Building a Harley bike; Building a relationship
|In the summer of 2015 Darren and his 16-year-old son built a “facsimile” of a 1903 Harley Davidson Motorcycle and donated it to Fresh Start as a way to bond and thank the place that saved Darren’s life and created a new way of life for and stability for his son.
A nice story but it runs far deeper that that.
Darren takes his role as a father very seriously, but this wasn’t a skill that he learned growing up. In fact, he experienced more uncertainty from his parents than peace of mind and sound wisdom.
Darren’s parents drank quite routinely and he learned to do the same from a young age. When Darren was 15, his father suffered a fatal heart attack at age 46 leaving Darren, his mother and his two siblings with an uncertain and frightening future. Over the next two years the financial burden of being a single parent with three boys became overwhelming and Darren’s mother told him and his brother to “MOVE OUT!”. At 17 Darren was halfway through grade 12, homeless and a job opportunity came up for him, so he decided his only choice was to quit school and work.
Darren did pretty well at work but everywhere he turned in his life – friends, family, social events, workplace – alcohol was always a focus; “drinking was just a normal part of life”. Darren married and became a father to a baby girl at 19 and then to another when he was 20.
Gradually, cocaine accompanied alcohol in his day to day life and they – along with work – became a bigger part in his life than his family. Eventually Darren drifted away from his wife and daughters, found a new woman who “understood him” and together they welcomed a son into the world at the same time his mother was dying. At this point Darren upped the game by trying Crack Cocaine to help ease the pain – this was a “game changer”.
Darren soon realized that he couldn’t make enough money to support his family and his habit so he turned to petty crime and turned away from his family to fuel his addiction. His life continued to spiral downwards for years until the threat of being homeless was more than he could accept and three years ago Darren came to Fresh Start and said “I need some help”.
The recovery that he worked for at Fresh Start helped Darren get full custody of his 16-year-old son.
Ironically, Darren turned 46 in 2015 and during a recent intensive physical exam, Darren discovered that he has a hereditary heart condition … one that if not monitored and treated could lead to severe heart problems, even death. He has taken the necessary precautions to manage this condition and remain healthy to be present for his 24 and 25-year-old daughters, his grand-daughters … and his son.
Darren admits that without help he could easily have become just like his father but says “I’m not that man today. Change is possible through sobriety and I’m living proof of that possibility”.
In 2016, Darren will enroll his son in Grade 12 to complete high school. Darren is present for his son and makes an effort to help him develop skills related to his interests and skills … things like building a replica of a 1903 Harley Davidson Motorcycle.