True Story: Dawn

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Dawn: A True story of substance abuse, treatment, & recovery

I grew up in Brooklyn, where both of my parents were heavily involved with drugs. By the age of twelve, I began experimenting with marijuana and alcohol. My father, who was a dealer at the time, supported my addiction, introducing me to crack cocaine on my sixteenth birthday.

Feeling trapped and alone, I ran away from home at fifteen. At the age of sixteen, I was using crack every day and by nineteen, I was homeless, spending most nights sleeping on park benches. Desperate for help, I entered Phoenix House in March 1989, when I was twenty-one. I immediately found the counselors and staff understanding and open-minded. They taught me that I had to become a better person to myself first, before I could become a better person to others. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of dignity; I could hold my head high without feeling beneath everyone.

My time at Phoenix House’s Long Island City program gave me true friends, a newfound purpose, and a fresh start. I now have my own title insurance business in Florida, named after the phoenix bird, whose mythology resembles my own rise above addiction. Today, twenty years sober, I still use the tools I learned.

Share this page: Print this page:


  • susan robbins

    you can contact me i am a graduate of ph 1992 and will be greatful for the rest of my life how phoenix house taught me how to love myself have dignity and self respect on may 9,2013 almost twenty three years sobriety thank god

  • maria

    Congradts to you I wish yu all the luck and glad to hear you are doing well. I only pray that my 32 year old daughter who addicted to meth will get the same kind of help. Alot of sleep less nights just wondering if she is dead or alive out there in the srtees.

  • ljohnson

    Maria, We are so sorry to hear of your daughter’s struggle. We passed your message to our clinical team who will reach out, or if you’d like to speak with somebody at Phoenix House immediately, please call 1 888 671 9392.

More True Stories