Kojo: Can you tell me about your childhood life?
Dawn: My parents were easy on me when I was me, they never punished me for anything and I was a bad kid in school which eventually led to me smoking marijuana at a young age that led to other drugs and I was a great athlete but I wasn’t able to participate because of my grades and that took off to a 25 year addiction but I wouldn’t say I had a bad childhood but my parents never punished you for anything.
Kojo: So, what led to you using drugs?
Dawn: I was born an addict, 85% of the people that are addicted are born that way, they inherited the genes from their parents. All my mother’s brothers were alcoholics, they all died from alcoholism, so I was an addict when I was born, and it was only a matter of me picking up the drugs and that led to a 25-year addiction
Kojo: So, was your mom also an addict?
Dawn: no, all her brothers, my sister and my brother were also addicts so you inherited that.
Kojo: at what age did you start using drugs?
Dawn: 13/14 freshmen in high school I started drinking and hanging out with the wrong people.
Kojo: did it affect anyone in your family?
Dawn: yeah it affects everyone. Yeah it affects them I guess knowing that I was doing the wrong thing.
Kojo: So, do you still talk to your family?
Dawn: My mom and I are best friends because I have been 27 years clean. I got clean when I was 36, I have 27 years clean, no drugs or alcohol so I’m good friends with my mom and my whole family now.
Kojo: So, have you or any member of your family being overdosed, or have you had a near death experience?
Dawn: Yes, I would have to say yes, I did.
Kojo: At what age?
Dawn: probably when I was in my 30’s I got clean when I was 36, I’m 64 now so when I was in the end of my addiction in my 30’s, I had near death experiences. Shooting a lot of drugs, I stuck needles in my arms.
Kojo: Did it make you violent?
Dawn: Violent? No, I was basically a loner by myself. I didn’t really have no friends I did my own thing.
Kojo: Who introduced you to drugs?
Dawn: Listen I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, everyone was smoking marijuana back then and that’s how we go to school smoking weed and drinking beer before we go to school.
Kojo: Do people treat you differently because of your past?
Dawn: No, I don’t think so. I think people look up to me because I’ve been clean a long time and I help a lot of people today. I still go to meetings because I’m still trying to help young people like you that are still messing up.
Kojo: What happens in those meetings?
Dawn: Recovery. Recovery offers a transformation of the mind. The disease of addiction is a brain thing. It’s your brain that’s addicted so recovery offers a change of your mind to think differently and act differently towards the use of drugs which is a very hard thing to come to. Accepting that fact, you are drug addict and can’t use drugs its’s hard. Because only God could remove that addiction from you, only God has that power. We’re weak people by nature if we continue to put ourselves in bad situations, we’re always going to be bad.
Kojo: Have you lost anybody to drug or alcohol?
Dawn: yes, a hundred’s of people. Not family members but friends from recovery. Drug use with a lot of health problems.
Kojo: So, you took drugs because you wanted to fit
Dawn: Yes, I wanted to fit in I wanted to be a hood and that was wrong. I was a bad kid from 9th grade on, no school work no nothing.