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!

New Resources & Tools!!

Guess what you guys?

I’ve added helpful information to the  Resources & Tools page!! I’m so excited just knowing that I’ve got a pretty good list started on programs that could possibly help even just one person be restored from Addiction. It’s awesome!

I have to tell you that I was actually contacted by someone with this information which is RARE! Ms. Brenda, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Alcohol Awareness Council, emailed me asking if I’d be interested in Resources to add to the list already listed on the blog. So of course I said YES! It is an act that I’ll forever be grateful for and the perfect example of someone with more information reaching out to help. I love it!

The sources that she sent me are Project Know and Heroin.net and both of them are absolutely perfect for anyone looking for help with addiction. You can even specify your location and get helpful information for the area you live in!! Please visit the Resources & Tools page and the websites listed if you are seeking help. It’s all there!!

*I currently live in New Orleans, LA and Ms. Brenda was nice enough to include the links for the New Orleans area. If you follow the hyperlinks above it will lead you straight to the New Orleans pages for each website.

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!

 

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: 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: 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.