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Dragons to Butterflies

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“I was angry with everyone that said they loved me, or anyone who said they were my friend. I did not trust anyone! The more someone said they cared, the closer they were watched. My revenge was theft. Once someone told me they were my friend or that they cared for me, soon thereafter they lost something that meant something to them. Usually, it was something they really cared about. My dad had always said, ‘Do unto others before they do unto you, and they will always do unto you.’ What he didn’t say was, ‘And I’m the one who will do unto you the most.'”

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Description

Johnnie Calloway grew up in a small town in Kentucky. His mother passed away when he was 5, leaving him to grow up with his father who he describes as a sexually-confused, angry alcoholic. Calloway fell into drug addiction, alcoholism and battles with mental illness before finding healing through forgiveness. In “Dragons to Butterflies: The Metamorphosis of a Man” (published by Balboa Press), the author chronicles his abusive relationship with his father and the steps that led him to recovery.

“An astrologist told me that I was supposed to write in 1991 and I then wrote ‘Taming the Dragon,’” Calloway says, adding, “The object is not to conquer the dragon but to tame him and make him an ally.”

Calloway hopes to expose the darkness of child abuse and give “a voice to those kept silent by fear, guilt, and shame.”

“Dragons to Butterflies”
By Johnnie Calloway
Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 248 pages | ISBN 9781504354127
Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 248 pages | ISBN 9781504354103
E-Book | 250 pages | ISBN 9781504354110
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Learn more about Dragons to Butterflies and Johnnie’s writing of the book by watching the book trailer below:

Trailer


Excerpt

“I was angry with everyone that said they loved me, or anyone who said they were my friend. I did not trust anyone! The more someone said they cared, the closer they were watched. My revenge was theft. Once someone told me they were my friend or that they cared for me, soon thereafter they lost something that meant something to them. Usually, it was something they really cared about. My dad had always said, ‘Do unto others before they do unto you, and they will always do unto you.’ What he didn’t say was, ‘And I’m the one who will do unto you the most.'”

Click here to view First Chapter


Reviews

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1 - 5
A highly readable, if occasionally blunt, exploration of recovery.

Calloway (Taming the Dragon, 1991) offers a memoir about abuse, addiction, and eventual redemption.

Beginning with the death of the author’s mother when he was 5, it’s obvious from the outset that a troubled childhood is afoot. He had undiminishing guilt over his mother’s passing (“Even my mom’s dad was constantly telling me that momma wouldn’t have died if she hadn’t given birth to me”), an abusive father, and a self-destructive sister, and he seemed destined for later personal problems. His biggest one, however, arrived in the form of substance abuse. The author describes the first time he experimented with alcohol: “I drank, got drunk, blacked out, passed out, came to and wanted to do it again.” These experiences led eventually to arrests, harder drugs, and plenty of missing time: “The time line of the events in my life from the ages of twenty and twenty three are a little hazy.” It wasn’t until a 12-step program and exposure to a religious class called “A Course in Miracles” that things began to turn around. Though his struggle to get his life on track wasn’t easy, he includes details, such as his asking for forgiveness from those he wronged, which help to make the story personable. Some descriptions do prove dry, however, as when the author depicts his father as having “the bigger than life gravelly voice, the stern matter of fact demeanor and the physical prowess.” However, what the story lacks in polish it makes up for in sheer honesty; the author includes accounts of relapses and behavior that few would be proud of. This frankness will surely appeal to readers who are eager for a warts-and-all journey of self-discovery.

A highly readable, if occasionally blunt, exploration of recovery.

You Can’t Make this Stuff Up!

Johnnie has written a wonderfully detailed account of his life…so far. I look forward to reading the next chapter! Even though I have read and heard hundreds of stories of addiction and recovery, this one is captivating. By telling us about his childhood abuse, we can understand much of the rest of his journey, yet the twists and turns are often unexpected. You can’t make this stuff up! I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in, especially those dealing with, addiction, recovery and resolving trauma and abuse. Great job, Johnnie! I feel like I know you and I am awaiting the next one!

Touching and Inspiring History of Addiction and Awareness

I receive a lot of books from colleagues and friends. This one I took my time reading and finished it in a night. Excellently written, painfully honest, and even earnest in the telling of how childhood abuse turns highly sensitive children towards drugs and alcohol. Johnnie is candid about his past and the need to take his history and use it to help others struggling with addiction. One of the rare books that I didn’t want to put down until the last page was read.

5 out of 5 stars – A Fantastic Memoir and Bravery!

What an exceptionally written book and writer Author, Johnnie Calloway is! A true memoirist. As a child, what this man went through and the dysfunctional family dynamic didn’t surprise me that it sent him on a long journey of seeking, affirmation, self-sabotage, and turning to addiction. We seem to forget or not taught when starting to recover; we need to begin the “inner work” of processing the horrific trauma to heal in “Wellness.”

This book proves and is a testament to never giving up and having resilience into Triumph in recovery no matter how lost we are. The chapter that “touched” me the most was Chapter 17, “The Aftermath.” The author starts out; “Humiliation became a way of life for me. I ran into everything head first, hoping to find the one thing, one person, or substance to make me OKAY.”

What a powerful statement as I knew what he was saying. I did this myself in my aftermath of childhood trauma and abuse and had turned to addiction. This book gives an in-depth look at a person who can and has found his way to “other side.”

Was it easy? NO. But with the bravery and courage, Johnnie has found along his journey some peace and serenity and let it go! Life events are just as traumatic, like the death of a parent, which affected the author deeply when his mother passed at his age of five. He spent years blaming himself that he held part of her passing. It started a cycle of self-sabotage and feeling unworthy of anything good in his life.

Reading this book is must read for all and shares no matter how deep our past pain and scars are?

We can we recover no matter the roadblocks in our way!

Johnnie is now on a quest to share what he has learned along his journey to share and give hope to others. Just an amazing true story and read!

“In Recovery Magazine” Columnist, Catherine Lyon

“Dragons to Butterflies” is the best book I have read in a very long time

I am not a book reader, it really needs to catch my attention within a few pages. Hands down, “Dragons to Butterflies” is the best book I have read in a very long time. Johnnie Calloway-never underestimate the positive influence and impact you have had with so many lives. Your honesty, integrity and caring soul shine through every single page. You never gave up, you kept on picking yourself up and moving forward. Inspiration is the word that comes to my mind when I think of you and honored to have met you and come into my life.

That incorrect belief and being brought up by a family who was unable to raise kids in a safe and loving environment caused John

Read this book. Dragons to Butterflies is the true story of a little boy who believes he caused his Mother”s death. That incorrect belief and being brought up by a family who was unable to raise kids in a safe and loving environment caused Johnnie to become a young man who continually sabotaged his own happiness and success. The story is well written and proves that one’s life can be changed when facing incredible odds against it. Johnnie shares his very personal story to encourage anyone who is facing their own “dragons”. His honesty and strong desire to help others is evident as you read about his ability to overcome and emerge as the phenomenal adult he is today.

His lifelong passion to give-in and give-up somehow translated into his beautiful strength to persevere

Dragons to Butterflies is a heartfelt, true story about a man’s very difficult journey through life. If you believe you have had challenges in life and wonder if you can ever overcome, you must read this book. Johnnie’s life story brought tears to my eyes, made me angry at life’s injustices and yet somehow made me laugh. You’ll will walk away knowing that you are not alone in your challenges and that there are absolutely answers. His lifelong passion to give-in and give-up somehow translated into his beautiful strength to persevere. His life story delivers a vision of hope and belief that there is a way, to those that for good reason, simply cannot currently see or believe.

Amazing! Must read!!

This book is amazing! It is a true story about the authors life. He takes you through his childhood, a childhood that nobody should have to suffer through, and into his struggles, as a man, with alcohol, drugs and women. He tells of how he overcame his “dragons” and when he fell down, he got back up again. This book is such an inspiration to those who think life, a clean and happy life, isn’t worth fighting for. It shows that even if you make mistakes, you can try again. This man suffered more than any ten people should and yet, he is doing his best to see to it that others know they are not alone in this type of struggle! It is a must read!!

Highly Recommended!!

This tells the author’s life story, from an abusive childhood, to alcoholism and drug abuse, through the long and difficult road back to a sober and productive adulthood. Although Johnnie’s story is uplifting, it is not a fairytale. His successes are often followed by setbacks. But still, he manages to persevere, which in the end is what his story is about. It’s a very difficult read, but well worth it. 5 stars!