Kyle Entenman’s friends joke that he resembles Pablo Escobar with his dark curls and thick 80’s moustache, but Kyle prefers to be compared to Jim Croce, who was a “lover” and one of Kyle’s idols.
Kyle laughs that he’s keeping the moustache, despite the general consensus that it needs to go, because he doesn’t want to conform to what people think he “should” look like. And most importantly, he likes his moustache!
Kyle’s regular yoga practice and healthy lifestyle choices give him the glow of good health; you would never suspect he spent close to 15 years abusing alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs.
Kyle explains that he was always the “good kid” in school, but when he started drinking at 14, that slowly began to change. He managed to graduate high school without incident and went on to college, but the freedom from parental constraints only escalated his drug and alcohol use during his college years.
“I went from a ‘weekend warrior’ to a guy who was drinking on weekdays as well,” confesses Kyle. “There soon became more days out of the week that I was high or drunk compared to those that I was sober….missing classes and not studying soon became the new norm.”
Kyle received his first DUI at 21, which led to a court-mandate to attend multiple 12-step meetings each week and resulted in restricted driving privileges.
Instead of cleaning up his act, Kyle decided that alcohol was the culprit, and he switched to pharmaceutical drugs in order to stay away from alcohol. As his desire for pills became insatiable, Kyle visited multiple doctors, complaining of fictitious ailments, until he obtained the medications he craved. As computer records were not as advanced as they are today, Kyle was not only able to receive multiple prescriptions from numerous doctors, but he also began to forge his own prescriptions.
Kyle spent several years in and out of treatment centers, jail, and even ended up in prison for a few months. After yet another probation violation, Kyle was back in jail, and the only remaining option was extended time in prison.
“In jail, they offered an anger management class, and I attended to get out of the dorm,” recalls Kyle. “The counselor conducting the class was kind, and I learned about a longer-term rehabilitation center that might accept me in lieu of prison. It was a work-therapy program that emphasized the rewards of working, 12-step meetings, prayer, and being of service. I brought this idea up to my attorney, and the judge allowed me a second chance to try and get it right. He was adamant about telling me there would be no more chances after this one.”
Kyle continues, “During my time in the program, I started to surrender and turn my life over to something greater than myself. I learned more about my addiction and how cunning, baffling, and powerful it really is. I slowly began to surrender to the fact that I needed to stay engaged in recovery [and] I started to build confidence and trust in myself to recognize my own gifts and abilities. It was a hard road, but I grew stronger each day.”
After almost 8 months in the program, Kyle was released. He transitioned to a halfway house until he regained his footing, and he slowly began to repair his life and his relationships. He went back to school for his Master’s degree in mental health counseling, and he now works as head counselor at a local rehabilitation center.
Kyle emphasizes that recovery from addiction IS possible. “It is a journey of self-discovery filled with struggles, but also with joy,” discloses Kyle.
“If you are in doubt, do NOT give up, but instead have hope that if I and countless other millions can do it, so can you or your loved one,” encourages Kyle. “It’s not easy, but if one can surrender enough and be willing to take some action, recovery is possible, one day at a time.”
If you are interested in learning how yoga can be part of a recovery program, or if you'd like to know more about Yogaja's Sobriety Scholarships, please email Yogaja at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our interview with Kyle below, where he discusses the impact of yoga on his recovery with Yogaja yoga instructor and writer Erin Marsh:
*Yoga photo and video by Mary Wyar Photography.*