…can we just be Broken Together?

Alcohol, Atonement, and a Change of Heart: Beginnings of My Healing Journey

Alcohol, Atonement, and a Change of Heart: Beginnings of My Healing Journey

“I’ll never do it again”, we say…and then we do it.

“Now I really mean it! I’ll NEVER do it again”…and then we do it.

“This has got to stop…REALLY…I’ll never do it again”…and then we do it.

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There are many labels that I wear. Some are obvious to everybody around me: Husband. Father. Grandfather. Uncle. Son. Pro Musician. Garbage Truck Driver. Bus Driver. Motion Graphics Artist. Horseback-Riding Instructor. Motorcycle Enthusiast. Mormon. Choir Director. Church Organist. Church History Geek. Swimmer. Skier.

Some labels are less obvious, and depending on how you know me and when you’ve seen me in action, your label for me may be different that somebody else who experienced me at a different time or mood. For example, some say I’m “good with people”…but others know I’m a horrible introvert. I have a difficult time sharing my feelings one-on-one…but I LOVE to share those same feelings as I perform on the piano…the bigger the audience, the better!

However, there’s ONE label that has best described me for nearly all of my adult life. It’s a label that I’ve gone to amazingly great lengths to hide from family, friends, and most acquaintances. The following admission will come as a complete shock to many, and will confirm others’ suspicions…


A recovering alcoholic, but an alcoholic, none the less.

So…Why AM I writing this blog?

About 10 years ago, and after MUCH prodding, my daughters FINALLY convinced me that I should be part of this cool new thing… It was called Facebook! I’m an introvert. I don’t like sharing my feelings. Especially with the world at large! WHY the heck would I want to have a platform to tell the world what I ate last night for dinner?? But eventually I gave in and signed up.

I started creating my personal profile, and discovered something interesting. On Facebook, when you declare that you’re in a relationship, they allow you to choose one of several labels…single, married, in a relationship, etc. My personal favorite is this: “It’s complicated”.

It’s Complicated!

At the time I joined Facebook, I’d spent at least a decade quietly lost in the bottom of a bottle of Bacardi. I’m a “closet drunk”. I NEVER drank in front of my children, and seldom in front of my wife, Julie. As a rule, I avoided drinking in public, even though my job as a professional musician took me to bars several nights each week–I’d suffer through the whole night “sober” and then rush home at 2 a.m. and down an entire pint bottle of rum or vodka in private. I didn’t want my church friends to know of my problems, and I wanted my kids to grow up knowing God, so we attended church EVERY week without fail.

Born and raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (many people call us Mormons), I was raised by amazing parents and grandparents who were directly descended from the early Mormon Pioneers. They were staunch in their beliefs and strict in their actions. I grew up knowing the importance of living up to those beliefs.

I have been an active member of the church for my ENTIRE life. I’ve been actively officiating in ordinances of the priesthood and serving in priesthood leadership positions ever since I became a deacon at age 12. At age 19 I served as a full-time missionary in West Virginia for a year and a half. I returned home and within months, married the love of my life, Julie, in the Ogden Temple in 1984. We have 5 beautiful-beyond-description children (currently ranging in age from 14 to 30 years old).

Throughout my adult life, I’ve been called on to give priesthood blessings to the sick and afflicted and have seen unexplainable, miraculous healings as a result. I’ve served in the Lord’s temple and felt his spirit and guidance. AND…in total defiance to the commandments of the Lord and the teachings of the church, I drank LOTS of alcohol on nearly a daily basis.

So…my relationship with God…? “It’s Complicated!

With my wife…? “It’s very Complicated!” And with my kids…? Yeah, you guessed it…”It’s WAYY COMPLICATED!”

When I was a little kid, one of my most-used phrases was “I CAN DO IT MYSELF!” Early in 2007, I tired of all the complications and decided to “just quit” drinking. And in true Kyle Palmer fashion, I told God…”I’ve got this…I CAN DO IT MYSELF!” And with that, life got even MORE complicated.

Following a path fought with relapses and slips, I have white-knuckled my way through life for most of the past decade, finally achieving complete sobriety sometime in late 2017 or early 2018. I owe Julie and my kids a HUGE apology for the resulting mood swings and melt-downs…having Jekyll and Hyde for a dad and husband has certainly not been fun for any of us.

A Mighty Change…

A few months ago, an amazing thing started to happen. A breakthrough of major proportions. I recently found a quote that describes it:

“There is a better and higher motivation, that is above and beyond self-discipline, well beyond sheer will power and dogged determination. It is a motivation born of the spirit. One that comes to us because of a CHANGE OF HEART.”

–Robert L. Millet

This discovery has been a life changer and a game changer. Over the past few months I have discovered a DEEP connection with my Savior and have experienced the sweetness of knowing that not only has he saved me by his grace, but that he has absolutely CHANGED me with his grace.

I do not have to DO IT MYSELF… and neither do YOU!!

My Inspiration for this blog:

Recently I met a new friend (name withheld…but you know who you are, and this is ALL YOUR FAULT!!) 😉 We had only known each other for a couple of hours, but I felt drawn to her spirit immediately. She admitted to me out of the blue that she had a drinking problem and would soon be going to rehab. The Holy Ghost spoke LOUDLY to me. I assured her that her efforts would be worth it and that I knew how she felt (and truly, I DID!).

Since then, I can’t get her out of my mind. I went through 30-something years of private hell because I didn’t seek help from God. As I consider this, I’m realizing that there are MANY others who could benefit from these insights.

The label we ALL wear

So…if you or a loved one struggles with addiction, stay tuned! I’ll be sharing personal insights and inspirations that I’ve received, as well as sharing some stories that I hope can make a difference. I’ll also share some amazing and inspiring resources that have CHANGED MY HEART and changed my life.

I feel for you in your struggles. I testify that YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. I’ve recently discovered that we don’t have to be perfect to approach Christ for his help. Rather, we have to approach Christ NOW for the strength to become perfect.

Christ truly suffered ALL THINGS…he knows what you are going through and has already paid the price–all he asks is that you be humble enough to ask for his atonement to take effect in your life.

“Christ doesn’t just make up the difference, He makes ALL the difference”.

Brad Wilcox–The Continuous Atonement

I’m also inspired by you and your struggles. I’d LOVE to hear of your journey as you overcome addictions. Feel free to share here, or PM me at kyle@ChangeOfHeart.LIFE.


“The Atonement of Jesus Christ does not just provide a way to clean up messes; it provides the purpose and desire to avoid making more messes. The Atonement doesn’t allow us to ignore our appetites or pretend they don’t matter, but to educate and elevate them.”

–Brad Wilcox, The Continuous Atonement
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Husband. Father. Grandfather. Uncle. Son. Pro Musician. Blogger. Inspirational Speaker. Mormon. And...recovering alcoholic. As a Certified Recovery Support Specialist, I share my story at ChangeOfHeart.LIFE, facilitate 12-step meetings for the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, lead Recovery Support Groups, and work for Davis Behavioral Health as part of the Recovery Support Services team.

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4 years ago

Wow ? absolutely just what I needed to hear.
Thank you Kyle. I’m so glad our paths crossed and I will most definitely stay tuned in. That quote you shared is my new favorite quote.

Nikki Fowers
Nikki Fowers
4 years ago

Thank you for sharing your experience. Thank you for sharing your testimony.

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