Sober Saturday: Free. For real!

Hello my loves!! I hope all is well with you…

Okay so, I’m just gonna jump right in to today’s topic- FREEDOM!

I started thinking about how so many of us are free (from addiction, anger, lies, etc) but are still living our lives as captives to our old issues when I saw Afrobella’s (she’s a blogger. The BEST! Seriously tho) post on Facebook this past Thursday, June 19 also known to many (not enough) as Juneteenth. For those of you that don’t know, June 19, 1865 is the day the news that all slaves were free FINALLY reached the last of the slaves near Galveston, Tx. This day is now observed as a holiday in the hearts and minds (not Nationally… Yet!) and celebrated as the day their ancestors were officially freed.

 

Now, I know the history geeks are saying “huh?! That’s two years after the Emancipation Proclamation (the article in which Abraham Lincoln declared slaves were free)” And yes, you’re right it is! Almost two and a half years after the news had just reached the last slaves and even after this some people stuck around to see what “employment” would mean for them. They still felt a sense of fear or maybe even loyalty to the same people who had often times been SO horrible to them and their families even after they’d been set free.

 

Thinking about all if this of course I couldn’t help but realize the similarity to addiction.

 

So many people have been freed from the grasp of addiction but still operate as if they are addicted because it’s all they know. There is some fear of the unknown and temptation to stay addicted and continue to deal with their problems the way they’ve been doing it even though their addiction has been HORRIBLE to them, their families, and in their life overall. ADDICTION IS MORE THAN JUST THE ACT OF DOING THE DRUG, HAVING SEX, GAMBLING, ETC.  It’s also everything that comes with it! The lying, manipulating, cheating, stealing, etc. When the addiction is gone you have to take it a few steps further and work on dropping the old ways that helped your addiction otherwise, are you fully free? We are all concerned about what addiction does to the body physically… But if you drop the addiction and keep the old supporting ways of addiction (yes, this includes the old friends that are hating on your sobriety) will you get your family back? Your job? That feeling of being completely free?! You’ll be healthy and ALONE!

 

Take it a step further today and do what it takes to be FREE. For real!

 

 

Sober Saturday: Motivation

Hello my loves!!

It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything and I must say, I’m so grateful for my blog and my followers, that I feel guilty when I feel unmotivated especially for important posts like the ones I do on Sex Trafficking and of course, SOBER SATURDAY!

I sat in the bed last night and began to panic when I realized that it was Friday and I hadn’t even thought about what I’d post for Sober Saturday let alone be motivated or urged (by my own thoughts, others, God, circumstances, etc) to post something like I usually am. I refused to NOT have a post yet another Saturday! REFUSED!! It was then that it occurred to me that my responsibility despite my motivation (or lack thereof) was a post in itself.

Regardless of who you are and what you do motivation is something we all need. Sometimes it may seem people don’t know the answer or don’t understand simply to give you the opportunity to find the answer in yourself.

 

There are so many of you that may be new to sobriety or working towards sobriety, OR simply feeling unmotivated… We allow our jobs, situations,  family and friends, and even addiction, to occupy our lives so much that there’s nothing left. When it’s time to do something that is usually pretty simple we are so worn down that we don’t even have the energy or ,mind space for it.  This is exactly what has been happening with me and blogging- something that I LOVE doing and is good for me has taken a backseat because I’ve allowed other things to get in the front.

I know this post isn’t very long or necessarily full of profound things but I certainly hope it can be a jumping point for some of you to begin doing the things you love even when you may be low on energy or feeling down. Doing something you love and pushing through despite how you’re feeling may remind you why you began it in the first place and spark inspiration to continue. Whether it’s motivating yourself to stop using drugs, encouraging yourself to get up and go to the AA meeting, or pushing through the tiredness and writing a blogpost- ENCOURAGE YOURSELF and keep moving!! Think about some of the things you like to do that are good for you… Some of the things that can be cathartic and provoke self growth. Maybe you need to go through and do some prioritizing and ERASING things and/or people from your life than really don’t add anything positive to your personal growth. It can be hard work depending on how far down on the list you’ve allowed positivity and personal growth to sink. Do it anyway! The peace you’ll experience from a free mind (freedom from drugs, alcohol, negativity, stress, work, etc) will be SO worth it.

Reach for more… And while your hand is on the way up BELIEVE you’ll be bringing down the things you need to help you keep moving.

 

 

I thought from the age of about 5 that I would be a Movie Star at a young age and that people would watch me grow up on tv or in movies… The thing I absolutely love about jamiedreamsbig.com is that you guys are able to witness my growth as a young adult as it happens. No, it’s not in the way that I thought it would be. But, it’s in a more real, up close and personal kind of way. I’m as honest as I can be with y’all and I genuinely PRAY and hope that my blog inspires you in some way.

 

Thanks to all of my new followers!! I see ya…

And thanks to the ones who have been with me from the beginning… I appreciate all the love. I LOVE the love.

 

You WILL hear from/see me soon! MUAH!

 

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: ALIVE

April 2010 I very happily packed my Mazda 3 to its capacity and moved to Atlanta to pursue film. I very quickly got work being an “extra” on many films one of which was Footloose. Nearly everyday we’d meet for 12 hour shoots and we began to “really” learn each other… Who would want to play Mafia, who had a car, the part of town everyone lived in, what movies they’d been on, etc…

Well, today’s Sober Saturday post is by someone from my Footloose Family. Someone I learned basic things about while waiting to go to set… Someone who was always nice and always had a smile.

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Emi is the one on the left… I’m on the right looking a mess!

If she hadn’t written this story I could’ve never guessed she was struggling with something SO heavy at such a young age. It’s an extremely inspiring story about a young woman with a backbone. Strong enough to make a man be a man!! I’m proud of her! And I’m glad she’s telling her story…

“Alive”

My story is not one of trials and tribulations. I do not know what it is like to be alone, feel hunger, or abuse. My goal is not to make you cry, but to bring to light how easy it can be for a simple young girl to get caught up in a whirlwind of bad decisions.

He was five. She was five. Pinkies were crossed, and a promise was made. A promise that they would one day get married, have babies, and be best friends forever. He was fourteen. She was fourteen. He cheerfully talked about his new girl friend while she desperately wished he was talking about her. He was sixteen. She was sixteen. She nervously sat by a tree in the woods as he rolled a joint. She declined when it was passed her way, but was terrified he would not want to see her anymore. He was eighteen. She was eighteen. The date she had always dreamed of, and the goodnight kiss she had prayed for finally happened! The end of that night marked the beginning of a relationship.

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He was happy. She was happy. He would still roll joints, but, it was only weed. He would offer, and she finally began to accept. Remember, it was only weed. He opened her life to new friends, music, clothes, possibilities, ideas, and adventures. Every question seemed to have an answer. Till one day she came across a pill in a plastic bag. “It’s only Xanax. I need it because it calms me down.”, was his immediate response. She stayed quite because, after all, it was only weed and Xanax.

He was nineteen. She was nineteen. All the answers slowly became questions. Unanswered phone calls, deleted texts, and hostile conversations became part of their daily routine. She did not read the signs when his head was in the toilet every day. She did not understand why he quit his job. She justified why he had to live with her and her parents. She did it all gladly in the name of love. Surely he could not be doing anything terrible because it was only weed and Xanax. Every argument ended in her apologizing to him; for how dare she suggest he was on anything stronger. Even her friends were alienated if they mentioned the words “pain pill addiction.” She never thought to ask why he was so skinny, and finding him searching through her piggy bank like a mad man was no big deal at all. Remember, it was just weed, Xanax, and maybe, sometimes, every now and then, a pain pill. His compassion slowly turned to control. Control of what she ate, who she saw, and what she did.

He was twenty. She was twenty. He was getting his fix. She was sitting at her birthday dinner with her family making yet another excuse as to why he could not make it. Her innocence vanished, confidence shattered, faith altered, and heart broken. That night at one miraculous moment of what some people would call God, and others Fate happened. She experienced clarity for the first time in a long time. As she laid crying on her brother’s shoulder, the radio sang, “Everything’s gonna be all right. Rockabye. Rockabye.” She went home, packed his clothes, records, and every trace of the life they shared. She realized she could no longer follow down his path. She then said the hardest goodbye she had ever made. Trying months laid ahead. His addiction became worse, but her mind became more clear. She never regretted her decisions because they made her stronger. She realized addiction had stollen away the one she loved, and he was not coming back.

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She finally let his actions become his responsibility. He hit rock bottom and slowly resurfaced. She, on the other hand, fell into the best kinds of addictions; she fell in love.

He is twenty three. I am twenty three. Only those close to him know about his well being. I however, am a mother, friend, sister, daughter, and companion. I love a wonderful man, and we are raising a beautiful daughter.

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My story could have ended in tragedy, but thanks to friends, family, and a whole lot of prayer, my story is one of hope. Stories like mine do not happen every day, and I am extremely thankful. I am passionate, beautiful, and smart.

Most importantly however, I am alive.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY ADDICTION AND WOULD LIKE YOUR STORY TO BE FEATURED ON SOBER SATURDAY EMAIL JAMIEDREAMSBIG@GMAIL.COM!!

SOBER SATURDAY: It’s Just a Sip, Right? (Get Better? Or Get Sicker?)

Today’s “Sober Saturday” post is from a fellow blogger Ms. Ros from the blog “Running on Sober.” I was introduced to her blog when she was featured on WordPress and immediately LOVED it and after a few emails it was set! I would be reblogging one of her previous post for Sober Saturday. She’s such a great writer and I really appreciate her for allowing me to share her work and for being SO transparent in her writings! It can really help when you know someone is putting it all out there and showing vulnerability… People all over the world will know they’re not alone in their struggle to become sober and their journey of maintaining sobriety. I hope you guys enjoy it… Follow her blog “Running in Sober”, follow MY blog if you aren’t already, and remember- if you’d like to share your story or testimony for Sober Saturday email jamiedreamsbig@gmail.com! RESTORATION IS POSSIBLE!! Muah

Psalm 107

 

its pretty clear guys… I’m not begging anyone to share what God has done for them. If you’ve been delivered from something as bad as addiction and still don’t want to share for whatever reason there may still be work to do. God has been good… If you want to share that then email me!! MUAH

SOBER SATURDAY: “What time is it? TOOL TIME!!”

Happy Saturday My Loves!!

Its Sober Saturday and this week I’ve decided to do something a little different…

Reading stories and testimonies about what addiction is or was like for others is a great tool for inspiring, encouraging, and really just letting people know “you’re not alone” or “I understand”… And I think that it’s great! I think it can really give people the push they need to go ahead and begin to kick the habit… However, identifying with someone else’s addiction will not help you get clean and stay clean so, in addition to stories and testimonies I will also give resources that can be used for aiding in recovery and/or for STAYING recovered. It’s tool time…

Okay so… The first resource that comes to mind is developing a STRONG relationship with God and finding a church home.

I hear so many people say they began doing drugs socially… At a party or with friends. Finding a church home will put you in a POSITIVE social setting around others who can identify with a struggle to do better in many ways. It’s a very difficult thing to begin to “replace” people that you’ve known for so long in your life… But the bottom line is, if you want to get better you may have to leave a few behind. If your friends that you get high with aren’t quite ready yet go find some people that are strong enough in their sobriety to help you and then you can go back and grab your buddies.

Sometimes when you’re speaking with someone who has never been in a situation you’re struggling with you feel like you’re being judged, looked down on, or insulted. Sometimes when you go to someone for help and you’re faced with nothing but negativity it discourages you more than you were before you went to them. I’ve been there… This is why it’s EXTREMELY important to make sure you’re praying, reading your bible, and visiting churches to build up your relationship with God so HE can lead you to the right church with the right people and perfect ministry for you. I love church… Love it! And I feel like I can get something out of any message anyone is speaking regardless of denomination as long as God is there… However, there’s nothing like being where God wants you to be. You’ll go from just relating and understanding the message to feeling like the Reverend is speaking to YOU! There will be ministries you can participate and thrive in. And these things are what will give you something to live for.

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At my church home (Great Commission Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX) the Helping Hands Recovery Ministry is… Well, it’s exactly what the name says it is- Helping Hands. People who understand addiction- either because they were once addicts or because they have a passion for seeing lives restored from addiction. They attend Conventions, meetings, and retreats together all of which are for Overcomers. My mom is in the ministry and I really believe that it has aided in her sobriety TREMENDOUSLY! It gave her some thing to look forward to around people who understood what she was feeling or had felt and the support she really needed that family or her children couldn’t sometimes give because of the frustration.

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Some of the Helping Hands Recovery Ministry at their Annual Retreat. My mom is the lil short one in light blue. (what’s up Mom?!)

What are some other great programs and/or ministries for recovery?

Im interested to know so I can begin to feature ministries and programs in particular places when I do these “Tool Time” posts. So please, comment and follow the blog if you haven’t already. Also, if you would like your story to be featured on Sober Saturday email me at jamiedreamsbig.com. Share your journey with us! Were all proud of anyone who is clean or even wants to be clean… We’re all fighting SOMETHING!! Reach back and help pull someone if you’ve made it. MUAH!!

Sober Saturday: James Harold Berry- My Daddy!!

Hey guys!! I’m so excited to start Sober Saturday AND to begin with my Dad. He’s a very outgoing person, will do anything to help anyone, a DIE HARD Dallas Cowboy’s fan, and is always the life of the party! In fact, his friends call him “HAPP”.. short for Happy. He’s one of those people that you just love to be around! He’s traveled, done some thing’s and, seen some things.  In his addiction though, he can change to a completely different person. Angry and even verbally abusive at times… addiction changes him COMPLETELY!! He’s doing a lot better and I’m so happy that he’s decided to share his point of view with us all and I really hope that someone can gain something from it. Here goes…

 

This story is entitled “The Life Long Journey of James H. Berry”…

It begins at a very young age. Junior High was the beginning of experimenting with marijuana and alcohol… I thought this was cool but now I know that was my first mistake. I loved school but after the experimenting started my grades dropped from A’s and B’s to B’s and C’s. Of course, this didn’t sit well with my Mother. I began to rebel and disrespect my parents. Tough love started when my Mom tossed me out at 15 or 16 years old for my behavior and bad habits, but after about 6 months I went home, graduated from school, and decided to go to the Army. It was a way of getting away from home not knowing that my habits would escalate and that I would go from first to fourth gear very fast. Life was good if you call that staying full of something on a daily basis. So I started to experiment with all types of drugs. (You know the phrase “young and dumb”) I actually thought it was cool for my friends to say “You cant miss Harold…” So I’m not gonna waste time trying to name all of the drugs that I tried… What a list that would be!!

I fell in love with cocaine and my addiction to it led me down some rocky roads and when I think of the money I spent on that it makes me wonder if I would still be here now if I really had money. By this time, I was already a Dad but hadn’t really enjoyed anything in life BUT drugs. After the time in the Army I continued to use drugs so we’re gonna fast forward a little bit. I got out of the Army and went to College for 2 years but now I was living in Los Angeles and there’s A LOT of drugs. I fed my addiction, it grew, and drugs became my life. (Fast forward) 45 years old and its my first time in trouble with a felony- of course, possession of a controlled substance. I was sentenced to 5 years. I served 9 months in a state penitentiary, 9 months in a Rehab program, and was released to serve the remaining time on parole. After a dirty UA I was then sent to another Rehab program. YEARS of my life wasted! I am now 60 years old and my body tells me that I’m not young anymore. I know that all of the drug use has caught up with me. My journey is not over, I wont lie. But it’s getting or has gotten a lot better. I have some goals set for 2014. Writing this is like making a confession. I never thought that I would live to get this old. God is good!

This message is to my beloved baby girl who showed me nothing but love through out this journey: Thank You for all of the understanding and believing in me!

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I know I’m an addict and I try to work on things everyday. I have a few habits still hanging around but hopefully one day I’ll be able to say something different. Thanks for allowing me to share my story… -HAPP

 

Daddy- Dude! I’m so proud of you!!- JNB

PLEASE EMAIL JAMIEDREAMSBIG@GMAIL.COM IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY OR TESTIMONY!