By Mia Sherin, March 4, 2021
Kyndal Ray’s path was paved on uneven footing. He created routines through negative habits, got in trouble, and felt lost. But through changing his habits and checking in on his mental health, Kyndal is 23 months sober. I was honored to talk with him, hear his story, and learn about his sobriety—his greatest accomplishment.
Ray is twenty-seven-years-old and hails from Jacksonville, Florida. Most of his adult life has been spent in prison and rehab. He started using drugs as young as fifteen, got addicted, and once he began experiencing withdrawals, he would steal from his parents to continue getting high. He spoke candidly about all of his experiences, not trying to justify what he did. He wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed of his past; he knew it was an important story to share and one that may have the power to help other people. Kyndal didn’t hold back, telling me of the time he stole from his own sister as well. He said, “I stole her checkbook and ruined her honeymoon. I was real, real low life. I was a good person, but on the drugs I wasn’t.”
I find this idea to be really important. Bad habits aren’t who we are, they’re just what they make us do. Addiction doesn’t define Kyndal or have the power to dictate the kind of person he is, but it did have the power to take control of his actions and let him hurt the people in his path. Addiction is an illness that deserves to be destigmatized. With the right help, Kyndal was able to reveal the true person he is, without the drugs masking his potential.
Throughout his adult life, he went to jail multiple times and was homeless. But now, Kyndal has eight months left in a work relief program, where he is able to go to work everyday, ride the city bus, and wear normal clothes like everyone else—his choice being Habits 365, of course. He then returns to the center every night, and will be able to leave the program with his paychecks that have been set aside.
For Kyndal, there was one day that changed everything. “One day, I stopped doing it. It was a few months later when I got into Toastmasters International, a public speaking and self-betterment program, so I was writing motivational speeches and giving the speeches.” Toastmasters International helped Kyndal realize his full potential, stop using, and start exercising. He shared, “I started getting with the people that worked out, and it was really extreme, and I had lost a bunch of weight and started feeling good about myself. With physical health also came mental health, and then my whole lifestyle started changing. So next month on March 12, I will be twenty three months sober, and that’s honestly the biggest accomplishment of my life.”
Being able to trade a bad habit for a good one was truly life changing. He channeled his love of adrenaline away from using and towards working out, a habit that not only improved his physical health but helped him manage his depression. “The blessings have poured in since I’ve changed my habits into healthy habits,” Kyndal said.
He is new to the ambassador team, but is undoubtedly already using his platform to inspire others. For him, being an ambassador means more than just promoting the brand; it means spreading the message through his own story. “It’s just about being able to share my story, and if it’s a piece of clothing that brings it up, that I could be a light in somebody's life, that’s a big deal to me.”
We are so lucky to have Kyndal Ray as a Habits 365 Brand Ambassador. While we have always known that habits are powerful, he has shown us the true transformative effect they can hold. We could all benefit from learning about him and his ability to take the past, learn from it, and grow.