"I'm definitely a different daddy."
John and Felicia* had been married almost eight years and had a two-year-old son when they came to Family Builders in 2012. Because of Felicia's addiction to drugs, their life had spiraled out of control, and their son Brody had been placed in protective custody. John had worked hard to conquer his own addictions years before and had started a new life with Felicia, but he felt especially guilty about the fact that his family had once again fallen apart. "I wasn't there like I shoulda been for my older kids," he says, "And I wanted things to be different for me and Felicia.
I remember sitting in the group room at Family Builders that first night, angry at myself, angry at Felicia who was in rehab, missing my son, and just wanting to give up. But then our group started and it made me feel better knowing that other people cared about what Felicia and I were going through."
John completed his 24 weeks of parenting classes, and within a few months, Felicia was clean and sober and ready to begin her classes. After a few weeks in class, Felicia made the announcement that she and John were expecting their second child, an event which she says, "made me even more motivated to do the right thing for my family."
Upon completing her parenting program, and passing several other sobriety milestones, John and Felicia welcomed Brody back into their home, just two weeks after Felicia gave birth to their daughter Bailey. They were so thrilled with the changes in their family life, they brought the kids back to Family Builders to introduce them to the staff and share their joy. Felicia said then, "Life is amazing now. Brody seems happier, and he was so excited when we hung up his clothes in his closet for good."
John shared, "We have heard that lots of couples fall apart when this stuff happens to them. But we are even better together now. We work together more than we used to. The drugs pushed us apart. But this experience has pulled us together." Felicia added, "Seeing how things are with Bailey, compared to when Brody was born. We just work together to take care of her."
John smiled a bittersweet smile and said, "Even my older kids have noticed and asked what I'm doing differently in my life now. I feel terrible that they didn't get to have the me that I am now. I'm definitely a different daddy."
*Not their real names