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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration


Last Updated: 7/7/2008

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)

 

Dawn's Story

I was in my fifth year of recovery from substance abuse when I found out there was something else going on with me. Looking back, I can see that it was depression that I hoped to hide from in using drugs and alcohol. I had to be talked out of my bed in the morning. I would hear other people talking, but I was too numb to understand what they were saying to me.

Finally, a friend suggested I see my doctor, who recommended I visit a psychiatrist. I started therapy while participating in a 12-step recovery program at the same time. The psychiatrist started me on Prozac, but it didn't work for me. I was still in a deep depression. I was then given Wellbutrin. It not only helped my mind to slow down, so I could think of one thing at a time, it helped me stop smoking cigarettes. Finally, I was able to take that first step toward full recovery.

I've been delivered from the medication for a little over 3 years now. There are times when life seems overwhelming, and I would consider going back on the medication, but I concentrate on the relationship I have with God, saying to myself I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and God would never leave me nor forsake me. It gives me so much power to face anything that comes up. My Christianity has been the most important thing to me.

I am a member at a great church in the city of Sunrise, FL, called The Faith Center. I participate in the Overcomer Ministry with people who have overcome drugs, alcohol, and many other things. I'm also with the drama ministry, as well as a women's ministry outside of my church called Woman 2 Woman. We have a monthly breakfast to minister to women who are broken in spirit. The goals are to raise money to get houses for women coming out of prison, so they will have a safe place to come to, rebuild their credit and relationships with their family, and become productive members of society.

I asked God to use me—and I am willing to be used. I'm not afraid or ashamed of what I went through. I want my life to be about helping people to get to the other side.

I have been an employee for 3 years at the same detox treatment program that I was a client of several times. I am a social worker-aide/peer mentor. I run groups in the detox unit 5 days a week and twice a week with the chemically addicted mentally ill (CAMI). I am preparing to take the State board test for my Certified Associate Addiction Professional-1 in September. Often, people with the dual diagnoses hide behind the addiction because of the stigma associated with the mental illness. But now help is everywhere and people are coming out of the boxes they've been in for years.

Thinking back a little over 3 years ago, I could not have imagined being and feeling so free. I can see a big change in me. Before, I wanted to die, and now every day is like a new beginning for me. I can't get enough. I stay grateful for everything. That is my medication today, God.

Dawn



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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.