Grateful Heart Monday

It’s the start of another week and with it, another Grateful Heart Monday to kicks things off, which for today I’d like to express my gratitude for my friend Judy, a University of Toledo nursing teacher.

About two years ago now, during my normal weekly volunteering at Rescue Crisis, I walked in to the room where I run a 12 Step recovery meeting for patients in need of one and noticed there were an unusually higher amount of people present. I could tell they all weren’t patients and as I was trying to figure out who they were, I was pleasantly greeted by a woman who introduced herself as Judy. She let me know she was a nursing instructor from the University of Toledo and then asked if I’d be ok if her students sat in on my recovery meeting that day. I was more than happy to accommodate, as providing this type of education to anyone who may be able to help others with it, is definitely something I’m always in support of. The result was quite positive and was the beginning of my exploring another whole avenue of 12 Step recovery work.

I often find in the recovery world, that by the time I meet people in need of the 12 Steps for an addiction, it’s typically years and years down the road where their disease has already taken a huge stronghold on them. In light of that, I’ve always had the desire to work much earlier on in people’s lives, where the addiction maybe hasn’t taken such a foothold yet, or even before it has started altogether. I’ve also had the desire to work with others who are in the front line of dealing with alcohol and drug addiction as well, who may not have the experience, strength, and hope to truly help someone in need. Thus, working with nursing students immediately became a blessing, as I saw the positive impact it had on them. For some, it was because of already having exposure to addiction within themselves or with family, friends, and loved ones. For others, it was helping them gain some necessary tools to guide a person to recovery when they eventually get to those front lines at their individual places of employment.

It’s been two years now that I’ve been working with Judy and her students and have probably spoken to well over a hundred of them by now. It’s definitely making a difference and has led to even greater opportunities for recovery work, as one of her students was so moved by my story that she asked me to speak to her sorority on campus, which in turn has slowly led to other Greek-based speaking opportunities on her campus as well. Being a former member of the Greek community myself, that being a Phi Kappa Psi brother, I’m extremely grateful for these opportunities, because it was during my college years that I went from being a casual drinker and recreational drug user to a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. That’s why I’m grateful to be working with these students, as I’m planting seeds of recovery within each of them that will mature when they become needed.

So yes, I have an immense amount of appreciation and gratitude to Judy for leading to all this recovery work and for continuing to believe in me and my 12 Step program. She’s provided me an avenue for new recovery growth and I always look forward to each new semester when I get to meet the next set of students. And a nice bonus, something I didn’t expect either, was her thanking me just recently for all the help I’ve been providing her, by treating me to a nice dinner at a place called J. Alexanders.

But honestly, it really should me doing the thanking to her, for allowing me to have these recovery opportunities in the first place, as this work continues to provide me a reason to keep going in my recovery, a spiritual purpose if you may, which I’m so thankful for. To simply share my experience, strength, and hope of my journey from addiction to recovery with students the age of when I first succumbed to addiction, and students who will also one day be on the front lines of addiction, is indeed something I’m overly grateful for today.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson