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: 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!!