Kyle is 31 years old and grew up in Chelsea, Alabama. The third child of young parents who divorced before he was a year old. Despite the divorce, Kyle says he had a very good childhood, with both parents being available and involved in his life.
Kyle grew up in his grandfather’s house with his mother and his two siblings. He describes his Granddad as having been a huge influence in his life in a positive way. Learning to hunt, fish and enjoying all kinds of outdoor activities with his granddad, Kyle remembers being very happy. He recalls playing outside barefoot, walking through the tall country grass, catching crickets for fishing and generally enjoying life. He says that he had his first “real” job at the age of 12, helping his Granddad build houses.
Then one day, the course of his Grandfather’s life ran out and he died when Kyle was 14. This was a huge loss for him, and he admits that this is the only time he ever remembers crying over a death. His world was forever changed and the loss of his Granddad left a huge void.
Kyle recalls that shortly after losing his Granddad, his habits began to change. He started to sneak around smoke cigarettes, and that year Kyle took his first drink of alcohol. He realizes now that he was trying to fill the void left by losing his Granddad, and to numb the pain.
Smoking and drinking became a way of life, and Kyle’s grades began to slip as school became less important, and numbing the pain became a priority. He formed a circle of friends who loved to drink and party with him – and admits that he would always be the drunkest, and the life of the party.
Drinking and smoking cigarettes gradually led to getting high on marijuana. In this substance, Kyle found a new way to numb the pain and he fell in love with its effect. However, cigarettes, booze and Pot weren’t quite enough so Kyle began to take an occasional pain pill. He was able to maintain this lifestyle for a while without things getting ‘out of control.’
Then, at age 23, Kyle broke his hand while drunk, and ended up having to have surgery. The Doctor, of course – did what doctor’s do – and prescribed post-surgery pain pills. After two months of taking medication for pain, Kyle had another surgery to remove the pins in his hand, and the doctor prescribed yet more pain medication.
Kyle recalls that when his prescriptions finally ran out, he did not have major withdrawal, but had that overall feeling that mild opiate users can relate to when they “quit” - he felt bad. He just felt bad. And then….a friend showed up with a ‘solution.’ He offered Kyle an even stronger pain medication – Oxycontin. So, at 23 Kyle was now taking opiates NOT prescribed by a doctor – and he was taking them every day. Eventually, he began to sell them as well to support his habit. The downward spiral that had started at 14, was now in the fast lane and his world quickly spun out of control.
Kyle knew that he was allowing a substance to rule him, but in his own words, “I was losing touch with my friends and I didn’t care if I paid my bills or not, as long as I had a pill.” Then, when pills became harder and hard to find, someone introduced him to the substance that would eventually try to take his life – Heroin.
Kyle started off doing snorting Heroin. However, he soon learned that this was not giving him what he needed so he picked up a needle and became an IV Heroin user. Heroin took Kyle places he never wanted to go, and led him to do things he never thought he would do. He stole money, tools, whatever he could find of any worth – all to support his habit. The young boy who had had such a wonderful life hunting and fishing with his granddad, became homeless. He slept in dope houses and abandoned buildings. He knew he needed to stop – but he could not. He knew he needed help – but he would not ask.
The Bible talks in Luke, chapter 15, about what we refer to as “The Prodigal Son.” In this chapter, the son who had left all and followed his own desires woke up one morning and “came to himself.” This was Kyle. He came to a point of desolation where he knew he would only eventually find death unless he made some changes. That day, Kyle called The Foundry Ministries Men’s Recovery Center, and on May 4, 2015, he walked in the doors of The Foundry. Kyle says this was the best day of his life.
Unable to pay the intake fee for the year long program, an agency stepped in and provided Kyle with an opportunity. For 32 days, Kyle stayed in the transient room at The Foundry where he whole-heartedly performed every task required in order to become officially enrolled in the recovery program. At the end of the 32 days, Kyle learned that World Exit Ministries had paid his intake fee – and received his ID Card and his red lanyard, and Kyle was more than ready to begin his quest for a new life.
At The Foundry, Kyle gained a relationship with God, and he got his life back. In the beginning, there were hard days. Not only was he struggling with a structured routine that required rising early, and working hard, but he also struggled with his own feelings of being unworthy and beyond redemption. Kyle pushed through those days, learned who he is in Christ, and stayed the course. Now he is a new man and says that every single day gets better and better. He is rebuilding his relationship with his family, and making new friends whose lives are also being reshaped by the hand of God.
Kyle credits The Foundry and World Exit Ministries with helping him to become the man he is today. He says this: “I am clean and sober and the only way that is possible is God.” Kyle is truly honoring his name full name (Kyle Champion) because he truly is a “Champion"