Sober Saturday: Kyle’s Story

My name is Kyle and I’m and alcoholic.  If only I knew how important that statement would become in my life ten years ago, I could have saved myself from so much destruction and pain.  Since the age of 16 I have used drugs and alcohol regularly – at first to temporarily escape the frustrations and insecurities of adolescence, but eventually I found myself having to use just to get out of bed in the morning.  From the second I woke up my whole existence became centered around getting loaded, every thought, every action, every word had the ulterior motive of getting myself as far away from sober as possible.  I had been entirely consumed by addiction at the age of 20.  Completely oblivious to the agony in and around me, I continued to reach new lows the following years, crossing lines I never imagined I would.

Meanwhile, I had been grievously wounding my family who had done nothing but love and support me unconditionally since birth.  Really good people.  It started with little lies and manipulations to try and save face.  But soon enough however, I was raiding medicine cabinets only to google a medications potential of giving me a buzz. The results usually showed that my loved ones were dealing with some serious health issues, but instead of being concerned for their wellbeing, my take away was, “well this won’t do anything for me… Now which way was the label facing again?”

I would regularly find myself thumbing through my mom’s wallet, deciding how much money I could take without her noticing.  While recovering from a surgery, she would rely on me to go the store to get us groceries which I would gladly do because that meant that she would give me her debit card which I could use at the ATM on the way back.  While sleeping, she would shriek in pain do to the surgery, but even that wasn’t enough for me to not steal her pain medication any chance I could.  The other members of my family received equally terrible and dishonest behavior from me.

I always thought myself one of the good guys, someone who would positively impact the lives of those around him. When I reached my 20’s that expectation to live a life of purpose began to deteriorate.  I was a drug addict and didn’t care about anything or anyone outside of myself.  I betrayed every single moral instilled in me growing up for the pitiful life I had made for myself.  Suicidal and depressed, losing job after job, selling my life to pawn shops, stealing, lying, cheating, scamming, you name it I wasn’t above anything when it came to getting a fix.  I had become something truly heinous and grotesque, a feral creature. For the first time I hit rock bottom and it hurt.  That’s when it happened.

On October 20th 2014 I found out about a program located in Los Angeles, the Liberty House of L&B Recovery systems.  Unaware of what would become of it and nowhere to turn, I packed what was left of my life and headed to the city of angels. The program quickly taught me about integrity and willingness to do the right thing. I would soon uncover many truths about my addiction and how it merely was a side effect of the real problem, me.  The program moved to Kentucky in February and I happily followed knowing how truly unique and special this place was.

Today, I wake up excited for the day ahead.  I work a great job to pay my own way in sobriety.  I have an amazing support group and am surrounded by friends I wouldn’t change for the world.  My relationship with my family continues to get better.   When my head hits the pillow at night I feel good about myself, knowing that I tried my absolute best to do the right thing that day,  knowing I don’t have to spend one more day feeling like I used to.  Thanks to L&B Recovery I have my life back and a future to look forward to and for this I will be forever grateful.  If you or a loved one is in the grips of addiction please know that there is help and authentic happiness is in reach. Contact the Liberty Ranch!

It’s your turn!!

Hey guys! Many of you have read the story about my experience with addiction and maybe many others posted here on the blog for Sober Saturday… I am looking for more stories from people who have experiences with addiction (their own or someone whose addiction affected them) to share in hopes of inspiring someone who may be dealing with an addiction or going through tough times witnessing their loved one and/or dealing with some of the hurt that comes along with addiction.

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Just as with any illness or disease, family and friends are affected by watching something terrible tear someone they care about so much. This is all about motivating someone to keep going when they feel like giving up, when they feel like drifting back into old ways or “just doing it one more time” Let’s let them know it isn’t worth it. Even if you don’t have it all together yet go ahead and share! It is so cathartic and freeing to just get it all out… Maybe your addiction is negativity? Or tearing yourself down? You are absolutely more than welcome to share your story! This is about having a Sober mind… Sober living in general. So go ahead, email me! Someone is somewhere waiting to hear a story like yours to push them to the next level… Let’s get it done! Muah

Sober Saturday: Deal with It

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I saw this the other day and thought “Wow!” It’s one of those simple truths that sounds so profound when you’re in a place of wanting to move forward but can’t figure out what’s holding you back….

 My WEAKNESSES?!

Yes, Jamie. Your weaknesses.

Just being completely honest about the situation I can think of times that I’ve done something wrong and I immediately think about or bring up all the good I do. I’ve identified that it is a defense mechanism because I dont want anyone to take anything from me. But the truth is, if I don’t deal with some of my flaws and improve I will be remembered for the bad instead if the good.

The same is true with addiction.

Unfortunately some of the BEST people struggle with addiction.

The greatest musicians, mothers and fathers, husbands or wives, etc have something that just literally drains the good out of them. I believe that is why so many are SO frustrated… Because you know what’s there. You know what’s being neglected and wasted for a terrible habit. If we are not careful to deal with our demons they will conquer us and all the good will be completely wasted.

So deal with the bad so you can enjoy the good!! Live a good life and leave a good legacy. It is definitely  a process but I think as long as we recognize that having some good doesn’t make the bad irrelevant and actually address those issues head on- we’ll be fiiiine!

Deal with it!

Sober Saturday: Sick and Tired…

When I was younger I could go NON-STOP!

I had 3 jobs, I’d make sure I volunteered at least once a week at a shelter, did all kinds of things with my younger niece and little cousins, and I was apart of the Drama Ministry at my Church. (Great Commission Baptist Church, Fort Worth, TX)

I did many shows over the years but right now one in particular sticks out to me…

It was the Black History program and I was all set to be Fannie Lou Hamer. A civil rights and voting rights activists who was known for her straight forward approach and the quote

 “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”

Have you ever been there?

Sick of your situation… so far on the edge that you can see the end but cant reach it?

I’ve been there.

I’ve stressed over and over my hate for drugs and alcohol and how it destroys people and their families and I know this is Sober Saturday but I also know that there are people out there like myself who don’t have a substance or alcohol abuse problem but are SICK AND TIRED!

Is it your job? Is it your lack of a job? Your family? Is it this messed up world we live in? (It’s bad out here ya’ll) Or is it in fact an addiction to something you NEVER thought would even cross your mind and now it’s all you think about?

What is it?

What are you tired of?

I love Ms. Hamer. I cant remember the complete monologue. I cant remember much about her. I don’t know if I should be typing Mrs instead of Ms. In fact, the only thing that I remember confidently is the quote that she’s known for so much that it is engraved on her tombstone. What I admire most about it is that despite her tiredness mentally, spiritually, and even physically she took action. And aggressively! Even as a Black woman in those days, with all she had against her to begin with she found ways to try to change her situation and the world around her.

What are you doing to change your situation? It’s not enough to just be tired. It’s not enough to just want change. I’m not going to go into the whole “you have to be strong”, “you have to push through” speech because we all know what we have to do OR better yet, we know what NOT to do. Don’t put yourself back in the same situation because it convenient. Don’t do that to yourself. Do what you gotta do. Get it together. No more sulking, being lazy, and JUST being tired.

Let Ms. Hamer inspire you and do it no matter how BIG the task seems.

DO SOMETHING!!

and then get some rest…

“You can pray until you faint but unless you get up and try to do something God is not going to put it in your lap”

-Fannie Lou Hamer

Rest In Peace

Sober Saturday: Keep Climbing

Hello my loves!!

HAPPY SOBER SATURDAY! (It’s been a while… It feels so good saying that)

Today I want to encourage you. I want to very quickly talk about what happens after you’ve kicked your addiction. You did it! You had your last drink, lit your last pipe, or shot up for the last time. You’re on a high but this one is self induced… So many people (including YOU) never thought you’d make it to this point and you have. (God is so perfect!) Naturally you want to celebrate a little and honey, I’m right there with you. I want to encourage you today though… Don’t stop there!! Keep climbing…

 

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So often after the addiction is gone the habits inherited BECAUSE of addiction stay. The manipulation, lies, guilt trips, victim mentality, and complacent attitudes will continue to live inside of you unless you do something to remove them. At this point you’ve climbed majority of the staircase and in order to live a life fulfilled you’ve gotta keep climbing. The people, jobs, etc you lost because of your addiction won’t automatically come back if the addiction is gone but you are the same person. We’ve got to constantly examine ourselves to see what we can improve. And don’t think you’ll live this clean, boring life for the rest if your life either. Find some good, clean fun!  You may be older than you were and feel like you wasted so much of your time while you were in your addiction but there is still plenty life in you and SO much to do, see, and experience. Go explore, join a support group, inspire someone, SEND IN A SOBER SATURDAY STORY! Lol.  Do something new… Whatever it is, keep climbing. It won’t always be easy… But ending your addiction wasn’t either and you’ve done it! You’re stronger than you think. Keep climbing!!

Sober Saturday: Bumpy Roads

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Hello my loves! HAPPY SOBER SATURDAY!!!!

I just wanted to drop a quick line to let you know that relapse is ONLY a bump in the road., something that slows you down en route to your final destination- Freedom from Addiction. At times the road to addiction will be hard and you just might stumble and fall. What you’ve got to remember is not to allow the guilt from relapsing take you into a downward spiral of more relapsing. I think guilt is one of the things that can seem so hopeless at times about addiction because you’re trying to deal with things the way you’re used to so you relapse… And the guilt from relapsing makes you want to use, drink, etc more just to deal with what you’ve done…. And that is where the downward spiral can begin…

Do you stop and park at speed bumps when you’re driving? No!

Don’t let this be any different…

If you fall just get up and keep moving…

And yes, it IS a lot easier said than done. But you’re capable of beating your addiction.

Get up and keep moving…

You’re stronger than your addiction will allow you to believe.

Keep Moving…

You’re smarter than your addiction will ever give you the opportunity to show.

You’re capable.

you are loved.

and you WILL beat your addiction.

Just keep moving!!

MUAH, JNB

 

 

HAPPY SOBER SATURDAY!!

 

Hello my loves!! I know how hard it is to be transparent and let your demons be known by everyone… Trust me I do! This blog is geared to healing by inspiration… HEALING!! No healing will be able to take place by not addressing the issue… Now I know the transparency thing isn’t everyone’s cup if tea… It’s not for everybody. Transparency requires a special level of bravery… So, if you aren’t feeling pressed to share or maybe just not right now it’s SO totally fine. I understand. But, those of you who are ready to inspire others by some of the things you’ve been through PLEASE email me. If you’re not sure of everything you want to say or how to begin…  Just tell me! We will figure it out… I’ll type as you talk if we have to. It seems extreme… But so many people go to extremes for things that don’t matter. Well this one does.

jamiedreamsbig@gmail.com is the email address. I’m waiting (taps foot)

Sober Saturday: Addiction Alienates

Hey guys!! It’s SOBER SATURDAY!!!!

 

Today’s post is something that I’ve dealt with time and time again…. It’s about yet another affect addiction can have on the addict and ultimately families, relationships, and even self esteem.

 

Alienation. I HATE IT!

 

A lot of things come with being addicted to something other than just the addiction itself. Pride, low self esteem, and guilt are just a few that are sitting at the top of my brain right now… What often happens is that the addict is either SO stuck in addiction that they push you away out of trying to get their fix or that they are ashamed or dealing with the guilt of a relapse that they’d rather not face it an in turn push you away. It hurts.

Most of the memories that I have of this happening are with my Dad and most of the times it starts with a broken promise. A promise to send money, a promise to come see me off to prom, or a promise to follow through on something that had a level of importance to me. Now, I want to be clear- I know my Dad loves me and may have had every intention to follow through on his promise and prove to himself and me that he could “handle” his addiction and that it didn’t have a hold on him. One of the things about addiction is that the pride never allows you to see it as bad as it really is… I’ve matured a lot over the years but the way I used to deal with the broken promises or lies is anger. I would be so angry and  disappointed and being me, I wasn’t shy about telling him exactly how I felt and doing what hurt people do- trying to make him feel what I felt by expressing my disgust. Well, the way he would deal with it is to just act like it didn’t happen, or just not answer my phone calls, lies, etc. He would alienate himself from me so that he wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt from me being disappointed. And looking back at it now, even though my eyes are filling with tears as I type this, I can understand why he would alienate himself. At the time I often wondered “is it me?” “Why doesn’t my Dad want to talk to me?”, etc… I still loved myself but I can say that at times my self esteem was highly affected by it.

 

There are several things that can be taken from today’s Sober Saturday post… I could put this all on the addict but I’ll go another route. Although addiction and the things addicts do can be very hurtful, use the situation to better YOURSELF! Have you identified your reaction and how it can improve when hurtful things happen? That can be applied to your life as a whole. Have you identified how the addict in your life deals with the guilt of their addiction? They may be alienating themselves for YOUR good! Dig deep and try to work out the kinks… It will not be easy. It hurts. I’ve worked to get to this level of accepting someone else’s addiction and progress on their own terms for most of my life… I still cry and get upset when my feelings are hurt but my approach to the way I deal with the hurt has changed DRASTICALLY! I hate addiction. I hate what it does to people. This post is in NO WAY encouraging addiction but instead, developing a way for you to not let someone else’s addiction drag you through the mud. It’s a horrible thing to love someone with an addiction because you don’t want to see them hurt themselves but if they are making the decision to continue after you’ve tried and tried and tried to help- you’ve gotta decide that there will be peace for you in spite of their actions. AND- when the addict sees that they won’t be subjected to more guilt and another reminder of how they failed and that those things have been replaced with support to get better and sympathy for this disease, the alienation will stop.

 

I always say how much I HATE addiction and how it destroys everything and I keep wanting to cry typing this from just memories… But I’m so grateful that more came out of being raised by parents with an addiction than just a temporary high for them. Don’t let the hurt that can come with addiction be in vain…  There has to be growth!! Be happy and proud that you’re able to use bad situations to better yourself and keep on praying for their sobriety. They’ll get tired of being tired and sick of being at rock bottom and it will stop. Experience peace even while you’re in the storm…

 

MUAH!!

 

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY OR EXPOSED TO ADDICTION AND WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY EMAIL JAMIEDREAMSBIG@GMAIL.COM!!

 

Sober Saturday: Faith Driven

What drives you?….

A question that I realize can mean many things so of course, we’ll explore what I’m talking about a little.

 

Some of you know that I’m an aspiring actress. Always have been! Well, recently I’ve was blessed with several offers for several positions in theater that will span from now through this Summer. Great! I know… IM SO EXCITED!! In addition to those Theater jobs I was also offered a position in Hospitality. I was a bit apprehensive because I’ve done hospitality before and although I love interacting with people IM OVER IT! It always comes back to the fact that it’s just not what I REALLY want to do. I was still excited about the income I could generate with all of these new opportunities I had been blessed with AND what the increase in my bank account would mean for other areas of my life. I could move, help out more, FINALLY start a new initiative I’ve been trying to introduce to the blog, etc, etc, etc. The only thing is… This new hospitality job would eventually have conflicting hours with my sometimes VERY demanding Theater schedule BUT it is consistent in many ways that I need at the time. So, after praying and thinking and obsessing over what to do- I quit the hospitality job. Yep! Only 4 days in and I was done. I was very upset about it… I felt like I’d wasted the time of so many people and I just felt bad. I knew it was right though… So I marched forward with the decision.

A few of the first thing most people ask is “Will you make enough money doing Theater?” “Are you still going to be able to move?” Blah, blah, blah.

Honestly my answer is “I don’t know” I’m trusting that God will work it out for me. And I don’t know how or when… But I know HE WILL! I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, I’m a faith driven person. Gods promise is enough for me to lean on.

 

I know many of you are probably wondering what this has to do with staying sober. Well, like me, some of you may have decided you aren’t going back to where you were. You’ve prayed about it, talked it out, obsessed over it and you’ve decided that every move you make will be a step in the right direction for your life, your career, your family, your dreams…  Be strong enough to tell temptation NO when outside distractions come and paint a pretty picture of what one moment of your life can be like. Look at the big picture… How will you feel after? How do you feel even going into it? If you can say that the big picture regarding addiction is a good feeling then this post isn’t for you. Do what it takes to make big picture changes. Don’t be worried about what other people say because everybody just won’t understand. Find something good to be driven by. And don’t allow it to be materialistic, monetary, or a temporary fix. Those things will fail you every time!

 

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Dont you dare look back! Keep going! Keep pushing!

There is life after addiction!!

Go find yourself!!

Sober Saturday: ENABLING. When “helping” is hurting

Happy Sober Saturday!!

One thing about addiction is that it not only takes a toll on the addict but often affects the entire family. Today’s topic is enabling and honestly, it is SO easy to fall into without even realizing it we can all probably say we’ve enabled someone at some point.

         I mean, we’ve all witnessed it for sure.
Whether it’s someone who allows their child to dictate how the trip to Target goes because they just don’t feel like hearing them cry (Spoiling them even more) or someone who pays the crackhead down the street to wash their car because “they do such a good job” (you’re giving them money for more drugs! I know you didn’t think that money went towards more supplies did you? And yes, I said crackhead) or allowing your Mom to use your car to go get drugs (feeding the addiction)
 It’s all enabling!!
Now, the REASONS we enable can vary… We all have our personal demons.
The thing is we’ve got to figure outa way to stop doing it.
Please watch the video and feel free to leave comments and other solutions you may know of.
Also, BE WARNED:
I am at home. I didn’t get all dressed up to
sit in front of the camera because I wanted it to be like I’m having a casual conversation with a friend. There’s no makeup or fashion to distract from the message. So yeah, I look a mess. Lol.
And share the video!!
        Thanks SO much for your support of Sober Saturday!
Send you story to jamiedreamsbig@gmail.com
to be featured on Sober Saturday and be someone else’s inspiration.