When you think of Father’s Day gifts, you probably picture things that you’d want to give to Dad—like the old familiar standby, a new tie.
Many of the men at Open Door Mission are fathers, and if you asked them their number-one reason for seeking help, most would say it’s because they need to set a better example for their kids.
Donor’s generosity and compassion have helped men like Edward, who calls his kids “my angels.”
This is Edward’s second time around at the Mission. He graduated in 2012 with flying colors and immediately went to work. For two and a half years, he faithfully came back to the Mission twice a week as a volunteer, staying in touch with his support network.
But recovery is a long, hard road, especially when addiction begins very young—Edward was only 12 years old the first time he tried drugs.
When he got a “better” job that required 12- to 16-hour days, he stopped going to church and his NA meetings and stopped taking his medications. Last June, he gave into addiction again, and it didn’t take long for life to spiral out of control. “Don’t let the pursuit of a dollar for your family keep you away from God and your family,” he says, shaking his head. “God will provide for them—He always has and He always will. Focus on spending time with your children and don’t be driven by money.”
The worst part for Edward was losing the trust of his children . . . again. He tried so hard to shelter them from his addiction—not even smoking cigarettes in front of them—that it was a real surprise when they discovered what was really going on the first time around.
In fact, his oldest son was so shocked when he found out that for a while he hated Edward—who had so carefully raised him to stay away from drugs—for his “double life.”
It took Edward the better part of three years after his graduation to win his way back into their hearts, and he couldn’t stand to disappoint them again. So just a few months after relapsing, Edward was back at Open Door Mission as a “Prodigal Son,” a graduate taking a shorter version of the program.
He’s learning, even more, the second time around—including that part of his problem is unresolved grief over his sister’s death due to drugs. His kids don’t fully understand what he’s going through, but he’s proud to say that’s because none of them are addicts themselves. And he gets teary thinking about the unconditional love they give him, even though they don’t understand.
“Fatherhood is the most beautiful thing in the world,” he says. “You see the world through a different set of eyes.” Actually, he thinks that addiction is the opposite of fatherhood because addiction is about selfishness but fatherhood is “not about me.”
Back in touch with his support network and especially with God, Edward is continuing to grow.