Dana Beaumont says he has 36 years of sobriety, thanks to some fine tuning.

For 20 years he enjoyed, then wrestled with, substance abuse. He finally got sober, but discovered he was dry on the inside. Despite five years of sobriety, he admits he was headed back. Something changed and, today, he’s still sober after almost 36 years.

“There is a big problem in society,” said Dana Beaumont of Shelbyville. “But there is a solution. There is hope.”

It took him several years, that included jail time, but he finally figured out the solution for him.

“Alcohol and drugs are not the problem,” Beaumont said. “It’s what goes on between my ears. I can change some of that, but God does the fine tuning.”

The fine tuning he got is the difference that has kept him sober for almost 36 years.

Once Beaumont lost his driver’s license and was not getting it back without proof of his sobriety, once other people stopped enabling him, he worked a 12-step program. That was the start of the process.

“12-step programs, meetings, treatment centers, in-patient, out-patient, whatever you do,” Beaumont said. “the worse thing you can do is not talk to anyone and push it under the table.”

CEAD Council (Central East Alcohol and Drugs), Shelby County Community Services, Shelby County Detention Center, Shelby County Drug Court, Shelbyville School District, other recovery programs are all working to combat drug and alcohol abuse in Shelby County.

ROSC has come to Shelby County to joined the fight and unite all these efforts. Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports.

The ROSC coordinator for Shelby County, Jenna Hayes, meets with representatives from local treatment programs, clergy, and other social service representatives and individuals in Shelbyville every 4th Thursday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the CEAD Council office at 155 S. Morgan St.

As of yet, no school district, law enforcement, or court system representatives have attended. Beaumont is involved with ROSC as an individual volunteer. He also attends several support group meetings in the area to encourage those going through recovery.

“The best part is helping others and to see them getting better,” Beaumont said. “They have a different appearance. Their countenance has changed. And what comes out of their mouth is different.”

Beaumont says that support and encouragement is a big part of recovery. It was for him.

“I hung around the meetings long enough to know they were serious about it,” Beaumont said. “They would haul me to meetings. They wanted my recovery more than I did. They loved me more than I loved myself. That’s what it takes in the beginning.”

Beaumont said that after trying to bluff his way to getting his license back for a year, for two years, and not succeeding, he got with the program.

“After a year of sobriety I finally got my letter from my counselor, Nancy Renshaw,” Beaumont said. “She refused to enable me. I had to go to Springfield to get my license back and answer 50-100 questions. They could see my confidence was there. I felt better.

“In 4 or 5 weeks, I got a work permit to drive. It was good to be able to drive again. It was like Christmas. I felt like a human being again.”

Beaumont says, at 32, he finally had a different kind of life for the first time in his life. He had been raised around substance abuse. Both his parents drank and his mother had to go through a program to get sober.

Beaumont got used to this new sober life. He developed friends and they did things together that didn’t include alcohol or drugs. He had more money and a new house.

“Life was good on the outside,”Beaumont said. “But personally, I hadn’t changed much, even though I was sober. I still wasn’t being the husband and father I should be. The same things came out of my mouth. I didn’t have peace. I was dry.”

Beaumont started to feel himself wavering after 5 years of sobriety.

“I thought, is this all there is to life?” Beaumont said. “I actually said the words.”

He admits that his problem was that in his hurry to get through the 12-step program, he skipped over a couple of the steps. A sponsor suggested he go back and work them again, for the first time.

Beaumont said the second step is to believe “a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The third step is to “turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God, as we understand Him.” Beaumont admits he never did that, previously.

In one of the 12-step programs, God is specifically mentioned in 6 of the 12 steps. But, Beaumont had never dealt with God.

“I knew I was headed back after five years of being sober,” Beaumont said. “I was bored with life. There was something missing. Others did the 12 steps and were happy and free, but not me. They had a relationship with that higher power.”

Beaumont started the higher power pursuit.

“I went to a Sunday School party and I knew 2/3’s of the people there and it wasn’t bad,” Beaumont said. “I enjoyed myself. I went to a Bible Study and, once I got started, I couldn’t get enough. It changed my life. For the first time, I had a personal relationship with Jesus. My faith increased more and I became the man I always wanted to be.”

Beaumont’s sobriety was the start of that, but the “fine tuning” is what he says made the complete difference.

“Alcohol and drugs is what you use to escape from what’s wrong inside.” Beaumont said, “But it takes something else to get rid of the fear, the anger, and all the hurt.”

John Curtis can be reached at