Years ago, my life was spiraling out of control due to drug and alcohol abuse. I reached a bottom where I believed there was no way out but death. I began to pray for help and guidance. My prayers were soon answered. The only requirement; I had to be willing to change everything about myself and I knew I could not do this alone.
A friend recommended a recovery house. I had no idea what a recovery house was or what to expect. Finally, a recovery house reached out to me, offering a safe, supportive, and structured place to live while walking through the recovery journey.
While living in this recovery house, I learned how to stand on my own two feet again and found compassion and companionship among the other women who lived there. I was never alone; someone was always there when life got almost too hard. I was surrounded by women who understood what I was feeling because they too were feeling the same pain. We bonded and grew throughout the time I lived in that house.
After leaving the house, I realized that other women in recovery could benefit from my experience. Soon, I started working for a new recovery house in the area. As Manager of the houses, I was able to learn and grow, while also teaching the men and women that became residents. Drawing from my own personal experiences, and using the resources available, I was able to teach the same structure and self‐reliance I had learned during my own recovery house residency. It was during this time as House Manager that I realized I wanted to have a recovery house of my own, so that I may pass on what I had learned and help as many women as possible.
I worked for these recovery houses for 5 years and then I met my high school crush at our 30-year class reunion. In 2008, we were married and moved to the Daytona Beach, FL, after he retired from 25 years of dedicated service to the United States Coast Guard. Soon after arriving in the area, I discovered there were no structured recovery houses geared toward women.
I was asked to sit on a committee for a local recovery house and this where I met a woman by the name of Janet White. Janet and I soon became good friends. She wanted to help me establish a recovery house; one whose door is always open to any woman ready and willing to do what it takes to get sober and clean.
Janet graciously purchased our first house and leased it to us. She donated the money to begin our nonprofit housing and helped to establish our first board of directors. She served as our Board President for 2 years and has remained a huge part of Avenues 12 success.
Avenues 12 started as a dream to help women regain their independence; rebuild their self-esteem, self-respect, and most importantly, build a solid foundation in recovery. That dream is now a reality. It has grown into a well-established and respected women’s recovery residence.
This is a place where no woman will be asked to do anything that I haven’t done myself—nor will not do—for my own recovery.
In life, a new door opens every day, and we can choose to either stand to one side and let life continue on, or we can make a choice and walk through the door and experience everything that life has to offer. We can choose to live. The journey begins when we make that choice. I invite you to join me on the journey. When you’re ready, I invite you to come on in.
The door is always open.