We first met Stephanie in 2017. She was still fairly new to the DFW area and working as the Women’s Services Coordinator at the Dallas 24 Hour Club, a local nonprofit and one of our Community Partners. She was introduced to our free recovery services and would encourage women at The 24 to attend meetings and volunteer at Maggie’s as a way to meet their program requirements. A couple of years later, when her son was born, Stephanie started frequenting our meetings with childcare.
It wasn’t long before Stephanie came on staff in January of 2020 and we are so thankful to have her as part of our team today.
Stephanie, we are so grateful for your passion, your story, and your dedication to The Next Step program. Happy four years!
What has been the biggest gift to you in your recovery?
That’s a hard one because recovery has given me so many gifts. But if I had to pick one (not counting my children) I would say peace. I remember the first time I read the Ninth Step promises on the wall and saw, “We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.” That is what kept me in the program. That was something that seemed so far out of reach for me.
The only kind of sober life I ever knew before was one that I was miserable and in constant torment with myself. I needed everything on the outside to be a certain way for me to be okay, but yet I was never okay. Today, it is a beautiful feeling to know that God is always enough. The Big Book talks about living in a wonderful world no matter what your present circumstances, and that has absolutely come true for me today. It doesn’t mean that things are never hard. It means that even in the struggle, I can find the joy. For the first time in my life, I know peace.
What would you tell the woman who is newly sober, or still trying to get sober?
I would say consider the idea that someone else knows more than you. When I first started this journey, I was living in a homeless shelter with nothing. I had all kinds of “problems.” When I would call my sponsor with these problems, she would tell me things like “pray and go help somebody.” None of this made any sense to me at the time, but I did it anyway. I became open to truths about myself that I was shut off to before. I stopped being consumed with outside circumstances and started taking direction whether I wanted to or not, and whether I understood it or not. I surrendered to the idea that I knew nothing, and I am so glad I did. It is in my experience that when I put God first, everything else falls into place. It is also my experience that when I am open and receptive, it gives room for God to grow.
What is your life like today?
Well, I first want to say, everything I thought I knew about recovery was wrong and thank God! I literally thought every day was going to be a day where I just tried not to drink, and hopefully, someday it would get easier. I thought my entire life would be all about just not drinking. I thought maybe my life would get better in the sense that I would hopefully get all the “stuff” back, but I still imagined life would be very heavy. That’s not how my life is at all. It is not heavy. It is beautiful. Yes, I got all the stuff back and then some, but more important than anything I gained externally, is everything I gained internally.
I’m a Mom today. I was always a Mom by birth but I was incapable of being the Mom my daughter deserved. I will never be able to express enough gratitude to her Dad and bonus Mom for stepping up and taking care of her in ways that I could not. Today, I can actually say I’m a good Mother. I take care of my children, my daughter who is now 11 and my son who just turned 1. They don’t have to grow up questioning why they couldn’t keep me from drinking (because, to my surprise, my infinite love for them had nothing to do with the way I was drinking). They know that they are loved. I get to be there and be a role model for them.
I am doing things I never thought I was capable of doing. My worth no longer comes from human power. I no longer thirst for validation. My worth comes from God and knowing who I am in Him. I have a new relationship with my creator and the world. My heart was so hardened, and my soul was dark. Today, God has shown me how to take a kind and tolerant view of everyone.
I get to empower and support other women! Seriously, it doesn’t get any cooler than that! I never thought I would be on the other side, and today I get to be a light for women like me: women who believe that they are too far gone, women who are living in shame, and women who don’t know any other way. I get to see how my experience can benefit others. I don’t just get that in my personal life but my professional life as well. Working at Maggie’s is an honor. I work with a team of strong women who I learn from every day, and in turn, I get to help others.
My heart still overflows with joy and gratitude, and I still thank God for my sobriety. I’m still learning, and I’m still growing, and that continues for my lifetime. Today, my life has meaning, and I am living my purpose.
About Stephanie Crawford, Peer Recovery Coordinator
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri Stephanie packed a bag packed and boarded one-way Mega Bus to “escape” the absolutely hopeless life she had been living. Instead, she found herself in the Dallas recovery community where she finally heard, and applied, a solution to her alcoholism.
Stephanie was first introduced to The Magdalen House while working as the Women’s Service Coordinator for the Dallas 24 Hour Club. Being both a neighboring organization and a Community Outreach Partner, she learned more about Maggie’s mission and fell in love with everything they stood for. After her son was born, she became more involved with Maggie’s, visiting for meetings with free childcare.
Stephanie has over two years of experience in the nonprofit recovery industry and loves being in roles where she is working directly with women in recovery. Her favorite things in the world are being a Mom – she has two children, Kaydence who is 11, and Wesley who is one – and helping other women. She absolutely loves seeing women come together to love, support, and empower one another!