Hope changes lives. Hope is much more than mere wishful thinking—it is the foundation of moving forward, a reminder of your own resiliency and the ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other. For Dawn, hope became her entire world.
Dawn started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana when she was 12 years old. Things quickly progressed to cocaine and psychedelics by the age of 16. Then meth, fentanyl, and other opioids by the age of 19. Dawn describes this stage in her life as reckless. She was young, and a life of substance use was all she really knew— her own mother, boyfriend, and her network of friends were all users. Her usage progressed quickly, until she ultimately lost control.
Dawn was five months into her pregnancy before even knowing she was in fact pregnant. Shortly thereafter, Dawn unexpectedly went into labor, months before her due date. Unable to get down the stairs of a third story apartment building, she called 911. Right as the paramedics arrived, her daughter Hope was born. Hope was born ‘hot’, meaning she was born dependent on and with drugs in her system. According to the Department of Human Services, when this occurs, it is immediately classified child neglect. After spending some time in the NICU, Hope was taken straight from the hospital into DHS custody.
Dawn knew that from that day forward her life needed to change. Her own mother also became sober the day she was born, and Dawn was determined to follow that example and change her life around for the better. Dawn describes her decision to enroll into The Women’s Recovery Center at Mind Springs Health her only option if she wanted to regain custody of her daughter. She states that her time living there ultimately saved her life.
“Without the staff at WRC, I would still be using today and very possibly dead.”
Dawn successfully completed her 90 day recovery program at the Women’s Recovery Center, but remained living in Mind Springs’ Transitional Living Center another five months. During that time, she fought to regain child custody and prove her sustained recovery status. And that’s exactly what she did.
“If I wouldn’t have had the support at WRC, I wouldn’t have my daughter today. It took the support of the entire staff over months fighting on my behalf. They supported me, my decision to take back my life, and my transition to a safe, sober, and healthy living environment.”
Today, Dawn has full custody of her daughter Hope. The two of them live in Oxford living, a sober living environment that assists those transitioning into a life of recovery. Dawn attends recovery meetings weekly: Oxford Chapter meetings, Peer 180, AA, NA, and Intensive Outpatient classes at Mind Springs Health. When asked what advice she’d give to others, she simply stated, “stick it out.”
Dawn described her decision to even show up to our interview as difficult and uncomfortable, but wants to be an inspiration to others and give back to those that need the same help.
“I know people struggling have many days of hopelessness. But the longer you stick it out, the longer you stay sober, the longer you find stability, the better you will become.”
Dawn’s daughter, Hope, was named after the EMT who helped deliver her safely into this world. However, Hope also became synonymous with the hope Dawn possessed on her own road to a successful recovery — her saving grace. Hope changes lives.