Katie Rhodes: Rising Dawn in Recovery

Katie Rhodes: Rising Dawn in Recovery

A Journey from Darkness to Light

Meet Katie Rhodes! Recently, we had the pleasure of chatting with Katie, who generously shared her journey in recovery and the newfound clarity, understanding, and awareness that has come with it.

Her story is one of profound transformation. Having battled addiction and come out on the winning side, she now stands as a wonderful role model for clients in our recovery program.

Today, Katie enjoys many roles with CORE. She is the house manager of our women’s intake house and our facilities manager in Branson. She also teaches 4D Recovery classes and leads our weekly orientation for new clients. Her busy days are filled with purpose and service, which she embraces with dedication and enthusiasm.

Katie came from a broken home where substance abuse loomed large. As a child, she was a straight-A student and a self-described “classic overachiever” who won spelling bees and writing contests. However, during her junior year of high school, her town was hit by a storm and tornado, leaving her house without power for several months. Katie began visiting friends on the side of town that still had power, where she was introduced to drinking and drugs.

Before long, Katie was using drugs regularly and dropped out of school to party. Being shuffled between parents didn’t help. She moved out on her own when she turned 18 years old. Katie quit using substances when she became pregnant with her partner, but after she gave birth, her life took a downturn when her partner brought heroin home. “That’s the moment I can go back to and say that my life changed,” she says.

The next decade of her life was pure chaos, characterized by drug use, an unstable home life, and tenuous connections with family. Katie recounted for us her life as “the dope man’s girlfriend.” She had another baby, and custody of both children was placed with grandparents.

Katie then made several unsuccessful trips to rehab. She says, “There are a lot of well-meaning people in that field. Unless they understand addiction, they can’t be any help at all. No matter how long you stay in rehab, you’ll go out and make the same mistakes because you’re powerless over your addiction.”

She came to CORE for the first time in 2018 but stayed only three months. Looking back, Katie laments, “I didn’t do anything toward my recovery. I thought I’d be solid with some time to get under my feet. I never worked the Steps. I went to Illinois to be with a guy, which was a terrible idea. I left here on a Wednesday and was drunk by Saturday.” Katie continued to flounder and finally landed in a sober living house on the outskirts of St. Louis. It was there that she had a life-changing epiphany:

It was just one house and only four people in the whole house. On my second day there, we went to an outside meeting where they talked about the 12 Steps. I remembered my time at CORE when I’d refused to do them. I suddenly thought, how can I sit here, asking why I can’t get sober, when I never even tried doing the Steps? I’d never even tried to get sober. And it occurred to me that I could. That was an eye-opening day, a good day.”

Thus, Katie returned to CORE in September 2022. She sees this as significant because it is the first time she ever began working the 12 Steps. She remembers, “I gave it my all. And it works. That’s all it took, just actually doing them. I drank the Kool-Aid and gave in to doing them. It tastes good (laughing).”

Katie describes her subsequent recovery as a time when the pieces of her life are falling together in new and unexpected ways, more wonderful than she could have ever imagined. A significant part of this transformation is her deepened relationship with God. Katie shared about her profound spiritual awakening as follows:

I always believed in God but was mad at Him. Now, God is my best friend. Legit. I say my prayers when I wake up in the morning and at nighttime. Even during the day, I talk to God as my best friend and stay in constant contact. How ungrateful would I be not to uphold a positive relationship with Him when He’s blessed me?”

Early in recovery, Katie explored various churches around Branson but feels a special connection with our own CORE Church. “I get my church here at CORE,” she matter-of-factly says. She’s open to the messages shared by our pastor Cary McKee because of his empathy and understanding. “He’s been where I’ve been,” Katie notes, highlighting the unique bond and sense of community she feels at CORE Church, which she describes as “a totally judgment-free zone.”

Katie has felt gratitude in her heart every day for her new life. When she graduated from our one-year program, she remembered the Lord’s words, “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.” She not only joined our Second Mile group but also signed up to go through our presenter’s training so that she could teach recovery classes. Katie was nervous before the first class she taught but now feels comfortable in this new role. Significantly, she says, “It means little to know everything in the Big Book if you don’t apply it in your own life. You have to show everybody that you’re living it, too. Every day of your life.”

She also became house manager for our women’s intake house in Branson. Katie admits to becoming attached to the women in her house, as well as becoming emotional when they move up to a CORE peer house. She shrugs, “But that’s the process. I only get them for a short time.  We try to accomplish as much as possible. The fact that they move to a peer house means they’re growing.” She identifies the house’s morning devotionals as important time for her house. Every day, at 7:15 a.m., the entire house gathers in the living room to read from the Bible or other devotional materials. Katie observes with satisfaction when participants say, “it’s talking to me,” during readings.

For the newcomer to CORE, Katie has valuable advice: “Open your Big Book. Read it. Do what it tells you to do. Also, especially on intake where you come to the Center every day, look around and listen. Find someone that you want what they have in recovery and gravitate toward them. Stick with the winners. Don’t spend your time gossiping or worrying about a relationship with a guy.”

On the personal front, Katie has entered her sons’ lives again. She becomes emotional talking about them and expresses heartfelt thankfulness for having both with her this past Christmas. Her oldest son calls her every day now. In August, Katie will go on vacation with her youngest and his grandmother. She says having her children back in her life is beyond wonderful, “something I thought would never happen, you know?”

Looking to the future, Katie’s dedication to her role within CORE appears unwavering. “I need to be here unless I have a really good reason to leave,” she says, “everything’s here, in terms of being able to help people and do something good with my life.” When asked where she sees herself in three years, Katie said, “Honestly, I see myself here,” she says, “I feel called to do this!”

We at CORE appreciate Katie’s commitment to her own recovery and her dedication to guiding newcomers. She exemplifies the strength and hope that comes from turning our will and life over to the care of God. We expect her recovery journey to continue to shine as a beacon of new beginnings and endless possibilities for everyone she meets!