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November 6--  Twelve years ago Peggy NeSmith had a dream to use what she knows as a recovering substance abuser to help other women kick the habit.

rotarydreamcenterPeggy with Vidalia Rotary Club President Steven McComas, left, and Rotarian Andy Hartley after her presentation to the club Wednesday.

"I have the history of drug and alcohol abuse and when I came to the Lord I just felt like this was the ministry he was calling me to so I could help others who are where I've been."

Eight years later she's running the non-profit "Dream Center Vidalia" and estimates that 60% of the women she has helped are off drugs and alcohol. She believes part of that is because she has empathy with the women who come to the Dream Center, "If you've been there, you know it.  I can basically read the hearts and minds and hurts and it's a great thing that I've been there and can better minister to the girls," she said.

Peggy knows it's a hard road back for those who are hooked and that they have to hit rock bottom before they can start to recover, "Each person has to come to the place where they are at the end of themselves.  That is the first step.  If they don't, none of the rest will work.  If they do, it always works. It's the individual who has to come to the place where they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I would have to say that is 90 percent of the battle."

The Dream Center is governed by a group of volunteer board members headed by former Vidalia High School principal Larry Cowart, "Peggy came to me one day and she knew I taught a Sunday School class.  She asked me and my wife if we'd go out to the Dream Center to teach some classes out there.  We did and it just sort of  evolved from that.  God just put in my wife's heart and my heart to be at the Dream Center and work there.  It's something that's close to us and we believe in it.  The community has certainly backed the Dream Center and we thank everyone for that.  That's how it started for me.  It's in my heart and I have a feel for it.  Alcohol and drugs have been in my family for a long time and it was just a way I thought I could help," he said.

For information on how the Dream Center may help you, visit their website at