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Kayla Murphy, "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"

"I grew up in a small town in Northern Michigan (Maple City). I love basketball, the outdoors (hiking the dunes or pyramid point), reading and going to the beach. I have 3 siblings and we are all very close. My childhood was great. I was always provided with everything I needed; but this doesn’t mean there weren’t issues in the home. My parents are loving and supportive: always at games, took us on vacations, family dinner every night".

Kayla grew up always knowing she was different. "I was an active child, with a heart and mind of my own. I liked to learn things the hard way, no matter the consequences". She fell “in love” at 14 and life started to unravel slowly after that. She had her first sip of alcohol at the age of 13.

"My drinking was sporadic at this point and i had become accustomed to self-injurious behavior as a coping mechanism to “ease the pain." It was like nothing I had ever experienced before; I felt free".

Fast forward to her first year of college, she was drinking regularly. "Freshman year was a battle, grades wise. I had been arrested on 3 separate occasions (all due to drinking). Sophomore year I decided to transfer to an online university because not attending classes fit better with my drinking schedule". By this point, she wrecked 3 cars and had been to two different rehab facilities: "I still was not convinced I was an alcoholic".

She admitted herself to a 45 day program, completed it and immediately relocated to Delray Beach, Florida; thinking a change in location would be the solution. Shortly after she started drinking again,

"For a while it had become manageable, until it absolutely wasn’t any longer. I fell in love (again), relocated (again), and 11 months later, found myself in a psychiatric facility in south Florida. By this point, the only thing I had left was an empty bottle, empty heart and soulless body. I guess you could say this was my bottom. I knew I wanted a better life for myself; I finally had become afraid of death".

"Up until this point, I had convinced myself the only thing I was good at, was drinking and using drugs. I hurt many people throughout my journey. I damaged myself, my dreams, my family and friends. But I found a solution. And I did everything in my power to allow it to work for me. Pouring a drink was the only coping mechanism I had. Without it, I was left with some seriously screwed up brain chemistry that was almost entirely attributable to my alcohol consumption. I had no idea how to navigate in the world. I was caught in a place where the only thing keeping me alive was simultaneously killing me. It was an interesting internal battle. I was scared of facing life sober, but even more scared of drinking again and what would probably happen if I did. I went to 12 step meetings and grabbed for every ounce of strength and support I could from others until I was strong enough to stand on my own. I was paralyzed by situations that are forgotten now but were earth shattering then. I loved and I lost".

Today, she's out of the darkness.."I'm happier than I've ever been. The chronic anxiety and depression I suffered during my drinking life (and even before I started using alcohol to self-medicate) has become manageable. I have coping mechanisms that work. And that has become the acid test, the principle around which I construct my life: What's true is what works. I learned that to truly live life, I had to do it one day at a time. And I am constantly reminded of that lesson again and again as I get older, looking at those simple words “One day at a time” from new and amazing perspectives. I am grateful for those who have stood by me and supported me through my struggles. I live today because I have chosen to not take the first drink and to not take the first drug. The peace of mind I have found in sobriety is a self-evident truth, regardless of any attempt on my part to logically explain or disprove it. I go to AA meetings regularly and I am developing a spiritual consciousness because that works for me. It is my daily reprieve from an alcoholic death. Simple and miraculous as that". Kayla currently resides in Delray Beach and works at a prestigious treatment center as a counselor assistant. She graduated college with BS in may 2015. "I have a support system and a network of friends that I could never live without. My family is my whole world and our relationship is better than ever. It took a long time and a lot of work to repair the damage i had done. My true passion is helping others, giving back what was so graciously given too me. I can finally say that I am happy with myself, I can sit alone and know I'm comfortable. I have the ability to pursue my dreams in any capacity I want. My life is limitless. God willing, I will continue on this amazing journey of sobriety".

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