A Father’s Day Tribute: Joseph’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? Joseph, Maintenance manager at Avenues Clarksville, shares his story.  

When I was in active addiction, I really didn’t have a relationship with my son. He lived with me and my mother and he always wanted to hang out with me, but I just ignored him and pushed him away. Nicolas is not my biological son, but I’ve raised him since he was a year old. The hardest part of being a father struggling with addiction was seeing the disappointment on his face at every milestone that I wasn’t part of- every birthday, every Christmas. He just wanted me to be proud of him, but I was so wrapped up in myself, I didn’t pay any attention to him.  

Now that I’m in recovery, our relationship is getting a lot better. He’s lost a lot of resentment that he’s had for me, which I don’t blame him for. I caused all of his resentment against me. All he wanted was someone to love him and be a dad for him. Finally, for the past three years I’ve been able to do that. I was able to take him for a week vacation down to Florida and we got to go to the beach together. He got to see the ocean for the first time. I did that for him. He still brags about the house that we stayed in- it had a pool table in the swimming pool! He didn’t even mind the sunburn that he got.

I thank God every day for all the blessings he showered on me, especially regarding my relationship with my son and my recovery. If I could give one piece of advice to a father in early recovery it would be no matter what you’re going through, a child's love is never lost. You can always regain your relationship. It’s never too late to turn your life around. Take it from an old junkie like me. I wouldn’t give up the last three years of my life for anything. To be present in my son’s life is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever gotten. He never gave up on me even in times that I gave up on myself. 

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