Moving on: Carmel Realtor goes from homeless to top home seller in 7 years of sobriety


Kyle Morris has built his career around helping clients buy, sell and improve their homes, a journey that began soon after he found himself without one.

Seven years ago, Morris was living in his parents’ van after years of deception and half-hearted attempts at rehab from a longtime drug addiction led to his wife kicking him out of their home. Now, the McCordsville resident is among the top agents at the F.C. Tucker Company office in Midtown Carmel, where he employs a team of three others in the Morris Property Group who are also in long-term recovery.

It wasn’t Morris’ goal to only hire people in recovery, but the dynamic gives his team a unique skill set and perspective.

“Moving can be a very emotional process, especially if it’s from a death or divorce. It’s stressful,” Morris said. “We know how to teach people how to cope through the stress and the emotion, and we know the trigger points to remove from people so that it’s an enjoyable process for them.”

‘Diminishing returns’

Morris, 44, grew up in Martinsville with a father who lost a leg in the Vietnam War and a mother who battled worsening effects of multiple sclerosis. Like many other students he knew, he dabbled in alcohol and smoking in high school, but when he attended Indiana University he was introduced to opiates and soon began using them almost daily. He had always been good at flying under the radar, he said, and it helped him hide his drug use from those around him.

He failed out of the school after receiving poor grades as a freshman, but Morris doesn’t blame it on the drugs. School had always been so easy that he had never had to put in much effort, he said, and he learned the hard way that would not be the case in college. When he went back after a semester of correspondence courses, he had “autocorrected” and received good grades, graduating with a degree in telecommunications.

After college, Morris worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative and in veteran affairs, his suit and tie and steady job masking to others – and himself – his growing addiction. He had started buying stronger opiates, and eventually the pressure of constantly needing to obtain them began to affect his work. At one point, he began going to a methadone clinic, which helped for a couple of years.

“The problem is, I never did the treatment part. I just did the medicine part,” Morris said. “The medicine only works for a certain amount of time if you don’t actually work on yourself. It becomes diminishing returns.”

Over the next several years, Morris continued his half-hearted attempts to battle his addiction, attending a suboxone clinic but never addressing the root issues within himself. He continued using opiates, failed drug tests and left the clinic. Suffering the extreme effects of suboxone withdrawal, he began buying drugs off the street, which led to his first experience with heroin. Soon, he was using 3 grams a day, and his work and home life began to suffer from his erratic behavior.

Morris realized he wasn’t flying under the radar anymore, so he quit a job he loved to go to rehab, but he still wasn’t fully committed to the process. He went in and out of rehab several times, at one point telling his wife he was in sober living while in fact he was using his parents’ 1990s conversion van as his home, shoplifting for food and bathing at Pilot gas stations.

At one point, while sleeping in the van at a golf course, he woke up to police officers knocking on his window. Morris said he should’ve been arrested, but instead his parents showed up and allowed him to return to their home.

It was an especially dramatic day for the family.

“(My parents told me), ‘Oh, by the way, your grandpa died today,’” Morris said, tearing up. “So, on the day my dad dealt with that, he was dealing with me.”

IMG 0078
Kyle Morris in 2015, approximately six months after he became addicted to heroin. He is picture with his son, Evan. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Morris)

‘Sober out of spite’

At this point, Morris knew he had to try something different. So, he entered a long-term residential program through Fairbanks.

“It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I learned what recovery really looked like, and I saw people having fun,” Morris said.

After leaving, Morris went home – instead of into sober living, as recommended – and made it 88 days sober, the longest stretch since he first tried opiates as a college freshman. But soon, he began using daily, and his wife took him back to Fairbanks. This time, he entered the program with a different mindset.

“I got sober out of spite. I was like, ‘I’m getting divorced. Everybody’s given up on me. I’m going to get sober to prove everybody wrong,’” he said. “Most importantly, because even if (my wife) gets remarried, I’m always going to be a father to these kids. So, I went to sober living. I got a sponsor.”

While in sober living, Morris began taking real estate classes. He wanted a career with a schedule flexible enough for him to attend meetings and do what it would take to remain sober, and he launched his business soon after moving back home.

Now, he’s using DIY skills he developed years ago in an attempt to hide his addiction – using frequent runs to the hardware store as a cover for more illicit errands – to help clients sell their homes. And he never asks to be repaid for the work.

“When (a buyer) sees a bad thing, they start to notice more bad things,” he said. “When they see a good thing, they start to notice more good things. So, I make the bad things go away.”

The formula is working. For the last two years, his team has sold the most homes of any in his office, and is on track for another strong showing this year. But for Morris, that’s only a bonus. He’s most proud of how his career has helped him remain sober and provided him an opportunity to help others fighting the same battle.

One of those is Zach Perkins, owner of Perkins Fine Painting. Perkins, who is approaching 10 years sober, met Morris through a recovery program and has become his go-to contractor for painting projects. He described Morris as “an unbelievable gentleman” who shares his vision for focusing his life of sobriety on serving others.

“If you’ve met him, you realize that anything’s possible. Everybody that has been in touch with him, their lives are changed for the better,” Perkins said. “And that’s the definition of recovery, being able to give back to the community and leaving a better understanding of who we are, not what we used to be.”

CIC COVER 0418 Kyle Morris 12
Kyle Morris is an agent for F.C. Tucker Company in Carmel. (Photo by Adam Seif)

Volunteer of the Year

Kyle Morris, a Realtor with F.C. Tucker Company, recently received the Bud Tucker Volunteer of the Year Award, the organization’s highest honor for volunteerism.

In addition to sponsoring more than 85 people in recovery programs, Morris has volunteered at Dove Recovery House for Women, Recovery Centers of America and Women’s Sober Living of Hamilton County. He’s also advocated at the Indiana Statehouse and frequently speaks at various programs.

“I can’t say enough about the inspiration Kyle brings to F.C. Tucker, the real estate industry and those in our community,” stated Jim Litten, CEO of F.C. Tucker Company. “His passion for supporting and lifting up those in need in our community is an inspiration to all of us. I am honored to have Kyle in the Tucker family.”

Beau Gibson of Noblesville has been part of Morris’ team since it launched. Five years sober, Gibson met Morris in a recovery program and has seen Morris’ heart for giving back in action.

“Kyle’s a really great guy and always has a positive attitude,” Gibson said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone that’s as giving to others and always available.”