clarence and daughter

Clarence’s Story

“When my daughter was nine years old she looked at me with the ‘daddy is my hero’ eyes. Even though we didn’t live under the same roof, I worked hard to be a good father to her and we were essentially best friends. What my daughter didn’t know for a while was that daddy was more of a ticking time bomb than a hero. I was a binge user which means I didn’t get high all the time, but the times when I did get high… there was no hiding it.  When my daughter was twelve years old I realized I couldn’t hide my addiction from her anymore. She spent summers and Christmas with me and one Christmas I relapsed pretty badly. I would give her money to hold onto, but then in a moment of weakness would go and grab some money back to go off and buy drugs with. I knew she was scared by my using. No matter what condition I was in, she stayed by my side. I explained countless times that ‘daddy has issues but that doesn’t change how much I love you.’ As much as I would’ve liked to have gotten clean for my daughter, I knew I had to want it for myself.

I had tried 17 or so treatment centers over the year that usually costed about $4,000 a week and maybe provided some helpful tips but no real spiritual knowledge. I made a promise to God one night that if I relapsed again I was going to do whatever God wanted me to. I relapsed in November of 2007 and surrendered to God’s plan for me. My pastor pointed me to City Rescue Mission to get help. I stayed at CRM for 32 months (longer than the average student) because I wanted to make sure I got right and stayed right. The spiritual nourishment I received during my time in the LifeBuilders program is unlike anything else I had ever experienced before. I grew to trust God and His plans for me. I saw the Lord lift the bad desires of my heart away. I graduated from the LifeBuilders Recovery Program in 2009.

clarence and daughter (2)

Now, I work as a family intervention specialist, helping broken families and families struggling with substance abuse heal and come together. It’s not a job for me, it’s God’s ministry assignment for my life and I absolutely love it. I get to go into homes and put families back together.

When my daughter was a freshman in college she wrote a paper about her addictive father. She called me to tell me about the paper and to read it to me. She didn’t even get through the first paragraph before we were both sobbing. She finally had taken time to get out all the ways my behavior and life choices had hurt her…in ways she could never verbalize to me because she didn’t want to hurt me. That pierced my heart.

As for my family, we are better than we have ever been. My daughter is now 35 years old, a nurse practitioner, a mother and an incredibly supportive daughter to me. My 60th birthday is next week and my daughter is taking me on a cruise with my grandson to celebrate…if you had asked me what my 60th birthday would’ve looked like before City Rescue Mission…I would have never dreamed of a family vacation. It’s truly a gift from God and at times feels like a dream.”