Happy Birthday, Brad!

My son, Brad, is another year older today but this birthday marks way more than a year’s worth of growing.

Brad at 1 year old.

For the previous 10 years Brad lost track of who he was and wandered from one mishap to another, eventually ending up with an addiction problem, legal troubles and many strained relationships–not the least of which was ours.

A year ago as a family we realized Brad needed help and began to plan an intervention.  Tough as it was, we were preparing to give him the ultimatum:  Choose life and we will walk alongside you, or continue this path of destruction on your own.  We wrote letters, searched out potential rehab programs, prepared our ‘bottom lines’ and prayed fervently.  Liz, my eldest daughter, and I were charged with searching out rehab programs and found ourselves one afternoon asking, “How does one experience the  forgiveness needed to overcome the shame, and experience the freedom from addiction except through Christ?”  We wanted Brad to be free from the bondage of the addiction, yet he made it VERY clear to us that God, Jesus, and anything having to do with faith was just a crutch and clearly (to him) a stupid way to live.  We identified a few rehab programs: No Longer Bound in West Georgia and a closer-to-home program in Michigan, and decided they were our best options.

We held an intervention and Brad agreed to go to a nearby detox program…”Yay!” we thought.  4 days later he checked himself out.  Devastated by his choice, we issued our bottom lines and Rich dropped him off on a corner in Detroit.  Rich looked in the rear view mirror as he drove away, thinking, “This may be the last time I ever see my son alive, or not behind bars.”  Weeks passed and we heard little if anything from or about Brad.  Then one day he showed up at Rich’s office and said he was done.  He wanted to enter a rehab program, and he wanted to go to the one in Georgia…a Christ-centered program.  Not what we expected to hear from Brad, but exactly what we had prayed for!

It was not an easy start.  The 3 day trip down and back to Georgia that Rich had planned took 9 days.  But despite the delays, Brad was accepted and on that October day, began the journey we had hoped for.

For 2 months we had no direct contact with Brad.  We could call down to the program and the most we would hear was that he was still there.  That was all we needed to know!  Just before Christmas each of us, Rich, Liz, Maggie, myself and even the dog, received the first personal communication from Brad…intimate letters with updates, reflections, and apologies.  We took turns reading them (between sobs) to each other and sharing them with friends and family.  My favorite line in my letter is, “Oh yeah, I love going to church now.  I HAVE BEEN SAVED…”  Now you may begin to see what we have to celebrate!

Our first visit with Brad at No Longer Bound West Georgia

For me this year has been a reminder of God’s faithfulness.  For years my prayer had been that Brad would be surrounded by Godly men who could speak Truth into his life and for the first time, (well after I had hoped, yet perfectly timed), this prayer was being answered.  Not only that, but Brad was listening, hearing and responding.  My son is now a Christ-follower, has been drug-free for 9 1/2 months, and as he told us on our last visit in mid-July, “I have never been happier in my whole life!”

This year has everlasting value and we truly have something to celebrate.  Thank you God for loving my son back to us.

Happy Birthday, Brad!  You have LOTS to celebrate this year.

Love,

mom xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxo

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22 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Brad!

  1. Oh, Colleen. God is so faithful, isn’t He? Thank you for being so open and honest to tell your story. What an encouragement this will be to those who are still waiting for their prodigal to come home. Happy Birthday, Brad!!!

  2. Wow…how awesome. I remember babysitting this young whipper snapper, and words like INTENDO and his friend Donnamic, a.k.a. Dominic..So happy for you and him that Jesus has given him a new life. Happy Birthday Brad.

  3. I’m trying to figure out how to hold the IRS at bay, make payroll, increase sales, decrease costs, improve quality, ship on time, design Salsa machines, fix hydraulic leaks, change the toilet paper, all the while bawling like a 5 year old. But they are tears of joy… Happy Birthday son!

  4. Wow…what an emotional year it has been for all of you. I was reading this with tears of happiness and joy. Happy birthday sweet Brad! You were Scotty’s first “best friend” when we moved to Michigan. My kids loved being in your home, and we had so many fun overnighters in our home too. Even Maggie at age 4 would come and spend the night. God IS good ALL the time. Love to all of you!

  5. This is awesome for all of you! Remarkable story and remarkable recovery for Brad. So very happy for you!! Happy Birthday!

  6. C,
    Thank you for sharing such a personal and awe-inspiring journey. Brad looks excellent in these pictures… that is not the young man I met at Maggie’s grad party. The transforming power of God has delivered a birthday present to you all. Again, thanks for sharing that gift with all of us.
    Love, Hugs, and Blessings to you and Brad!!

  7. Way to go Brad – Keep the faith. Hope you had a great birthday. In fact, go enjoy a nice steak dinner on me and send the bill to your Dad.

    Hey, now that you’re in Georgia could you try and find something down there for me? It’s called Brownie in a Jar (I’m serious – and it’s seriously good) Thanks and all the best!

  8. I do wish to add to the narrative a bit: The program that Brad is in is called “No Longer Bound”. http://www.nolongerbound.com/ . Please, if you are a man in addiction or know someone that is, I can’t recommend this enough. There are four main aspects that I think makes this program a success:

    (1) This is a Christ based program but it is not bible thumping, mind control, brain washing, militia training or whatever one might associate when you hear the term “faith based”. The men are free to believe what they wish but NLB (and we) are not apologetic in the belief that true healing starts with personal a relationship with Jesus. There is much hard work, accountability, honesty, set backs, consequences, repentance, and forgiveness in the process. It works.

    (2) NLB makes the distinction they are not a rehab program but a regeneration program. This isn’t just about getting sober but understanding the root cause (which is believing the lie that you are worthless) and becoming a whole, productive, flawed (as are we all) but worthy creation. Does it make sense that we would be created in God’s image and be anything less?

    (3) This is a 10 month long program. I am more and more convinced that we are deluded into thinking that a 5 day detox, a 30 day rehab or even 6 months is enough time to heal the wounds of addiction. It’s not…

    (4) It is affordable. Most addicts are dependent on family to support their habit. This ends at NLB. There is an initial fee (which probably covers 10% of the cost of the program that the man is expected to repay his family) but the majority of the cost comes from income generating programs that the men participate in (as well as donations but their goal is to be self sufficient). The work is an integral part of the recovery process and is not intended as vocational training. It is important that the man understands that he participating in something bigger than himself.

    Whether you have a needle in your arm, supporting someone that does, pay higher taxes for ineffective government drug programs or just fear for your life when you walk down the streets – you are a slave to addiction. Check out NLB. Consider supporting this program. They saved my son.

    – Rich

  9. Pingback: A little more about No Longer Bound « grosse pointe knitter

  10. So thrilled to get the good news of redemption, renewal, healing and fresh eyes to go forward in his adult life– can’t wait to see how God uses his unique talents and strengths to make an impact for others!!! What a unique journey!! xoxoxox

  11. Just saw your post today Colleen. I am so happy for all of you….especially Brad. To think of him taking Sunday afternoon naps with me on your couch…him small enough to lie on my chest…it’s been a long time!

  12. Better late than never. Sorry this is so after the fact.
    Here’s to a boy who has learned to be a man. I am so very proud that you embraced the courage inside, and let your faith begin to heal your wounds inside and out. It spread like wildfire and has touched your family and friends.
    Brad, your birthday is a celebration for everyone, and we’re thankful that you made it. Keep moving forward and don’t look back. I’ll see you in October my wing man!!!Love you!

  13. Just learned how to reply. Praising God with you! Wonderful news, appreciate you sharing, fighting back tears of joy. God’s continued blessings to you and your family. Love Elzia

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