85% of the people that are addicted are born that way, they inherited the genes from their parents.
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.
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 I started drinking and hanging out with the wrong people.
Kojo: did it affect anyone in your family?
Dawn: yeah it affects everyone.
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 family now.
Kojo: Do they still use drugs?
Dawn: My sister still uses
Kojo: So, do you try to help her?
Dawn: listen you can’t help someone that don’t want help.
Kojo: Do you have any regrets?
Dawn: I don’t think so no. I’m grateful for everything that took place because I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t go through the hell hole that I went through.
Kojo: How do you feel about drugs right now?
Dawn: I don’t use them. I feel like a lot of people in the world are using drugs, there’s people dying every minute. I was at a meeting the other night, a kid said 3 of his friends died that week due to overdose. It’s dangerous very dangerous a lot more dangerous than what I used.
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 I 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 we’re weak people 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: yea a hundred of people. Not family members but friends from recovery. Drug use with a lot of health problems.
Kojo: What drugs did you start using?
Dawn: Pills, Downers.
Kojo: so how did you get them?
Dawn: My friends had them, and they were drug dealers. It’s easy to get them because my best friend was a drug dealer and he always had them, so I had easy access to them.
Kojo: So, when you don’t have money, how do you get the drugs?
Dawn: You do anything to get them either you steal, you rob people, you sell stuff.
Kojo: have you ever stolen from your mom?
Dawn: I have done that a lot and can never repay her. I stole hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everything she had I stole.
Kojo: did you go to college?
Dawn: Never went to college, I graduated high school with one credit.
Kojo: Then you started using drugs your whole life?
Dawn: Yeah, my whole life until I got clean. I have a lot of stories, a drug story and a story of recovery. I lost a wife when I had ten years clean with cancer.
Kojo: Did she also use drugs?
Dawn: No. I never used drugs with her because I met her in recovery. I never had a girlfriend when I was using because a bad of dope was the love of my life, I didn’t have time for that.
Kojo: So, do you have a story about your addiction?
Dawn: Yeah, I do 25 years, I became an addict on methadone lines. It’s the worst place you can ever go as a drug addict. It’s a juicy drink that blocks all of the other drugs. When you take methadone, you can’t take other drugs but it’s the worst thing you could take and it’s the hardest thing to get off or detox off.
Kojo: How long does it take to detox/ kick in?
Dawn: It takes months to kick in and methadone kicks in immediately you take it.
Kojo: So, you took drugs just to fit in?
Dawn: Yeah, 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 and no nothing.