Kayla Greenhalge joins us today on The SHAIR Podcast. Kayla is the Founder of Sober Mommy Blog on Recovery and Addiction. She has also had articles featured on addictionblog.org and thefix.com. Kayla is part of the destigmatization of addiction movement.
Kayla entered recovery on May 13, 2011. All of 2011 is what led up to this final try.
My mom got there by 11 pm. She brought me to Norwood Hospital and told me to tell them what I told her.. I SHOUTED to the intake lady “IF YOU DO NOT HELP ME I AM GOING TO KILL MYSELF.” This got me put into a ward of people in the ER that were on 24-hour watch. It was awful. There was a lady across the hall severely mentally Ill. Still, years later, I feel sorry for this woman.
I will never forget the look on my mother’s face when the toxicology reports came back. .34 blood alcohol level and every single drug was in my system (except for methamphetamines and bath salts). She was so horrified. She knew I had a problem but not to what extent.
They told us that crisis could not see me until my BAC was under .08, we were going to be here for a while. They gave me fluids to flush out my system and some meds to sleep. I told my mother she could leave; she didn’t.
24 hours later we were seen by crisis and a new life was about to begin, my mom wheeled me up until the doors locked behind me. Leaving me on one side and her on another. I cried, she cried. It hurt. But it was the first day of my new life.
Join us now as Kayla walks us through her journey into recovery…
Clean Date: May 13, 2011
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Omar: Kayla please take us into your normal daily routine including recovery.
Kayla: Sure, so I’m a mother of two, so I wake up very early in the morning and I do my normal morning routine. It’s pretty hectic with two kids. I work from home. I went to school for Engineering. Right now I’m working on emails and so I work for eight hours from home. I have a nanny here. After work, I usually take that time to either go for a run or if it’s … I’m in New England, so it’s really cold out. So I’ll either take that time to meditate or do some writing, or reading, or whatever I need to do to transition from my workday into being a mother again. Then I do the whole family thing at night and before I go to bed, I meditate again. I reflect on my day. I right any wrongs that I need to right at that time and then I hit the pillow.
Omar: Excellent. What does your recovery routine look like, as far as meetings and that kind of deal?
Kayla: I mean, I talk to my sponsor every single day. Meetings are kind of when I can get to them. Like I said, I have a full-time job, I have my writing, I’m doing a lot of outreach projects for in the addiction community, so a lot of my recovery is around going and meeting other recovering addicts and trying to make open forums for the communities. It’s a lot of community outreach with other addicts. Then usually once or maybe twice a week, I’ll get to a meeting and sometimes I’ll get to the whole thing, or I at least try to show my face, because they know that they can … If I need help, I can come to them. Then if they need help, they can come to me.
Omar: One of my questions is, how do you maintain your spiritual condition at conscious contact with a higher power? Is there something a little bit more expansive you want to go into as far as that conscious contact with a higher power?
Kayla: Yeah, sure, so I believe in meditation. I tried, in early recovery, I tried praying, kind of like everyone else did. I was trying to adapt their values and their way to connect with their higher power, and I had to step back and really realize that my higher power is different from other peoples’ and I think that’s the same with a lot of us. I have conversations with my higher power within my meditations. It’s almost like an open prayer. It’s kind of like a conversation. I try to listen for the message that my higher power is trying to give me during that meditation session, and I’ll ask questions. Then I’ll sit in silence and listen for the message. Usually, I’ll get it.
Omar: What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Kayla: I didn’t think I was an addict. I thought, I knew that alcohol was the problem, even though I was using more drugs than I was alcohol, but I really thought that I had a mental health issue, not an addiction issue. And really, I did have a mental health issue, but I didn’t see it as one and the same. I saw them as separate and so I would admit that I had a mental health issue, but I wouldn’t admit that I had an addiction issue. That kept me sick for a long time.
Omar: At what point did you have a spiritual awakening? That aha moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?
Kayla: I think it was probably my second or third meeting. I went with a friend of my father’s, so like I said, my father is an active alcoholic and he still is. So his way of supporting me in my recovery was sending me with his other alcoholic friends that went to AA. I went to this meeting and you know I saw? I saw that guy that I was in the psych ward with that was preaching to me from the AA Big Book. I was like, “This is where I am supposed to be.” You know what I mean? I went and I hugged him, and he was so glad that I was there. I didn’t even know where he was from. I just happened to show up at the same meeting as him, and I realized that I was in the right place, and that this is the place where I was going to find my healing.
Omar: That is a beautiful story. I love those. Those are amazing aha moments, because later on, it’s funny because I’ve had those, and at the time, I wouldn’t consider it a God shot, but I know years later looking back, I’m going, “Wow. God was just so right there, all over me.”
Kayla: I think back to that man all the time, because I really think that he was my higher power. He was sent by my higher power to intervene in my life, and if he hadn’t have, I wish I could remember the meeting I went to, but I was in that early recovery. You don’t remember much, but I think about him all the time. So if you’re listening, if you know who I am, please reach out to me.
Omar: Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer, that you read in early recovery?
Kayla: Well, I jumped right into the Big Book, like I said, but if it had to be a book that wasn’t … You know what I did? I read Adult Children of Alcoholics and I identified with that book, because I am an adult child of an alcoholic. There’s a section in there that’s adult children of alcoholics that are also either alcoholics or drug addicts, and really, anyone. If you come from an addictive home, or an alcoholic home, and you’re wondering where these traits came from, read that book. It’s amazing and it’s like it was written about your life. That really brought me closer to the program and closer to my recovery, because I understood a lot of what was going on.
Adult Children: Alcoholic / Dysfunctional Families – Narcotics Anonymous – Adult Children of Alcoholics World Health Organization
Omar: Beautiful, beautiful. I love it. Number four. What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Kayla: Fake it till you make it. I got my sponsor not too long after I got into the program and I was actually going to active meetings. Then you get three months and you can finally speak from the podium. I thought that I was … Everyone would always speak about this spiritual guidance that they had on their walk of recovery. I was like, “I don’t have that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I can’t speak like that.” My sponsor said, “Okay. Use these group of drunks and fake it until you make it. Talk to them. Act as if they could save your life.” And that’s what I did, and I faked it until I finally had that other aha moment of, “Oh, my goodness. There is a power greater than myself.” Then I could not fake it anymore. I actually did have my own higher power that wasn’t something that my sponsor told me to use.
Omar: Absolutely, absolutely. Beautiful, beautiful suggestion. Then finally, number five. If you could give our newcomers only one suggestion, what would that be?
Kayla: 90 meetings in 90 days, so people in the halls will get to … Try to get to at least one meeting a week that’s the same meeting. If you don’t show up to those meetings, those people are going to be like, “Where is this person?” You need to get your face out there, you need to. If you get to a meeting and you don’t like it, go find another meeting. You’re not always going to like every single meeting that you go to, but I promise, if you listen and you actually listen with an open mind, you’ll hear something.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEWCOMER
“90 meetings in 90 days.”
Omar: 90 meetings in 90 days, and if you’re not completely satisfied, we will gladly refund your misery.
Kayla: We will.
Omar: So, Kayla, what is the best way for our listeners to reach out to you and find you?
Kayla: They can either go to sobermommyblog.com or they can reach me on Facebook at facebook.com/kaylagrevenhalgeaddiction. I answer pretty quickly, because most of my work is on social media.
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.