Originally posted February 2016
My name is Robert Beck. Although I have never used substances I certainly know the affects addiction has on a family. As a young child I have some good memories with my dad, however many of my memories are not so good. I had blind hope that my dad and our lives would just “get better” someday. The promise my dad made to me, that our family would stay together, not to worry or that things would work themselves out was the only thing I had to hold onto. Our family staying together didn’t happen. In fact, the dysfunction in our family ended with divorced parents when I was a teenager. I wasn’t capable at such a young age of seeing the impact that this addiction had on our family and on my mom. As I grew older I went from naive and hopeful to recognizing the manipulation and understanding what my mom had been dealing with for years. More times than I can count, we experienced frightening situations with my dad. I remember one time my older sister and I had to go to a nearby park to wait out my dad’s drunkenness, until someone could come pick us up. Every few months there would be an ordeal and many times, with an array of police and emergency vehicles at our home.
On my 11th birthday we had a situation with my dad and he ended up in the hospital. I was so disappointed that even on my birthday it ended up being all about my dad. My mom had been reaching out to friends in our church and building relationships for support through this difficult time. I remember thinking that this was a really sad way to remember my birthday. However, our friends, the Tong family, came over with pizza and a birthday cake and spent the rest of the evening with us. They interrupted their own family plans and sacrificed for us. They made a bad day special for me and I will always be grateful for the care and love they showed us.
Shortly after my parents divorced, there was a family birthday gathering at a local restaurant. My dad arrived and we had a confrontation. I was old enough to process everything that had gone on for years and I exploded in public on my dad. I realized I needed help to deal with the anger and disappointment I’d felt for so long. Again Steve Tong, reached out to me and we began meeting every week. I also had a few other men in my life who helped to point me to the Lord. I needed men in my life. I was craving relationships and love and God put these men in my path. God began to work in my heart and all the bitterness that had taken root in my life slowly began to fade. I learned that I would never have real peace in my life if I didn’t forgive my father. Through a lot of prayer, hard work and the discipleship from these men, God was changing me from the inside out. I was being set free from the sin in my heart towards my dad. The Lord was removing the weight I had been carrying for so long. Two years later after having no contact with my dad, I saw him at the same restaurant for the same birthday celebration. I was anxious about seeing him considering what had occurred the last time. Surprisingly, I felt a compassion for him. I had changed so much and grown in my relationship with Jesus that I now had a desire to love him. I desired for him to be free from his addiction and find true freedom in Christ. The dinner went well and we were able to talk and catch up. We have since met in person a few times and my heart towards him is changed. He has started to reach out to me and we communicate weekly. My dad has been in and out of rehab many times and is currently in a sober living home. I pray for him often. The biggest area of growth in my life is trusting in God and not man. I realize that I couldn’t trust my dad growing up and it caused me to struggle to trust God, but through this ordeal I know who my father is. It is the Lord. He will never leave me, never disappoint me and He always remains the same. He is teaching me to love and forgive my earthly father.
After all this, I would never have thought I would want to have anything to do with addiction. But God had other plans. My mom, Liz Beck, began Hope For Addiction a few years ago, a support group for recovering addicts to meet weekly and hear about this Jesus who can set them free from sin and the bondage of addiction. I started going with her mainly to support my mom in what she had become so passionate about. But soon, I too, felt comfortable being with other people who had struggled with addiction. I was on the other side though. My life has been affected by addiction and I can relate to the things people share. It has also helped me to understand my father’s struggles better. One meeting, a man was talking about how he wanted to pick up where he left off with his son. This man had spent some time in prison. I shared with him that restoration takes time and that his son has been hurt by his addiction just as I had with my dad. Repairing relationships doesn’t happen overnight. I really feel like I have something to bring to the meetings, a different experience in addiction. I leave the meetings feeling refreshed and feel as though I belong. I am building friendships with other men in the group and I look forward to going each week.
Recently we experienced a very challenging situation in our family. It was an emotional time and I was struggling with how to process what had happened. The same day on my way to work, I past an accident where a motorcyclist was killed. I was so shaken up and emotionally drained. I arrived at work and thankfully was sent home to deal with all that had happened. My mom and I went straight to the Tong’s house for counsel and prayer. We spent three hours with them. I left encouraged, reminded that God ‘s plans are for my good and that He is with me. He loves and cares for me especially in trials. The next morning, on my way to church there was a man wandering the neighborhood. He was clearly on drugs and was unable to find his house. I stopped and had much compassion for him. I wanted to help him find his way home. I did what I could and arrived at church late. I sat next to my mom and shortly after, I received a text from one of the guys from the Hope For Addiction meeting. He said “I just felt I should reach out to you to encourage you that whatever your going through, God loves you and cares for you.” This man knew nothing of what happened over the past two days. I was overwhelmed. God used him to remind me of His great love for me in my time of need. What an amazing God!
Today I am changed, different then I was, and growing in my faith. I never thought Hope For Addiction would be such an important part of my life. I hope to be able to help children of addicts with my experiences and help them to find hope in Christ. My relationship with my mom is priceless. We have grown close and we both want to share the truth of the gospel.
God has used His work in other people to encourage me and I have been changed in the process.