and Slowly, I Got Better

November 29, 2019 

October 8, 2018, was not a good day. 

After choosing to start drinking again after five plus years of continuous sobriety, after countless attempts to remain sober over the course of several years, after two failed suicide attempts that I knew were just screams for attention and help, I finally made the decision that I was done with life.  That I no longer wanted attention or a momentary escape; that I finally gave up on me and my life.

With the television blaring in the background at 3 p.m., I attempted suicide for the third time I wanted to die with every fiber in my being.

My first vague recollection was the emergency room and then, at 4 a.m. the next day I opened my eyes to a nurse taking my vitals and asked her, “Where am I? What happened?”  After being told that I was indeed still alive I was furious, I was such a loser that I couldn’t even kill myself correctly.  

Several hours later, the nurse returned and said my EKG came back abnormal.  They were not going to transfer me to the local psychiatric ward, they were admitting me to the cardiac unit. It appeared the pills I had ingested damaged my heart.  

By the grace of God, I was discharged from the hospital after a week and several rounds of normal EKG results. Upon my return home there was no “A-HA moment,” no “this time I am going to do it”, no “I’ve had enough”.  I was dead inside, I was like a robot. I met with my psychiatrist and upon his recommendation, I entered a partial hospitalization program. Every day, I attended sessions, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 pm for six months. And I showed up. Every day. And cried, screamed, cursed, stomped my feet, remained silent, listened, wrote down my traumas, my feelings, took the advice from my peers and my therapists. And slowly….slowly I got better.

It was Christmas of 2019; standing at the kitchen sink, I asked myself, “What am I going to do after this?” One simple thought entered my mind, and the answer was simple – ME.  I am going to rediscover myself. In that momentary thought, I knew I wanted to fulfill a lifelong dream I never thought I deserved – to attend baking and pastry school.

I shared my thoughts with my therapist.  She grabbed her desk phone and said “Here, call Promises Culinary School, right now. Call them!” I continued to take the advice and made the call.  One hour later, I was equipped with a date to take the placement exam and the contact information for the Ammon Foundation to assist financially in my schooling. I researched the Ammon website, I called and spoke to them and thus started the process of “me.”

Again, God’s grace carried me as I went through the scholarship application process, passed the school placement exam, was awarded a scholarship by Ammon Foundation and began to believe in myself and my dreams.  Promises Culinary suggested that I also apply to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) for financial assistance, as I was a perfect candidate. If I was accepted, perhaps the Ammon Scholarship could go to another student who would not qualify thru DVR.  Not only did I qualify, but I was awarded an INCREASED scholarship to cover 100% of the program. I immediately called Ammon to share the news and also share my concern that I still wanted to be affiliated with Ammon for all the wonderful assistance they provide outside of funding. Again, the answer was YES!

Through Ammon, I now work with a Recovery Coach. Through Ammon, I am part of the annual Recover Out Loud Leadership Summit.  Through Ammon, I am considered an “Ammon Recovery Scholar” and receive consistent check-in calls, support and guidance.

Today is one year and three weeks from the day I wanted to die and took the steps to achieve such.  I am a completely different human being.  I love myself.  I have honor, integrity, and character. I am four weeks from graduating with my degree in Culinary Arts/Baking and Pastry.  I am moving to York, PA and hope to be engaged by the end of 2019 to the very man who called 911 on October 8, 2018, and loved me enough to save my life.  I look in the mirror now when I brush my teeth. I sleep soundly when my head hits the pillow every night. I take pictures of sunrises and am greeted with thousands of puppy kisses every night.

I shine in the light of God’s beautiful grace.

– Dawn, Submitted on October 21, 2019

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services offers scholarships to qualified candidates who are attending two and four-year colleges, vocational and trade school. Check out your state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to see if you qualify for funding for school.

Promise Culinary Programs have graduated over 900 individuals in the culinary arts since 1997 with over 86% of students finding sustained employment in their respective culinary fields. Their state-certified vocational programs educate a diverse student body with affordable classes taught by professional staff reviewing culinary fundamentals and specializations.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.  Call 1-800-273-8255.

The Ammon Foundation believes that when individuals are holistically and strategically supported to build purposeful lives, the likelihood of them maintaining their recovery substantially increases. We provide this support via our Ammon Recovery Scholars Program. Our program goals include: removing financial barriers through financial scholarships; providing strategic support for recipients through offering personal, professional and academic support; and creating a supportive peer community committed to combating the stigma associated with addiction by promoting that recovery is possible. We are committed to giving away at least $100,000 in scholarships annually and are looking to fund education as a stepping stone to stable employment, safe housing and adequate healthcare. To find out more about our programs, or to apply for an educational scholarship, please click here or email scholarships@ammonfoundation.org.