant, placing as 1st runner up to Miss USA. Throughout my year as Miss Texas I made it a priority to speak with girls about my difficult time in high school. I lost count of the times young girls approached me with tears in their eyes, telling me that they thought they were the ‘only ones’ that had been bullied. But my story doesn’t stop there.
Still to this day, people whom have never met me judge me online based solely on my appearance.
“She's pretty so she must be stupid…. She’s too fat, she’s too skinny…. I bet she’s full of herself…. I bet she’s a snob.” The list goes on.
Luckily for me this isn’t my first rodeo. Overcoming the bullying in high school taught me I need to focus on my inner strength. Simply put it means I learned to be comfortable in my own skin. I realized I couldn’t control what others think, or say about me, I can only control how I feel about myself. I learned to love myself, flaws included. And I learned I wasn’t alone. This made me stronger, more confident, and humble.
I believe that we all share some of the same fears and insecurities. Sharing our stories and being vulnerable can help others to find a different path, seek truth, hope and inspiration. I believe in the power of the human story, and that’s why I believe in what we’re doing at HeartWater.
Learn more at yliannaguerradadashi.com