It was Christmas Eve, 1990.
“I was stoned out of my mind for two months – sleeping with eight different guys. I got to eat only by dating all these people. I realized that I had become worse than the family I grew up in and that was devastating. My mom and dad were drug addicts and I had never seen my parents sober. My childhood was filled with threats and getting beaten daily; week in, week out. My whole life was filled with horror and terror and lies and I vowed that I would never be like my family. And there I was doing cocaine…”
She hated cocaine ‘with a passion’ and recalls that when coke was introduced into the home by her parents when she was a teenager, the violence had intensified and the emotional instability was ‘horrifying’. “They would say one thing and then another thing after 15 minutes.”
That Christmas Eve, she joined other waitresses at the beach on a drink and drug binge.
“I was sweating as I was constantly dancing. I see the coke and I leaned down and I did a line. I remember waking up at 10 the next morning on my beach mat and I am asking everyone for coke. I was walking around saying, ‘Where do I get more of that stuff?’
That day, I would have given my body – I would have become a prostitute for coke and that’s how low I became. I hated everything about myself. I knew my future would never be good. I was suicidal from the age of six. My life was not worth living. There was no chance to turn it into anything better. I was disgusting. I hated how my parents raised us. My life was filled with broken promises and lies and people stealing and people beating me and people hating me and me hating myself even more…”
Fueled by the after-effects of the drug, in an almost catatonic state that morning, Dani decided she was going to end it all. “I started walking towards the ocean and dived underneath the wave.”
A few more moments under, and her life would have ended there – not an unsurprising demise given her circumstances, the coroner and police chief would have quietly concluded.
But as it happened, in that instant, her life changed forever.