January 28, 2020

Sometimes family is there to show us the way…but sometimes they’re part of the problem. From the time he was a child, Nick experimented with various substances that were available to him through his family. On and off drugs throughout his life, he began dealing, and the partying eventually led to addiction. Nick and his wife shared this addiction while raising their 2 daughters age 7 and 8. Nick sees now that they were both oblivious to the pain and destruction their substance abuse was imposing upon their family.

A life-threatening incident led to a day that Nick will never forget – the day the Department of Child Services removed his daughters from their home. The Judge referred him to Families First for Father Engagement Case Management and Substance Use Education & Outpatient Treatment with the goal of regaining custody of his daughters.

Nick began treatment at Families First, but it was not a smooth or easy process for him. Three hours a day, three days a week was grueling. Like many others, he didn’t want to be there. Getting sober was hard after all the years of substance abuse. He didn’t know what it would be like to feel good or have hope.

This was a tough time for Nick. He lost both of his daughters (both were adopted by his in-laws), was going through a divorce with his wife, and his mother passed away unexpectedly. Nick didn’t complete the treatment program and found himself abusing drugs again and back on probation. At rock bottom, Nick was once again referred to Families First, but this time he was motivated to change his life and got back on track.

Nick successfully completed his treatment. Reflecting on his experience at Families First, he understands that you must be patient, and give the process time to work. “If you really want it to work, it will. [For] someone who is really wanting to change their life, this is a good place to do it. People here actually care and try to help you, but you have to put the work into it.”

Now Nick wants to give others hope. He has chosen to give back to his community by volunteering his time and energy to The Mentor Group at Families First. This opportunity allows him to help his fellow peers who are currently receiving services, by organizing social activities for their “new normal,” being a role model and offering hope.

“I go into the classes at Families First where current clients are and talk to them about my experiences and hope to help them. I had someone at Families First help me get through hard situations and that is something that I want to pursue– to mentor other people.”

Today Nick is learning to communicate better. He is working on building trust with others and asking for help when he needs it. “I’m much happier, more humble and life is just easier.” Today Nick’s motivation to maintain his sobriety is his daughters. He has regular visits with them each month and wants to continue to nourish and grow his relationship with them.

“I’m grateful for the program. It is definitely going to help me moving forward with my sobriety and in life.”


*Nick is 1 of 394 individuals who successfully completed the Intensive Outpatient Substance Use program in 2019.