Written by Luis Zamora, Graduate of Parenting Journey for Fathers (2015) and Parenting Journey II (2015)
September is National Recovery Month. I’m proud to say that as of August 7th, 2017, I’m three years clean and sober. Addiction doesn’t have a demographic, it’s universal. Whether you struggle with addiction yourself, or know someone who does, it hits everyone. And that’s why Parenting Journey programs are so important, because they are universal too.
As a recovering addict, every day is a struggle, but every day gets easier and easier. I’m the father of two beautiful girls: Lana, age ten, and Layla, age four. I share custody of Lana, and Layla lives with me full-time. My daughters have always been my biggest inspiration. But it has not always been the easiest thing to stay clean and sober.
I started smoking and drinking at a very early age, and that escalated into bigger and more powerful substances. Heroin was my drug of choice which lead me to lose everything. I hit rock bottom and went to jail. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) took my 14-month old daughter straight out of my hands. That was the first night I did not spend with her since she was born. It was a long road to get her back, but it saved my life and my daughter’s life too.
DCF mandated that I take parenting classes, and I picked Parenting Journey because of the staff, the location, and free childcare. Finding out that I could join a father’s group for free at a time when I had no income and bring my daughter with me to a safe environment was huge for my recovery. It was a safe-haven where I could open-up.
When I started Parenting Journey for Fathers, we talked a lot about honesty and telling the whole story, and I’m using that with my kids now. I tell my girls that they can tell me anything. I feel like I’m building a foundation of honesty, trust, and respect with my daughters, so that when they really need me in their teenage years, they’ll know they can come to me. Parenting Journey helped me practice that. The group meetings gave me the strength I needed to stay clean, just for another day, so I could be there for my girls.
My recovery has made me want to do exactly what the staff at Parenting Journey do. I am going back to school to pursue a career in social services. I would love to work with young adults and youth who are involved with substance use. The earlier I can reach people, the more lives I can save.
I’d like to thank you, all the people who are connected to Parenting Journey. Without you, I would never be where I am today, pursuing a new career in helping other people. At Parenting Journey, I got a whole new supportive family and to me that is priceless.
We are part of a larger community. Please consider donating to Parenting Journey, so that more parents like me can build a strong foundation for their family.
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Graduate of Parenting Journey for Fathers (2015) and Parenting Journey II (2015)
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