In the beauty surrounding Fort Collins' Horsetooth Reservoir, Dave and four-year-old son David IV, otherwise known as "D," cast their fishing lines into the water below. Most days, they leave with nothing more than a few bites, but Dave doesn't care. The New Life Program graduate relishes lazy afternoons with his son, "a cute little guy," who is one of Dave's main motivations to win the battle against alcohol abuse.
Before coming to Harvest Farm, a Mission outreach that combats substance abuse through counseling, spiritual encouragement and work therapy, Dave was drowning in his responsibilities as a father. Between the care his son required after a debilitating bout with spinal meningitis, the pressure of providing as a single parent, and his scarce relationship with daughter Lexie, 10, he found himself trying to calm the chaos with weekend binges.
“I started checking into Harvest Farm after I missed trick-or-treating with my son; I got so drunk that I blacked out and didn’t even realize the night before was Halloween,” Dave painfully recalls. “I felt so much guilt and shame that I knew I had to change.”
On May 16, 2009, just three days into his life-changing stay at the Farm, Dave was forced to deal with the death of his estranged father. Knowing his father’s absence and alcoholism had contributed to his own short-comings as a parent, Dave used the devastating news as an incentive to avoid a similar fate. With his mom taking care of “D” nearby, he made a commitment to invest himself fully in the program.
“I knew there was something special about Dave when his father died early in his stay, and he resolutely determined not to go to the funeral because it would mean leaving the program,” Dave’s chaplain, Dave Sterner, says. “His son is the light of his life, and he can’t imagine how he let alcohol get in the way of that relationship.”
Captivated by Chaplain Sterner’s animated and enlightening Bible studies, Dave’s outlook and relationship with God began to flourish. As his confidence grew, he went on to earn his GED, to enroll in Front Range Community College—earning an Applied Science Degree in welding, and to work full time in his uncle’s cement business.
“I love reading the Bible, and I love my new life; the Holy Spirit has worked in me!” Dave says with a smile. “I want to raise my son in church and give him the things I never had.”
Dave graduated from the New Life Program in July, and has chosen to stay close to the Farm while he completes the outreach’s post-graduate program. He’s found a roommate in fellow graduate and single dad Jason, and is excited to begin renewing his relationship with daughter Lexie.
“Two of my goals when I came to the Farm were to leave knowing Jesus and to have my relationship with my daughter back,” Dave says. “I’m in such a better place and much more responsible as a dad; I can’t thank the Denver Rescue Mission enough for what they’ve done for me and my family!”
“Dave came to the Farm with a high degree of motivation to stay sober,” Chaplain Dave Sterner recalls. “His ability and desire to learn has given him the necessary wisdom to be effective and righteous in his new life.”
“I love welding, and I really feel like I’m accomplishing something by going to school,” Dave says proudly. “I can’t believe how many things the Farm has helped me do just in the last year!”
“I have so much love and respect for my mom,” Dave says. “She’s been such a huge help taking care of my son, and I know that she really sees the difference in me.”
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Dave's story was featured in the August 2010 issue of Changing Lives titled "A Father's Journey."
Also in this issue:
- Letter from the CEO
- Denver Rescue Mission Golf Tournament
- Denver Century Ride
- Harvest Farm Experience