Our Founder’s Story

The Gray Mile. A Mom’s Journey.




By Jean Krisle

I loved the movie The Green Mile. It wrenched my heart, but I still loved it.

The same cannot be said for a recent experience that I will ever remember as The Gray Mile: a long, empty, silent, seems-like-it-goes-forever, gray-painted, gray-floored, gray-door-lined hall leading to the visitation room in a county jail.

The Gray Mile may not have been designed to instill hopelessness and trepidation, but it certainly felt like it was. The Gray Mile was the longest, loneliest, most hope-sucking, unanticipated walk of my life.

Life is too short to waste our time in gray miles of addicted, altered, hopeless, fog-like states of being, and it’s certainly too short to wander down gray miles of misery and failure.

Life is to be lived, and celebrated; it’s about opportunity and hope and looking forward to something better. Life should be experienced with fresh air, and joy, and love, and bright, vibrant color, and excitement, and learning, and growth!

Nothing can grow in The Gray Mile. Take my word for it. Nothing.

My advice is to avoid The Gray Mile at all costs…unless, of course, a loved one sits at the end of it. In bright orange. Behind glass. That loved one is worth every miserable step.

For him, I would walk down That Damn Gray Mile as often as it would help him break through the gray of his day-to-day existence. And every time I walked it,

I would encourage him to try and look past the gray bars, to think beyond the gray haze, to leave The Gray Mile behind for good, to step out of the grayness and get the help he needs.

I would walk The Gray Mile as often as needed to encourage him to find his center again, to banish his addiction, to rebuild his self-confidence, to refocus his thoughts, to remember that he is a child of God, and that he is my son, whom I love unconditionally.

And I would walk The Gray Mile to tell him that I haven’t lost hope, that I haven’t lost faith in him. I would tell him that I still believe, I still remember, and that I will never give up.

I would walk The Gray Mile to make sure he never forgets that I am here, hoping for the day when he is ready to be clean and sober and happy again.

I hate The Gray Mile. It wrenches my heart. But I would walk it every day just to tell him that I love him.

People ask me why I do what I do. This is why.

Jean Krisle, Founder & CEO

Our brand new podcast is LIVE! You can find On The Air For Recovery on Apple Podcasts!

Jean Krisle is the CEO & Founder of 10,000 Beds, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization. She has been 100% focused on our mission since her first thoughts of creating this organization in 2014. COVID forced us home from our #OnTheRoad4Recovery cross country road trip where we travelled more than 30,000 miles to elevate awareness, change perceptions around addiction and recovery, and connect with partners new and old.

In 2021, at the age of 66, Jean took a leap of faith right out of her comfort zone and launched the weekly On The Air For Recovery podcast which can be found on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast site. This podcast is for anyone who is in recovery from anything. It will cover topics includingrecovery, Covid-19 realities and challenges, the importance of connection, self-worth, forgiveness and life in general.

A charismatic leader, consistent influencer, and innovative socialpreneur, Jean Krisle founded and continues to lead 10,000 Beds, Inc. a 501c3 nonprofit organization now in its 7th year of operation.

Building from a desire to support the many individuals without resources seeking help for a substance use disorder, Jean grew 10,000 Beds from a simple idea to a nationwide, life-changing, and inspirational force in the addiction & recovery community with more than $10,000,000 in addiction treatment scholarships awarded to date – nationwide.

Since 2014, beginning with a personal donation from Jean and Hal Krisle to create a financial foundation for 10,000 Beds, Jean has worked diligently within and outside of the recovery community to develop long-standing relationships with corporate partners, event sponsors, individual donors, and most importantly, lifelong friendships with leaders across the for-profit and non-profit worlds.

As a sought after keynote speaker, podcast guest (and host), certified recovery coach, and corporate consultant, Jean speaks from decades of personal experience on the critical strengths of courage, hope, and resilience in leadership, in business and in personal lives. Jean motivates the rest of us to face each day with courage, tenacity, hope, and resiliency. She inspires all of us to recognize the strengths we’ve gained through the challenges we’ve faced. You can learn more about Jean’s speaking availability at jeankrisleleads.com.

Jean passionately reminds us that we are all in recovery from something and that recovery from anything- loss, failure, disappointment, heartbreak, unemployment, addictions, etc. – is something we can recovery from and build on for a brighter future. 

You can support 10,000 Beds by making a contribution on our website today to help provide scholarships for those without resources seeking help for addiction. #onebedonelife