Freedom Song: Just Me and Drugs, One Happy Family :(

By Jamie Zabludowski

“For as long as I could remember I felt like I didn’t fit in, in school, on the streets, at family dinners, I couldn’t shake this unbearable feeling that I didn’t belong… so I created my own escape.”

For 4 years I was immersed in a very dark heroin addiction. I lost my friends, my family, but most importantly I lost my soul. I was in and out of treatment centers and couldn’t find my inner most self. That is, until I came to Beit T’Shuvah fresh off of being homeless in Florida. I left everything that was familiar to me in Miami without looking back.

I spent two months figuring out how to speak again. Once I found that courage to open up, I joined Freedom Song as an understudy, not really knowing what to expect. Freedom Song is an original musical/play put on by residents and alumni of Beit T’Shuvah. It follows the inspiring real-life stories of 18 addicts sharing a Passover Seder very different than all others. The immensely moving stories and songs form the need for a broader understanding of the disease of addiction. More than a play, Freedom Song is a real life drama that opened my eyes and changed my life.

When I first moved into Beit T’Shuvah I couldn’t form a full sentence. I was completely closed off to everybody–I wasn’t sharing anything about myself, or my past. At first, being a member of the cast was scary. I remember at my first rehearsal, being told, “You need to project! Project Jamie! Project!” And my response was a quiet, “I don’t know how to.” I remember sitting in my room one night with a veteran of the cast and felt as if the words of my character were my own. I realized how similar my story was to my character’s story; in fact they paralleled almost seamlessly.

My first performance was in Irvine about two months ago. I projected and felt every word as I performed. This play has allowed me to find that hidden voice I shut out for so many years. Freedom Song gets every single person in the cast to not hold back and do something different. Who would have thought that I’d go from a homeless heroin addict to performing in front of hundreds of people singing and dancing in a musical?

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11 thoughts on “Freedom Song: Just Me and Drugs, One Happy Family :(

  1. Thank you for sharing your story.
    I’m pleased Freedom Song along with Beit T’ Shuvah has given you the courage to identify yourself and allow you to speak and express who you are and what you want from your life.
    Wishing you all the best for your future sober life.

    1. Jamie Zabludowski February 16, 2011 — 1:23 pm

      Arlene, thank you for the reply. Freedom song is just one aspect of Beit T’Shuvah which has given me my new life of sobriety and happiness. I never thought being a part of a play would have helped me maintain my sobriety throughout this year. It’s just one aspect of how many things Beit T’Shuvah has to offer somebody in recovery

  2. You are awesome!


    1. Jamie Zabludowski February 17, 2011 — 11:52 am

      Thank you Barbara!!

  3. Nice job Jamie. I think you are a very lovely young lady!!

    1. Jamie Zabludowski February 17, 2011 — 11:54 am

      Thank you so much for reading this! Beit T’Shuvah has done wonders for me!

  4. Jamie, you did not speak in the first 4 months you were at Beit T’Shuvah and now your are a star in Freedom Song…who would have thought? Not me! Sitting in rehearsals and watching you set an example for the new Freedom Song cast is wonderful! I just love it!

  5. I am so happy that you are in FReedome Song. I remember when you got into the house and I would have ever expected that you woulod ever be a part of freedom song. You have found you voice and I am so proud of you! Keep on going girl!!!

  6. Jamie, it is just an incredible inspiration to watch you blossom. I can’t wait to finally get to see Freedom Song and hope you are in it when I go. WHEN will it be local again???

    Jae (Amy’s Mom!)

    1. Jae, there is a performance of Freedom Song at Beit T’Shuvah during Passover on April 20th. I don’t believe that tickets are available yet, but keep checking back because we will post them on the Facebook as soon as they are!

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