“Love got us here.” – Ty & Dana Taylor
If you are reading this, chances are you or a loved one has struggled, or is currently struggling with addiction or trauma. Our hope, as we share our story, is that you will find comfort in the commonalities within our story and your own. We have experienced our share of heartbreak. We have taken paths that have led us to discontentment. We have overcome obstacles while succumbing to others. Our story is one of perseverance and our desire is that you will persevere too. Our love and understanding for each other has allowed us to be where we are today. We live in grace, and stand firm in our understanding of who we are beyond addiction, heartache, and, adversity. We choose to live in gratitude of those experiences and use them to pour light back into the world. We are here to help you. We have stood in your shoes. We understand.
I grew up as the fourth of six children in a family rooted in tradition. Born and raised in eastern North Carolina, I recall striving for perfection as a child. Often times, I felt the need to be like a porcelain doll on a shelf. I didn’t want to cause problems or get in the way; I aimed to please, and to be adored. After high school when I left my nest of a home, I began to test the waters of the real world. I suppose I was tired from all of my years of trying to achieve perfection. Bouncing from college to college and trying some mission work in between, I found I didn’t feel I fit exactly anywhere I went. I saw people moving forward with their lives, accomplishing goals, and I felt I was going nowhere. Alcohol became an uninvited guest in my life, one that kept me off a path of honesty, one that caused me to miss out on moments I would have never missed otherwise. I could feel myself unraveling, coming undone. I was sinking and I knew I couldn’t survive my obstacles alone. I needed help. No programs seemed to fit until I found Alcoholics Anonymous. After visiting reluctantly, I was astounded as the people around me spoke and I listened to every one of them tell my story. Finally I fit somewhere! At last I felt I understood which path to follow. AA set me on a journey to make my living amends, an opportunity to right wrongs that alcohol may have created. One of the first major steps I took toward making my living amends led me on a path straight to meeting my husband.
I dropped everything, grad school, my apartment, all to attend a funeral across the country to support a loved one whom I had previously disappointed. This is when Ty and I met; in a small, rural ranching community this cowboy literally rode into the picture from out of nowhere and stole my heart like a cheesy romance novel. We fell in love, married, and moved to his Utah ranch. I found peace in an amazing job where I could help others who were as lost as I had once been. It was empowering to serve others and my passion for my work took me far. I had great passion in what I did. We had love and a cattle ranch and a slow pace of life that soothed my soul and I soared. Our love soared. My career blossomed and it took us across the country to beautiful places. Ty and I found joy in becoming parents to our first born – a son, then again 19 months later when we welcomed our beautiful daughter. Parenthood brought us home to North Carolina where our two children would enjoy great schools and family would be close by. I was blessed to be able to continue my work in the addiction field, and work primarily from home. It seemed as if we had it all figured out, but addiction found its way into our lives once again. My devoted and determined spouse found himself so far from the life he had known on his cattle ranch. Addiction, had not just gripped his life, but our marriage as well. And addiction began to grasp others close to me too.
I was constantly working on rehab, in both my personal and professional life. The irony of it all; we now found ourselves on the other end of the line. If you are thinking because I worked in this field, it was easier – it was not. None of this is easy, but we knew our marriage and our family was worth whatever it took. Thankfully, it required something we both had a lot of for each other; Love. So we loved each other right through the struggles until we all made it out of the dark. We survived it, and found the beauty of choosing to live and love with grace. We work daily to nurture the life we have today individually and as a family. There came a moment when we looked at each other and we knew, without a doubt, that this was no longer just about us living life in recovery, but this was what we were meant to do. Our life’s work was to help others with addiction.
So, we swallowed our pride, trusted our hearts and God as we took this leap of faith. We found Magnolia Landing; a lonely and forgotten, but beautiful southern farmhouse nestled along the Intracoastal Waterway in eastern North Carolina. This was not just a home; “she” would be symbolic of the women who would enter through her doors. She, like the women I knew would someday heal within her walls, was abandoned and needed help. It was clear she had weathered storms, but I could see the potential in her. I could see her worth and so we began a grand campaign to save her. We would roll up our sleeves and work to save her. Our children would see the entire transformation and would surely be proud of the work we would do – in bringing this beautiful home back to life, and in the important work we would do to help the women who would someday stay within her walls. We wouldn’t pass her by and find a more perfect model. We would give her a chance. She deserved a chance.
Our story will now become her story, the story of Magnolia Landing. It will be a story of perseverance and grace and dignity. It will be a story of renewed faith, restored hope, and nurtured healing. Her rooms that have been void of joy for so many years will once again echo with laughter. Her now cold halls will finally again feel the warmth that love exudes. She will triumph because she deserves to. Love got us here. I could not have reached this place of clarity and vision without the unwavering love in my life. I have been lucky enough to receive this support from so many people, but especially four sources: First, the love of my parents whose support and understanding have saved me. Second, the love and encouragement from Ty, who has believed in me and is my partner and most trusted friend on this great adventure. Third our children, who have been and continue to be two of my greatest teachers of love, forgiveness and finding joy in the little things and finally the love of God, who has taught me to let go of the reins and let him work through me.
We hope you will trust us and become a part of our story too.