“I’ve learned to be honest. I lied for so long in my life. But this time around I’ve learned to be completely transparent. It has helped my recovery process to be more authentic and connected,” Kaylee B. explains.
A lifetime Los Angeles native, Kaylee, and her younger brother grew up the children of an addict mother and an absent father. “We bounced around in the foster care system as children and lived in some pretty dismal conditions,” she shares. But things changed significantly for her and her brother when her mother found Beit T’Shuvah and entered the program seeking sobriety and salvation. As a result of her time at BTS, Kaylee’s mom was able to get sober and learned the skills of becoming a better mother and provider for her young children.
But while her mother had returned and her home situation had improved, Kaylee still found the challenges of adolescence and school complex and challenging. A self-proclaimed “average student”, Kaylee also had begun smoking weed by the age of twelve. And by the age of sixteen, she had graduated to heroin and had dropped out of school by her senior year. However, determined to not fall prey to the same demons that had plagued her mother, at nineteen she too reached out to Beit T’Shuvah and was accepted into the program.
As a result, she was able to enroll in adult school and receive her high school diploma. And as she puts it, “I eventually got hired as a P.F. (Program Facilitator) and was then promoted to P.F. Supervisor and eventually Psychiatry Coordinator for the Med Room.” On top of all of that responsibility, she also managed to enroll in West Los Angeles College and found an unexpected passion in the form of weight training and working out in the BTS gym. Life had turned around dramatically for the still young Kaylee, but as with many who find sobriety for the first time, she relapsed after four years of being clean.
As she recalls, “I relapsed over depression. I felt like I had no purpose and my life wasn’t going anywhere.” This time instead of weed or heroin, Kaylee was introduced to Ketamine. Over the next six months, she used a combination of Ketamine and alcohol to party away and detach from a world with which she felt very little connection. “I also felt like I had missed out on my youth in a lot of ways. I didn’t get to go to school and party with friends. So this was my rebellion if you will,” she relates. However, after six months of getting high and “wasted,” the drugs stopped “working” and she fell back to her old familiar vice of heroin. But after a week-long run, she knew the madness had to end and reached out to David B. at BTS to see if she could return and try to reconnect with her sobriety and healing journey.
So in September of 2021, Kaylee returned to BTS determined, as she mentioned earlier, to approach her recovery more honestly and transparently than her first time around. As part of that “new approach”, she once again hit the gym hard and with the help of fellow “Shuvite” warriors like Ryan N., Kaylee not only began to reshape her body but she also began to reimagine a new future calling. As she explains, “I enrolled in the class to pursue my Personal Training Certification. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done and I’m so proud of myself for getting through it and receiving my certification.” Along with committing to her future work life, Kaylee has also buckled down and fervently recommitted herself to her addiction recovery. “I’ve been much more involved in my program this time at BTS. I’m more present with my treatment team and I’m up to step nine in my A.A. process as well,” she proudly shares.
But it’s not all work and no play. As she also says, “I have a solid foundation of friends surrounding me now. We love each other. We celebrate our wins together and help each other through the downtimes that inevitably come our way.” This past March she also completed the L.A. Half Marathon as a member of the BTS Marathon Team. And in just a little over a week from now, she’ll be climbing Mt. Whitney as a member of the Beit T’Shuvah Summit Program. As if her schedule wasn’t busy enough, Kaylee is also an intern for the BTS Mind and Body Program. As part of her duties, she helps organize surfing excursions, along with hikes and fun beach days for the staff and residents.
“It’s pretty much anything outdoors and fun at BTS and I love it,” she exclaims with a big smile. Still so young and with a very bright future ahead of her Kaylee knows her life’s journey is as wide open as her own imagination. She concludes by saying, “Moving forward I see myself becoming a personal trainer. I’d love to run fitness groups at a variety of treatment centers and open a gym of my own eventually. I might even go back to school as well.” No matter what path she embarks upon, as she elevates her experience beyond her time at Beit T’Shuvah, one thing is for certain for the energized redhead from the City of Angels. She will always approach every potential new challenge and endeavor with unbridled enthusiasm and a tenacious zeal for living life to the absolute maximum. Enjoy the journey to your next epic summit, Kaylee. And never forget to enjoy the view!