08 Apr Dawn’s Recovery Story
One powerful image was burned in Dawn Beiser’s mind the morning she woke up in jail after overdosing on heroin: the thought of her son and two daughters standing over her casket. “In my head I could hear my kids at my funeral saying, ‘Why didn’t my mom love me enough? Why wasn’t I good enough? Why did she love drugs more than me?’” Dawn’s voice breaks as she speaks. “I didn’t want to go out like that.” This was Dawn’s reality as she struggled with her addiction to heroin – a reality that drove her to take the first step towards recovery. “I was determined, I had to do this,” she said. “I knew it was now or never, I was going to die.”
A slippery slope
At the age of nine, Dawn caught her mother using crack cocaine. She was living in a house in Cleveland with her mother, her stepfather and three siblings – two brothers and a baby sister. As her mother’s oldest daughter her role was caretaker of her siblings, too young to understand the gravity of the situation. But Dawn understood. She understood when her parents started using in front of her after that since she already knew. Why hide it? She understood when people visited her home that they were there to buy drugs. And she understood that when the police raided their home multiple times, the rule was to sit down and keep your mouth shut. “It’s all I knew. That was my normal,” said Dawn, now 40. “I didn’t know there was something different, that’s what I knew.”
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