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!

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: 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

 

 

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.

Sober Saturdays

Hey Guys!! I hope your holiday is going well…

By now most followers of the blog know that I am extremely passionate about seeing lives restored from addiction (of any kind) because of my own experience with drug and alcohol abuse. I’ve decided to do something called “Sober Saturday” where people can send in their personal experience with drugs, alcohol, gambling, or any addiction.

In the stories/testimonies you can include how those experiences changed your life (good and bad), things that helped/hurt your progress etc… OR if you are the friend or family member of someone who has an addiction you can tell how its affected your relationship and tell about the addiction from YOUR point of view… just whatever your story is! Its important for people to get different point of view’s because for some addicts hearing what another addict is going through wont help… but maybe hearing what the addicts daughter who is nearly the same age as their daughter went through will help. The thing that people don’t realize is all of our personal failures and triumphs can help someone else in some way. And, THAT is the reason that although I’m a pretty private person, I will willingly (VERY willingly) discuss the things I’ve been exposed to because of addiction. So, first up is my story. Or, pieces of it. Lol. It’s how I felt when I was in some of those situations.

I’m really hoping that these stories and testimonies can help someone struggling with addiction begin the process of getting clean and the process of mending broken relationships.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEND IN YOUR STORY EMAIL JAMIEDREAMSBIG@GMAIL.COM AND A NEW STORY WILL BE POSTED EVERY SATURDAY.

Restoration

(Heavy Sigh)

I’m a pretty private person. But, being private doesn’t help anyone. Being transparent does. And the goal here is healing! Not just for you but for me too! So here it is.  Why I am the way I am. Why I’m so passionate about seeing lives restored. This is my story.

I was born to two heroin addicted parents. From what I remember I had a good childhood! I was very loved and I was spoiled rotten with love! My dad used to carry me on his shoulders and sneak me candy and my mom was (and still is) truly OBSESSED with me! : ) There was a lot of arguing though… but I remember thinking that was normal. I remember knowing that something was up with them and their friends… I was the sweetest kid EVER but I was mean to their friends… I knew that they weren’t the best people to be around. But I didn’t know why… I couldn’t pinpoint it.

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 In my little Jamie mind I knew that when they came over my parents were normal and when they left my parents were what I thought was tired or sleepy or sad. I remember seeing my dad pace the floor in slow motion and my mom drift off to her own little world. They were high. I knew that something wasn’t right but I NEVER thought it would be drugs. One day I was outside playing having fun in my perfect no problem/ no responsibility 4th grade world and my mom called me inside. I was about to grow up way more than I knew. She took me in the back room of my sisters two bedroom apartment where we had just moved after being evicted from our own apartment. She told me that she and my father were addicted to drugs and that they were going to rehab for a while. I was going to live with my oldest sister. My whole world was crushed. I had been learning how to “Just say No”  and my parents were addicts! I was very confused and upset that they were leaving me. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t just not do it anymore. I didn’t understand that addiction is an illness. A disease. The cycle of rehab continued… They would go in dirty, come out clean, and relapse. Our lights would be off, my flute was having an affair with the pawn shop, and the fights and screaming matches continued.  When I was in 10th grade my mom had a dirty UA and she was going to rehab for a third time.  I was going to live with my oldest sister. And my dad was staying at the house that was my Grandmother’s. That is until the family decided that he wasn’t going to turn my Grandmother’s house into a trap house. He was now out on the street. I cant even begin to explain the worry in my 14 year old mind. Where would he sleep? What would he eat? Was he safe? Would he die out there?  I remember PRAYING that he would go to jail or calling his parole officer to tell her that he wasn’t clean. Well, my prayers were finally answered and he went to jail. I still Thank God for that until this day because I know he was headed to his grave. I am positive of that. They came home clean a year or so later and after about a  week… they were back pacing floors in their own world. It wasn’t fair! Why did I have to grow up so fast? Why were they picking drugs over me?! My mom wasn’t on probation anymore… she wouldn’t have to pass anymore UA’s. And my dad celebrated his last day on parole. Was this ever going to end?! Well… yeah. It would. My Mom hasn’t done any drugs in about 6 or 7 years!! (IM SO PROUD OF YOU GIRL!! NOBODY BUT GOD!) And although at times my Dad struggles with it, he is light years from where he was then. (C’MON DUDE WE’RE PUSHING FOR YOU) They aren’t together anymore… but they are better a part. Addiction has affected my life more than I will ever be able to put into words but, I wouldn’t change a thing. God knew that all of it would make me the mature, responsible, caring, optimistic, tough loving, encouraging, SCARED OF DRUGS, etc. person that I am today and I really thank him for it all! I love the person that I am and I know that I wouldn’t be all of me if it weren’t for the affect addiction had on me. I will have many, many, many posts about  Restoration. About the disease addiction is, how it affects families AND how it affects the addict. About how we need to support our family and how addicts need to understand the hurt families are feeling. There is a conversation that needs to happen and a healing that needs to take place. At the age of 9 I NEVER thought my Mom would tell me she was addicted to drugs and at 20 I NEVER thought she would tell me she was clean. Restoration in possible!!

 

 

So… this is all I’m looking for. Even if you don’t have the words to say… feel free to email me and we can set up something and I will write it. If you have been addicted to something and now you’re free you KNOW how good freedom feels!! Spread the feeling! God is not just allowing (Yes, its ALL allowed!) things to happen and you to be blessed and set free for you to keep it to yourself. Email Me!!