My step-father recently passed away after 92 years. I should really call him my father because my relationship with him was for a majority of my life father and son. I worked for him right out of college in Texas. but more importantly he showed me how to be a man, fallible, but always honest and steady. I wasn’t always good at those things, but he made a good role-model. He was very successful financially however he held onto his mother and father’s Iowa values of honesty, integrity and hard working. He wasn’t the easiest man to approach but he was always approachable. The hesitation always came from the approach-er not him. He always spoke calmly unless something had to be done quickly or he wanted to express his dislike for what he caught you (me) doing (as I am writing this, I am laughing because I heard that stern voice often in my teenage years). The reason I am telling you this is because he took me to my first AA meeting after I returned from rehab. He sat in the car while I went into the meeting, just to show his support for me (sorry I am starting to cry as I write this). A very simple act but right out of the box I told myself that I would be OK, because he was on my side. He didn’t judge me, he didn’t question me, he was just with me. I pin my ability to stay clean and sober on four things – my relationship with my step-father Bruce, my five children, Jesus Christ and my wife Laura. They all impacted my life and they have kept me clean and sober for 22 years. The main reason I am writing this is to let you know that if you have a friend or even an acquaintance that just the simple act of being there can have a profound impact on another human being. You don’t have to say any special words or perform any special ceremony - just be there. Actually for me the company was great and the quiet was even better. Don’t expect accolades, those may come later but the purpose is to help another human being deal with their struggles. A couple of times Bruce sat in on open AA meeting with me and listened. When we got back to the car he would ask general questions , not specific to me but specific to something he had heard. He wanted to understand through me. It made me feel special. I always felt a special bond to him. We never talked about it, but I knew he loved me. It is kind of like my relationship with Jesus Christ. I talk to Him daily and thank him for all He has done for me, He speaks to me through my wife, through my pastor and into my self – He helps me just know what the right thing to do is. I know that He loves me. Be a special person to someone else by just being there for them – I can also tell you by being their for someone else, helps you deal with your own struggles. Just open your heart the situation will come to you without even looking for it. Be safe, stay kind.
Addiction, homelessness, kids, spouses, recovery, hope, God, family, violence, and relationships are all intertwined within each other. Like spaghetti, every piece touches another. My goal is to provide a place where we can discuss and learn from one another, through it provide a glimmer of hope and support, and make sure everyone knows they are not alone. I am no expert, however I do understand being hopeless and losing everything and the struggle back. I will post to keep the conversation going. These words are my own.