The 25-year-old has moved to the West Midlands club on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. Dawkins, who has suffered frequent injury problems at White Hart Lane, is determined to take his chance at Villa Park.
He told the Birmingham Mail: "It's a hard thing to go through when you get injured, especially a serious injury.
"But as a young boy, playing football is all you want to do. I never let that get to me. I managed to get myself back fit and really got myself going and now I'm here.
"It has definitely helped me mentally, which is something you need in football. Something like that is always in you and, hopefully, I can take that to the next stage now."
Dawkins has spent the last 18 months on loan at MLS side San Jose Earthquakes.