Recognizing Mary Kamalski as a SHE RECOVERS Gem

SHE RECOVERS® Foundation Volunteer Recognition

Nikole Kelzenberg volunteer

“Within a very short amount of time SHE RECOVERS became the foundation of my recovery. It’s the base of the pyramid that holds me up in my recovery with strength, courage, and vulnerability. Being a volunteer with SHE RECOVERS is fulfilling and rewarding for me — and to be surrounded with like-minded women as we support each other is a blessing.” — Mary Kamalski, SHE RECOVERS Volunteer 

Mary Kamalski has been volunteering with the SHE RECOVERS Foundation for the last five years and a community member since 2015. In fact, she became a SHE RECOVERS Coach in order to start a sharing circle in Los Angeles. Mary is a SHE RECOVERS Together Online Gatherings volunteer host and guardian, a pre-planner and onsite volunteer for retreats and conferences, and has also volunteered her garage as a storage unit and her home as a landing pad for SHE RECOVERS visitors to LA! Recently, Mary has been recognized as a SHE RECOVERS Gem.

SHE RECOVERS Gems are volunteers who have been acknowledged by their peers for their profound and life-altering contributions and service to our community.

We had the honor of interviewing Mary Kamalski about her role as a SHE RECOVERS volunteer.

What does being a SHE RECOVERS Foundation volunteer mean to you?

It simply means being able to give back to an organization that has given so much to me. I’ve been a member of this community since 2015 and within a very short amount of time SHE RECOVERS became the foundation of my recovery. It’s the base of the pyramid that holds me up in my recovery with strength, courage and vulnerability. It’s the toolbox that holds all the other tools that I use. Being a volunteer with SHE RECOVERS is fulfilling and rewarding for me, and to be surrounded with like-minded women as we support each other is a blessing.

What made you want to become a SHE RECOVERS Foundation volunteer?

I was asked in 2018 to help with something, and it was a quick “of course” answer from me. From there, it just continued with more opportunities to do more over the years.

What three words would your friends and peers use to describe you?

Reliable, honest, and compassionate.

How do these aspects of who you are show up in your everyday life?

My family, colleagues, and friends know that they can count on me to listen with an open ear and live up to my commitments. I think I show up with authenticity and the people in my everyday life know that. What you see is what you get. I will always try to help those in need with compassion, honesty, and reliability, but without crossing any of my own personal boundaries, all while practicing my own self-care in the process.

What is something of which you are proud?

My sobriety is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s been ten years since I made the decision to stop my daily drinking — my primary source of self-medication. My life is now  infinitely better for that decision. Back then, the thought of dropping my “best friend” was unfathomable, but I’ve done it..and I’m so super proud of myself because of it. 

What do you do outside of your volunteer role for work and/or play?

Work: I’m a preschool teacher/aide. I love being with little kids ages 2-5. They bring such joy and laughter with their innocence and love of life. 

Play: I love to travel…from an overnight getaway to even more — local, domestic, or international, it doesn’t matter. I read, binge tv shows, cook, exercise, and walk with friends when I can. When an opportunity comes my way to do something fun, it’s typically an automatic yes if the calendar is free. Recently, I went to a Daybreaker sober dance party at 7 AM on the Santa Monica pier with local SR members, and the next day drove for ninety minutes to a one day yoga retreat. It was a busy weekend, but it was so fun. There was a time when I was too tired and hungover to do things like that, so now I say yes to as much as I can…because life is short and I have much to see and do!

What does radical self-care look like for you?

R&R. I am big on self-care. I often pause during the day and take deep breaths. I practice at least ten minutes of yoga daily, make sleep a priority, and listen to calming music. I literally walk away from drama and conflicts that don’t involve me, even within my own family. I try to practice as much peace in my body as possible. Ten years ago, my counselor in rehab said, “sobriety has a serene effect on you.” I try to engage with that serenity as much as possible. 

Tell us a little bit about your recovery journey. What are you recovering from? What tools and resources do you weave into your patchwork of recovery? 

My recovery journey started ten years ago in July 2013. I awoke one Sunday morning from a complete blackout with cuts and dry blood on my face. It was my husband who told me how I’d fallen hard the night before after partaking in a party at our home. To this day, I remember nothing. That morning I knew I was done. So I went to detox in the hospital and then immediately entered a thirty day outpatient program that actually lasted a full year with continuing care. I was very involved with AA for the first three years, and it was wonderful. Then I had a one day slip in 2015 and found SHE RECOVERS. It was here that I uncovered areas of my life that needed some healing, such as: disordered eating, abandonment issues, codependency, depression, low self-esteem, trauma, and grief. I learned that the drinking was the bandaid to the unhealed wounds inside myself. My patchwork of recovery includes meetings, books, connection, yoga, exercise, and medication.

What or who is inspiring you right now? 

The entire SHE RECOVERS community. It’s true that we are stronger together. 

What SHE RECOVERS Intention and Guiding Principle resonates with you the most?

We don’t have to hit rock bottom to pursue recovery in any area of our lives. We believe in early intervention.

What is your favorite SHE RECOVERS resource?

The SHE RECOVERS retreats…just saying. But on a daily basis, definitely the zoom meetings

What is one piece of advice you would give to another woman/non-binary individual who is seeking a community like SHE RECOVERS?

Give it a try, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

intimate partner violence

Want to recognize a SHE RECOVERS Gem (Volunteer) for their contributions in our community? Nominate them now!

Feeling Inspired by this She Recovers Gem Story?

We invite you to get involved with SHE RECOVERS and explore the many ways you can help inspire hope, redefine recovery, reduce stigma and empower women who are in or seeking recovery. You can become a SHE RECOVERS PartnerFriend of the Foundation, Volunteer, or Advocate.

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