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Sober & Grateful Dad by Riley B.

Sober & Grateful Dad by Riley B.

First, I would like to mention how honored I am to get the opportunity to share my experience of being a grateful sober dad. Turning Point of Tampa will always have a special place in my heart, as I am a double Alumni. However, that was not my last stop before being able to put together some long-term sobriety. Becoming a father at 21 with my now ex-wife was never the plan. I was in and out of a 12-step program and could not manage to stay sober longer than a few months, I now know that was all my own doing. My daughter was Born in February 2017, which was 6 months after I left TPOT. I remember leading up to entering treatment my Ex told me “You will never be a part of your daughters’ life, if you can’t get sober.” Finally, motivated by that external force I went to treatment and moved to sober living after. I can say I was blessed to be sober when my daughter was born. Shortly after, however, with all the responsibilities that come with being a father, I stopped attending meetings and lost my connection with my higher power and relapsed.

I spent the next 3 years in and out of my 12-step fellowship, and as a result I spent those 3 years in and out of my daughter’s life. I was lucky enough to have split custody even though when she was with me my parents did everything, as I could not take care of myself, let alone take care of a toddler. During my active addiction I was selfish and self-centered. I did many things that could have put my daughter in harm’s way. Then finally on 5/20/2020 I checked my self into detox and moved right into Real Recovery sober living. I had enough of that life and was willing to do all the work it required to stay sober. I had a lot of growing to do, not only on a personal and spiritual level, but I had to grow up and learn how to show-up for life and my responsibilities. Having worked the steps and in finding a God of my understanding, I was able to do those things.

Today I get to have 50/50 custody of my daughter versus “supervised” custody with my Ex and my parents watching my every move to make sure my daughter was safe. I get to do the full routine: Take her to school then pick her up, play, cook us dinner, give her a bath and read her bedtime stories. In my active addiction I was incapable of doing all those things. Now, I am a full-time employee, a college student and the best thing is that I can confidently say I am a good dad. I can buy my daughter clothes, toys, pay for all her school and appointments – whatever she needs. Most importantly I am there emotionally to take care of all her needs. I am grateful that thanks to my higher power I get to be a part of her life.

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