Often times the greatest reward for the work we do at the Nursery is hearing the impact our work has made in the lives of children and families. That was the case at our Vanessa’s Promise Benefit Luncheon this past June when more than 1,000 Nursery supporters in our audience had the privilege of hearing Nursery Dad Aaron Day a veteran and recovering addict, courageously share his story of Hope.
Aaron began his story providing a background of his childhood, teenage, and early adult struggles with addiction. “I was born to two parents with addiction issues and raised most of my life by a single mother who has battled all of her adult life with addiction.” By age 13 Aaron admitted already heading down the path of addiction. Even after four years in the military, Aaron once again turned to substances after reentering civilian life. On top of addiction issues, post military, Aaron was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and chronic depression.
While struggling to remain clean, Aaron met his children’s mother, Sabrina, who also was an addict. During their rocky relationship Sabrina and Aaron had two children, Luka and Jackson. Sabrina was not fit to help care for the kids, leaving Aaron as a single parent. Circumstances led Aaron to get psychiatric help and for the first time he accepted that he was an addict and began treatment. “I was open and receptive to treatment and wanted to get my life together so my children would have a different childhood.”
While Aaron was recovering, he turned to the Nursery. “Because being a single dad of two children under the age 5 can be stressful; learning how to be a better parent and manage my time was something I needed help with, I was able to get help with these things with the services I received at the Nursery.” Picking up his children after their first visit, Aaron felt relaxed and relieved. “I was able to have some time alone, I went to my alcoholics/narcotics addiction meetings, and I was just able to focus on me…without the worry of caring for both kids by myself.” “When I arrived to pick them up and both of them were happy and laughing and sharing stories about the toys and the things they did, I knew I had made the right decision.”
After utilizing our child care a few more times Aaron enrolled himself in a Nursery parenting class. “I learned so much and really appreciated hearing other parents talk about their stories and the things they were dealing with.” For the first time he realized he was not alone as a parent. He had such a good experience that he enrolled in a second session of classes loving the support, education, and encouragement to keep working to be the best parent possible.
To this day, Aaron is still utilizing the Nursery, “I know I am still on my journey of recovery and parenting differently but I am so grateful that the Nursery has been there to help. So many times in my life I have felt hopeless. The Nursery has changed that,, I feel there is hope for me. They have not only given me the tools I need to be better, they have given me the time to take a break, focus on my treatment, stay clean and continue making changes. I think my children’s story will be different from mine as I continue to seek and ask for help and learn to accept the support.”
Aaron ended his story thanking the audience for supporting the Nursery. “Without you, my story would be very different and so would that of my children, Thank you.”