Chekesha “Kay” Ellis is a passionate, visionary, and purpose-driven woman. As a motivational speaker and author, her life’s mission is to present diverse pathways to recovery for individuals struggling with substance use disorder, recognizing that recovery is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Kay is also the creator of Chase No More, an organization that symbolizes the end of pursuing a life of substance use disorder and the potential for reclaiming your life in a way that suits you.
Through her organization, Kay serves as a bridge, guiding people across America to resources that support treatment and recovery.
Watch Kay’s recent inspiring TEDxHagerstownWomen Talk called Addiction: The Enemy of Hope.
Standing here in front of you is the gift that recovery gave me thirteen years ago.
Photo credits: Steve Robinson
In her recent TEDx Talk, Kay delves into her decade-long descent into opioid addiction from 2000 to 2010. She draws attention to the alarming daily overdose death rates in the country and describes how a knee surgery initiated her tragic journey into opioid addiction, mirroring the experiences of thousands of others.Kay underscores three "Aha!" moments in her struggle that served as red flags, but the overwhelming nature of her addiction compelled her to continue in this destructive cycle until she awoke one day with complete hearing loss due to the extent and duration of her opioid use.
She never regained hearing. However, Kay's story doesn't conclude there. She shares a moving account of reaching out to God and encountering not just one, but several miracles. Becoming a mother and being introduced to cochlear implant surgery by a doctor and hearing her two-year-old sons voice for the first time marked a turning point. Through timing, turmoil, and testimony, Kay's narrative finds redemption from its most challenging chapters. Today, she stands as living proof that recovery is achievable, worthwhile, and possible.
Today we are celebrating life, love, and recovery. We can recover from anything.
Kay's beauty, motivation, boldness, and courage exemplify how narratives of recovery have the power to transform lives. Her inspiring recovery story serves as a beacon of hope for all individuals grappling with addiction. She advocates that recovery is not a one-size-fits-all solution, emphasizing that it can manifest through various paths. Kay encourages us never to give up on ourselves.
Want to share your story of recovery? Pull up a chair.
Did you know that sharing our stories of recovery helps to reduce the stigma of addiction and inspires others to reach out for support?
Don't forget to register for the annual International Women's Day Virtual Recovery Event presented by the SHE RECOVERS Foundation.
You don't want to miss this year's event that features new offerings like on-demand viewing and watch party hosting, along with live translation features and more!