Hi, my name is Patricia Beier. I’m a proud alumnus of the Beacon House in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. In July 2002, I arrived at the Beacon escorted by an officer, a brown paper bag with a few belongings, and the clothes on my back. During the intake process, I wondered what was going to happen to me. This is my story.
Beacon House introduced me to the 12 Steps and advised me to get a sponsor. One of the goals was to attend at least three meetings a week. Beacon also brought in outside professional speakers on topics such as eating disorders, nutrition, anger, spirituality, parenting skills, feelings and behaviors. When I graduated the program, Beacon hosted a ceremony. My family and friends were present along with all the women in the house. I received what Beacon calls "the key to the house" and a butterfly pin. The key is a coin that signifies that I have completed the program successfully, and that I can visit the house at any time. Also at the graduation, I got to see the before-and-after photos of me. I like the after picture the best. Today, I still visit Beacon every Wednesday for the Continuing Care Program (Aftercare).
The Aftercare is a great place to come and talk about what's going on in the world. When I am in group, I feel like we are a family. I don't have to feel alone and I feel I always have a shoulder to lean on and an ear that is open, no matter what time of day.
While in Aftercare, I was blessed with a mentor, Rose, through the Hope Network Program. Rose and I have developed a relationship that is rewarding and beneficial to both of us. Besides all the good direction from Rose, I have also gained a friend. We even had the honor of being on the front page of the paper when we were interviewed about our experience in the Hope Network Program. We have been asked to do a commercial for the mentoring program to help in carrying the message.
I am grateful to have another chance at life; I still find myself in awe. I never thought I would go to college. I thought college was only for smart and rich people. I’m a senior at Marian College in Fond du Lac and have a 3.5 GPA. Recently, I have been induced into the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholastic Honor Society and the National Communication Association Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta which is under the Mu Mu Chapter. Additionally, I was the winner of the Sentry Insurance Foundation Scholarship in the amount of $1000 to go toward my education.
But, more importantly, what I learned from Beacon is to give back. One of the things I enjoy doing is volunteering at the Fond du Lac County Jail. For the last two years, every other Monday, I chair AA meetings for the women inmates. I would like to share something I wrote after I graduated from treatment:
"God has led me to a powerful light; a source of energy that I had never known was available for a person like me. This is a very special light filled with warmth, love, understanding and offers a hand for one in need. This light has guided me to the new woman inside of me, which I am truly grateful I got the chance to meet her. One must be wondering where they can get one of these lights. Unfortunately, this special light is priceless and cannot be purchased; one must be simply willing to allow it to shine from within. This light has given me many tools and opportunities to foresee my journey on a positive note. Today, I am proud to sing out the name of this special light-- The Beacon."