A Father’s Day Tribute: Lee’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? Lee, a therapist at Avenues at Fort Wayne, shares his story.  

Throughout my active addiction, I was physically present in my children’s lives, but I was not there mentally. Now I get to be present physically and mentally, and I can remember being there as well. The hardest part of rebuilding the relationships has been gaining trust back. You see when we lose trust, we lose it by the buckets full, and when we gain it back, we gain it back by the thimble full. After seven years of recovery my children are just now starting to trust me again, and that’s okay. I have to accept that in active addiction I caused a severe amount of harm. Building back trust takes time, but it is worth it! I realized my kids were finally trusting me again when they began asking me for favors and knew they could rely on me.   

There are so many special moments and memories now that I’ve had with my children. My favorite things to do are family gatherings or going out to eat – whenever I get to spend quality time with them. I also enjoy the usual day to day talking and finding out what is going on in their lives. Just being present, being sober, and being in their lives, has been a blessing in andof itself. To be present both in the good times and the bad times. To be able to watch them grow and become the people they were meant to be. The good memories are truly too many to count, although one extra special one stands out and that was when my granddaughter, Aleigha Grace, was born.  

To all the dads out there that are thinking about getting sober, just do it! There is no future in that lifestyle, just jails, institutions, and death. No one is more deserving of recovery than ourselves and our children. In order for us to be able take care of our children, we have to be able to take care of ourselves. We have to be a light in the darkness, we have to be able to lead by example, and show our children that there is another way, rather than the way we have showed them in the past. We have to be able to show them that recovery is possible and that we don’t have to live like that anymore. As the man in my family, I have an important obligation toward them. I am the one responsible to God. I have a moral obligation before God to lead my family in spiritual matters as well. Being a good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. Fathering makes a man, whatever his standing in the eyes of the world, feel strong and good and important, just as he makes his child feel loved and valued. Parenting is a lifetime job and does not stop when a child grows up. My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it!  Only the best dads let their children fly. Only the most loved children will soar. Thank you, Dad, for giving me wings!  

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