A Father’s Day Tribute: Jeffrey’s Story

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What does being a Dad mean to you?

Support, love, strength, dependability, trust. Words that shape the essence of a father figure. Words that every child wants to feel about their dad. What happens when it is lost? Can it ever be regained? Jeffrey, one of the BHTs at Avenues Clarksville shares his story.


I spent most of my son’s life in prison. I watched him grow up through pictures. He was almost 8 years old when I met him in person. He was raised by another man, he called him Daddy and knew him as his Daddy because he was there. It was rough for both of us. But even after 8 years in prison, it wasn't enough for me to stop living the way I was living. So after I was free, I went back to active addiction. Once again I chose a substance over my son. I broke more promises and shattered more dreams. Being in active addiction, there is no parenting.


Three prison sentences and five treatment centers later, I finally got sober. The most difficult obstacle I have faced since then was his mother passing away. That is ultimately what brought me back in this time. I knew if I kept doing what I was doing, I would either end up in prison for the rest of my life, or I’d be dead; in either case my son would be an orphan. I have struggled for almost three continuous years with earning and building his trust back. It is hard because with his mother (his best friend) passing, coupled with the trauma I've caused him by choosing a substance over him, he has struggled with suicidal ideations and attempted twice. He just turned sixteen in April this year. I guilt-parent a lot because I was never there to give him anything, and now that I’m sober, I give him anything he asks for. It’s the guilt I feel for never being there. I’m working on that.    


Now in recovery, I pray that my son remembers every single one of my failures and decides that it’s not the life he wants. If I could pick one thing I want him to learn from me, I would say that I want him to look at me and realize that any obstacle, no matter how great, and even if the world is crashing in around him, if he stays strong and keeps his faith in God, he can overcome ANYTHING. He can do this because his father came out on top, even when he wasn't supposed to, and when everyone he loved counted him out, thought he was a lost cause, and was never going to get it right. He can see I proved them all wrong!! 


Thank G-d, my son and I have a great relationship now. He actually calls me Dad. When I first came back around, he called me by my street nickname, "BUD." Now he trusts me and knows whenever he needs me that all he must do is ask, and his Dad will be there no matter what! He tells me he's proud of me all the time, which means the world to me! All I want in this life is to make my son proud and be the one he looks up to and comes to for advice. It is an experience you must not miss, as the big book says. What I love most is the feeling I get of being dependable- especially when it comes to my son.  

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