Education Office – Administrative Assistant
My name is Dawn and I am 49 years old. I grew up in a Christian home with a dad who taught me about the Lord. I loved going to church and at the age of 11 I gave my heart to Jesus. At the age of 12 my dad molested me and I wanted nothing to do with God. I felt betrayed, abandoned and confused. I turned to drugs and alcohol at the age of 13 and continued throughout most of my life. Because I had good jobs making good money I thought I was okay. I worked for Prudential Insurance Company for 10 years and after that worked in Manhattan for 16 years as an accounting assistant. I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 21 and was divorced at the age of 26. I also ended up in my first rehab for alcohol and free-basing cocaine. I stayed clean for many years but I was always missing something, always empty inside and never really happy.
I met my boyfriend, John, and we were together for 16 years. On May 9, 2005 my world came crashing down yet again. I got a call from John and he was having problems breathing. He said he was going to lie down. He died a few hours after that phone call. The autopsy said bronchial pneumonia. He was 45 years old. I was the sole beneficiary on his life insurance policy. I received $200,000 in August and lost my job of 16 years in September. I went on a mission of destruction. The Marriott, Comfort Inn and Ramada became my home for the next 8 months until the money ran out. I had a never-ending supply of heroin, crack, alcohol, and pills every day.
I was arrested for the first time in 42 years. My life was out of control and I was living in hell with nothing but utter evil around me. I wanted to die and I tried just that. I was living at my mom’s in her basement and I decided to end my life. I wrote her a note explaining how sorry I was but I couldn’t go on anymore. Everyone would be better off this way. I snuck out of the house at 1:00 a.m. and went to the railroad tracks with a bottle of vodka. I polished off half of the bottle and sat on the tracks and waited for the train to come. I knew a train came every 20 minutes or so. In the distance a man was calling me over. I ignored him, but he was persistent. I told him I was busy. He said, “Lady, you know a train is going to come, right?” I told him I knew and I was waiting to catch the next one. He insisted I come and talk to him. So I staggered over to him and we walked down the block. Here was a homeless guy who had nothing, telling me why I should live. I argued with him about that point and then heard the whistle of the train. I believe God sent an angel in my path that early morning to save me for something so much better.
I entered Teen Challenge in Brooklyn, NY in 2007. I went through the program and eventually became staff there. I lost my job and relapsed about three months later. I called the Walter Hoving Home and came in for restoration in 2011. I am now interning at the Home and I can’t begin to tell you how much I love working in ministry. I get to see lives changed here every day and I get to give back what was given to me. I never thought my life would end up here. I love the Lord and I am so grateful and thankful every day how He picked me up and took me out of my mess. There was a time in my life I couldn’t even say “Jesus,” and now I can’t stop saying “Jesus.” The verse I leave you with is 1 John 2:17 – “The world and its desires will pass away but whoever does the will of God will live forever.”