April 2024

My name is Dawn, and I’m a recovering addict. My clean date is April 22, 2020.

I was born in North Florida and raised in South Florida. I never felt like I fit in. I had amazing parents that loved me and provided for me. I never went without anything. We were a middle-class family living in the suburbs of Broward County. My sister, who is 6 years older than me, was the “good daughter,” and I was the “rebellious one.” My parents divorced when I was 11 years old. My sister had already moved out prior to my parent’s divorce, and when my dad left, I continued to live with my mom. 

My mother was an alcoholic. All she did at night was drink until she passed out. That opened the door for me to do whatever I wanted. I would sneak out of the house after she passed out to go meet with friends who were much older than me. We would drink and smoke for the rest of the night. I became uncontrollable, and I would throw parties on the weekends for practically the entire High School. My parents wanted to put me in a home for delinquent minors, but my stepmother intervened. She suggested I move in with her and my father. That’s when a change in me began. I began to grow up.

I was able to elevate my life through the support of my father and stepmother. I bought my first house, met my first husband, and I became a mother.

Life was good, but after the birth of my son, my search for escape returned. Using drugs and alcohol became a daily thing. As time went on my disease progressed at a rapid rate. I stole, cheated, and lied to get my drugs. I got divorced, remarried, divorced, remarried, divorced, remarried, and divorced again.

I thought a relationship would make me feel whole. After my first divorce, BSO stepped in, but it did not stop me. Even overdosing several times did not stop me. I did not care if the good Lord took me because that would mean that the pain would stop. It wasn’t until my soul felt like a huge black hole, and I was physically, mentally, and spiritually broken that I knew something had to change. At the end of my active addiction, my stepmother told me that my father loves me, but no longer likes me. I have always been a daddy’s girl, even in my addiction. This was devastating, but it led me to surrender finally and completely.

I went to treatment and became teachable. As the new chapter of my life began, I went to Fellowship RCO’s Women’s Recovery Residence after I completed treatment. Fellowship RCO has become a huge part of my recovery. I am a member of Narcotics Anonymous and I have a sponsor. The combination of the experience of living at Fellowship RCO’s Recovery Residence, the expectations, and accountability has completely changed my life. I have spent the last 4 years focusing on myself and changing every aspect of my life. 

I have maintained employment with the same company for 3 ½ years and was recently hired as a Recovery Peer Specialist with Broward Health. I have my family back. I was estranged from my sister for 30 years. We have been able to reconnect, and she tells me she loves me. My father not only loves and likes me, but he is proud of me. Recently, my mother passed away and the thought of using did not even enter my mind.

The support I have from my sisters in recovery is like no other. I thank God everyday for the life he gave me 4 years ago. I thought I was unreachable. Today, I wouldn’t change the peace, love, stability, and family I have now for anything in the world.