Dawn's Story

Before I came to Beacon of Life, I went through a tough divorce that hit me hard. Instead of dealing with my emotions in a healthy way, I started using drugs to mask everything I was feeling and to camouflage my pain as something manageable. Pretty soon I had several drug charges and was pulled over on three different occasions for drug related issues. I was arrested on two aggravated misdemeanors and sentenced to prison.

Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to go on parole at Beacon of Life. Taking that chance was the best decision I’ve ever made (besides my children, of course). I was nervous at first, but I was also excited. The women at the Beacon welcomed me with open arms on July 17, 2015. They were helpful and encouraging until the day I successfully graduated the program on November 25.

My time at Beacon of Life was a wonderful experience. The staff was always there for me, giving me courage and supporting me on my way to recovery. The most important thing about these women is that they don’t just tell you what you should do; they help you carefully plan out the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. They gave me the tools to help me achieve a better life. I put in 100 percent of my effort and used the program to the max because I wanted a better life than the one I had before.

The expectation was for everyone to have respect for each other. I had a few friends before coming to the Beacon, but after this experience I feel like I have lifelong friends — friends who are actually good for me to be around, who support me, and who are not going to drag me down. Above all, I received endless moral support from everyone at the Beacon. They pushed me to be strong, independent and self-reliant. Now, I have a full time job and am part of a union. I’m excelling and recently got a raise. I have my own house where I hosted Thanksgiving surrounded by my family (which was huge) and my kids come over every weekend. We even decorated a tree for Christmas. I’m particularly excited about finishing my degree in business management, which I work on at night. I’m also in the process of getting my driver’s license back after a year-and-a-half suspension. The thing that makes all this so much more meaningful is that now I can be someone my kids are proud of. There is no more letting them down.

Without the Beacon, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I probably wouldn’t have gained the confidence and accomplished all the goals I’m working on now. It’s hard to believe I’m doing so well. Even though I’d like to think I would have figured it out myself, I know that I needed the Beacon. I wish every woman had the opportunity to come here when things are down in their lives. I once felt helpless and depressed, and I didn’t know what to do. I had no direction when it came to my future. Now, my future is bright, and every day I set new goals for myself. I am beyond happy.

I go back to the Beacon every chance I get to see Pat, one of my favorite resident assistants, and Julie and Keshia, the ladies in charge. I know that if it wasn’t for their faith in me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s so much easier to believe in yourself when so many smart, wonderful women believe in you, too.