Overcoming Abandonment, Abuse, and Addiction with Kevin Barhydt

Today I’m talking with Kevin Barhydt about overcoming abandonment, abuse, and addiction. Kevin is a YouTube Creator and the author of Dear Stephen Michael’s Mother. Listen in as Kevin gets super honest around the compounding traumas that led him to his current path of service. Trauma that including being abandoned by his mother at birth, experiencing sexual abuse starting at age nine, battling addiction by age 11, and living a suicidal lifestyle. Kevin reached a point of dealing drugs and opting for prostitution to pursue his next fix. He’s sharing all of this along with the unconventional reason he made massive life changes that brought him to where he is today!

What to Listen For:

  • Being abandoned by his mother at birth
  • Being placed in foster care for his first couple of months
  • Getting formally adopted by a loving family
  • How knowing he was adopted impacted his relationships and self-worth

“The connection that starts to be made sometimes for not all of us, but many of us is people who love me will leave me. People who love me will relinquish me.”

  • Experiencing abuse from his 4H leader at age nine
  • How this affected how he perceived himself and what he’s here for
  • How his trauma began to manifest in other areas of his life
  • His dad’s heart attack when he was 11, and needing attention the most

“When I was probably in need most of ‘What’s going on with Kevin?’ attention, all the attention had to go to dad, and rightly so. Even my attention went to him. But while my attention went to him, I was screaming inside. And then, of course, I was screaming at him because he couldn’t help me.”

  • His first experience with getting drunk at 11 years old
  • Stealing pills from his father to get high and avoid feeling
  • Ending up on the streets and turning to prostitution as a result of addiction
  • Dropping out of high school in 10th grade
  • His brain functioning so poorly he couldn’t spell his last name
  • Going back to school and starting to take care of his physical body
  • Realizing through therapy that he’d been abused
  • Understanding that the things that happened to him aren’t his identity

“The trauma had compounded so many times by then that unraveling that, or even addressing that was in fits and starts. It was really hard and painful, but that’s where the healing began.”

  • How addiction made him feel he didn’t have worth or value
  • His master plan to stop using drugs and alcohol for one year, and the unconventional why behind this decision
  • Going through withdrawal when he stopped using
  • How coming out of the fog of drugs and alcohol affected his mental state

“All of a sudden, without the drugs and alcohol, the lights came on, the window opened a little bit, and I saw the prostitution. I saw the degradation, and I saw what I’d become very clearly. And without the scrim of the addiction, I just wanted to die.

  • Feeling like he should never have existed at his bottom
  • Getting to know himself on the other side of addiction
  • Understanding that he is a mystery that needed unraveling, but that he couldn’t do it alone
  • Talking with his sponsor about not feeling a spiritual connection
  • His personal prayer that he prayed every day
  • Realizing that his prayer was being answered through the people in his life
  • His little hopes along his journey
  • Slipping in some of his routines after 12 years sober and finding himself lost and confused four years later

“I remember sitting in that apartment in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. My beautiful wife and two kids sleeping in the other room. It’s three in the morning. I’m in the kitchen, looking out this beautiful on this beautiful street, and I’ve got a straight razor in my hand. And I’m trying to say, Kevin, just do it. Just go. And I hadn’t had a drop to drink.

  • How getting fired from his corporate job turned out to be the best thing that could have happened
  • Calling his sponsor and going to a meeting
  • Establishing his five pillars of sobriety
  • Finding a search angel at his next job and how this helped further his healing journey
  • The two-year search to find his birth mother

I only wanted one thing ever since I was little, just a picture, just a picture of my mother at, around the time that I was born. I didn’t even think I deserved it, but I thought if I could have that, I’d be happy. The rest of my life.”

  • About his book

About Kevin Barhydt:

Kevin Barhydt is a YouTube creator, and the author of Dear Stephen Michael’s Mother. His YouTube channel creates a safe space for survivors of addiction, abandonment, adoption, and child sexual abuse, and to explore the healing process.

Abandoned by his mother at birth, Kevin was enveloped in a labyrinth of adoption, addiction, and child sexual abuse. By age 20, a shell of the boy he once was, Kevin succumbed completely to a suicidal lifestyle of drug dealing and prostitution. At 45, after many years of recovery, Kevin began a painful journey to uncover his origins, and the hopeful search for his mother.

His book, “Dear Stephen Michael’s Mother”, chronicles the unfolding of these stories.
The interwoven perspectives offer an unflinching look at the myriad ways life can cloak us in darkness and helplessness yet still resonate with joy and recovery. Kevin Barhydt’s life is summed up with these eight words: to be of service to God and others.

As a YouTube creator, actor, educator, and disability technology evangelist – as a son, husband, father and friend – he gives of himself with one expectation: that you can only keep what you have by giving it away.

Website and social media links:



Access our free 8-part Journey Mapping™ sampler program and begin uncovering the purpose of your path at www.TalesFromTheJourney.tv/Free/.

Read my memoir, Unravel: Rising Up and Coming Back from a Season of Living that Damn Near Killed Me at www.TheUnravelBook.com.