Insert Smile Emoji: A Teenager Talks Faith And Family
Sometimes faith is as simple as sitting down and talking. Today’s Dayton Youth Radio brings us the story of a father and son who did that. And then, the son Andrew Ward wrote about it.
My mom kicked my dad out April 27, 2017. My father was an alcoholic for most of my life; he would come home from work and drink beer and rum until he passed out. My mother told my dad he had to complete 90 AA meetings in 90 days. He loved his family and is well respected by the community. However, he couldn’t resist the temptation of escaping reality by using alcohol.
"[Getting kick out of the house] was by far one of the worst days of my life, understanding at that point in time I had lost my family," says my dad, Jeremy Ward. "[Alcohol] had everything to do with being asked to leave, unfortunately. It's something that I had been struggling with for a long time, and things basically came to a head."
I got home from a lacrosse game and saw him passed out slumped over the couch. He was his usual night attire, a t-shirt, and underwear. I did not think anything of it until I picked up his cup. As soon as the rum hit my mouth I spat it out. It left a burning and poignant sensation.
"I've struggled with alcoholism all the way back to when I was in high school," he says. "I just kept drinking. I was the life of the party. I was never mean or hateful and then it just continued to get worse."
My dad says he was devastated when my mom decided to get a divorce, "I tried to talk her out of it. It really hurt and stung, and it still does. Every day I wake up and I'm reminded that I have lost a marriage through this."
I was upset with my earthly father, but mostly I loathed my heavenly father. Growing ,up my family was religious; we attended church and all of us had a relationship with Jesus. But I was young and I did not know Him on a personal level. The situation with my parents allowed me to connect and feel the love of God on a personal level. After my parents split, my dad got better. He attended AA meetings every day; he did 117 meetings in 90 days. This and talking to his sponsor got his life back on track.
"Once I entered the program called AA, I really understood that I had to give my life and my will over to a higher power, who I choose to call God," says my dad. "The program was 90 days of sobriety with 90 meetings, and I went to a total of 117 meetings in 90 days. I wouldn't trade where my life is right now. Obviously, I wish that my ex-wife Heather was still my wife. That is the one thing I wish still was true. I do miss my marriage, but I do know that God takes you through circumstances and He will see me and my family through this."
"Before we go I just want to say that I'm proud of you and seeing you come so far," I told him. "I think I've learned a lot from you ,and I've think that God has shown me a lot through you and just how He can change people's lives for the better and I love you."
My dad went from someone who only lived to drink to someone who loves others. I had gone to church and believed in God but now I trusted God and gave my whole self to him. This year marks my dad being one year sober. This is an amazing feat because now I get to live with him, and we are close. I tell him things that only my best friends know.
Andrew Ward is a student at Bellbrook High School. Special thanks to Katie Bills-Tenney. Learn more at the school's website: https://www.sugarcreek.k12.oh.us/Domain/40 Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.