Reading time: 6 minutes

Author Neil Gaiman said in his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane “As we age, we become our parents; live long enough and we see faces repeat in time.”

Some of us hear this and think “Become like my parents? NO! PLEASE! ANYTHING BUT THAT!”

Maybe a few of us even actually think “Cool! My parents are awesome!”

For me, I have both feelings. See, I have a great father, or well I had a great father. He was a good family man and always worked hard. Growing up there was no reason for me to complain. That was until 2010. 

 

My Father

I was a sophomore in college sitting in my dorm when I got a call from my younger brother asking if I had heard from dad. I replied that I hadn’t in a few days. It turns out no one had that day. I drove home from college and we called the police, turns out you can’t file a missing person report for a grown man unless you have reason to believe he will hurt himself or others.

Long story short, we found out the next day that my dad had been caught embezzling at his work and took off. For the next week, no matter how hard we tried to get in touch with him, the phone always went right to voicemail. So, a few days later I just decided to go back to college, because what else was I going to do? 

I was sitting in my public speaking class when I got the call… the one from my older brother. I couldn’t answer so I texted him: “Hey, everything okay?” His response, “they found dad.” So, naturally, I sprinted out of the room to call my brother. That is when he told me, my dad had taken his own life in a random place a few hours away. The rest of that month is just a blur… 

But as we continued to figure out some things, we learned quite a bit:

  • My dad had been hiding an alcohol addiction (yes you can do that);
  • There were things from his childhood as an orphan that he never handled in a healthy way;
  • He needed help and never looked for it.

 

So Why Do I Share This Awful Story?

It’s been years now, so it’s not for sympathy. I share it because of one simple fact… I am very much like my father.

I’m goofy like him, I make corny jokes like him, I love to make people laugh like him.

I also have hidden things like him. I have made awful decisions like him. I’ve put on an “everything is great” mask like him.

Well, that was until recently… through a number of circumstances and pain that I had caused myself and others, I realised that I was heading down the same path as my father. 

This isn’t necessarily some new idea. We see people make the same mistakes their parents make, boys who grew up without fathers often abandon their own children, children with parents who struggle with addiction often struggle with addiction themselves.

But for me and my life, I am saying “no more.” No longer will I head down a destructive path like the one my father went down, I am breaking the cycle. 

So, how will I break the cycle? Sheer individual determination and will? Nope. 

In fact, my dad tried to do that, and it didn’t work. So, I am doing something else… I’m getting help, and here is how:

 

1. I’m Not Hiding Anymore

I’m letting people know me. I am letting my wife know me. I’m letting my friends know me. And I’m not hiding my struggles and faults. I will not do this alone anymore. 

Letting my family and friends in when I was heading down a similar path to my dad has been the single greatest thing I have ever done. It was hard, it sucked, I was scared, but now they stand with me and I am not alone in working to break the cycle.

 

2. I’m Getting Counselling

Yeah, I know only weak people go to counsellors or therapist, well then call me weak. People spend thousands upon thousands of dollars fixing and investing in their car with a mechanic yet aren’t willing to spend any money fixing and investing in themselves.

Well, I’m more important than my car, so I’ll do whatever I have to do to break the cycle and get fixed.

 

3. I’m Going To Do What I Love

I like being with people, so I am going to be with people. I like reading, so I am going to read. I want to try and start some sort of side-business one day, so I am going to invest time in that. I’m done spending all my time worrying about what people will think of me, I’m going to do what I was created to do, and I am going to love people the way I was created to love people. 

And finally, …

I’m going to help others break the cycle. 

You don’t have to go down the path you’re currently on, there is still time and there are people who want to help.

So what do you say, will you break the cycle with me?

 

Hi, I’m Jeremy. I am a program director for a community centre working with at-risk students of all ages. I have been married to a lovely woman named Rachel since 2015.

I am really passionate about mentoring and being mentored. I think there is so much that we can learn from people who have gone before us. I also am really into marriage and trying to constantly become a better husband.

So if you bring those two things together, that is where you get the inspiration for my mini-blog: www.intentionalhusband.com

Here is where I pass on to other husbands (boyfriends and fiancés) small applicable things that other men have shared with me on how to love our wives better. My dad wasn’t the greatest of husbands, and I am determined to break that cycle.

If you are interested in joining this journey with me, check out the blog and subscribe with your email address. Be blessed!

Jeremy Vanderslice

“We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer