Frank: Taking Baby Steps


Life for me has not been easy. Growing up I experienced a great deal of abuse. My mother and stepfather had bad anger and drinking issues and regularly beat me for things I didn’t do. I found pleasure in seclusion. Even though it was lonely, it was also safe from the school kids being mean, a pastor who molested me during an overnight youth group activity, and my mother who I thought hated me. I had no self-worth. I was a runaway very early in life, from about kindergarten on.

At 15 I ran away for the last time. I was placed into my father’s house. He was listed on my birth certificate as my father but I had never heard of him and neither of us believed he was my father. He was, however, my bull’s eye for bitterness. At 17 I was with less than desirable friends and we got into a lot of trouble. I was kicked out of school on many occasions and I drank a lot. I broke into a beer distributorship warehouse and was arrested. This ended my relationship with my birth certificate father. I was kicked out.

I was still on a fast track to hell when my grandmother took me in. I had no place to go, but my grandmother never let me down. I think she thought of me as her own son. One of my sisters and I lived there together and life became one big party after another. I was caught selling drugs in school, which ruined any chance of graduating from my home school or any of the privileges of the higher classes, such as dances, prom, sports or anything else. I was told I was going to prison unless I helped the police. I set up my sister’s boyfriend, my cousin, a childhood friend, and a motorcycle gang. I was scared and hurting for what I did. I hid for a long time with different clothes and hair. I knew how bad my sister felt when I betrayed her trust, and I lied in court to help everyone get out of jail. Everyone was let loose but the police were mad at me, everyone hated me and many wanted to kill me. I tried suicide by overdose and then by auto accident but neither worked.

I decided it would be best to leave Michigan, so I moved to Florida. I stayed with a friend and worked, but my drinking and behavior was self destroying. I lost my job due to all my absences and then my place of residence as well. I was on the street with no job, and was hungry, cold, sleepy, and scared. I prostituted myself to anyone with money. I was battered and raped and I hated and was sickened by what I was doing. A man offered to let me stay at his home as long as I did what he said. I hated the men there that were taking advantage of my youth and my setbacks. One night, I had enough and attacked three men with a chair leg. The police showed up and beat me down with their clubs. After two months fighting charges I was given an offer to leave the county and never come back. I spent a few months on a shrimp boat, then worked in a shipyard where I could live in the yard off the streets. I got so drunk and high on pills that I almost died several times and was fired and kicked off the property.

I went home to Michigan hoping all was forgotten, but it wasn’t. I had my sister and her boyfriend to deal with. I fought with them and ended up hospitalized. I tried suicide again and this time was taken to Kalamazoo State Hospital where I stayed for 60 days. I had a few more episodes but after this I started Teen Challenge and progressed slowly. I graduated and returned to my hometown where it all went bad again. My sister, her boyfriend and I all became involved in break-ins and drugs. During one of the break-ins, my sister’s boyfriend was stabbed, leaving a one-year-old daughter. I went to prison. After that, my sister was very bitter. Even though I had tried to save her boyfriend, I failed. He died and I was alive, so my sister blamed me and raised their daughter to hate me.

I met my wife in 1997. She was just another girl, but she got pregnant. We cared about each other but we never truly loved each other and that brought problems. My drinking, my marijuana, and my inner turmoil all became turmoil for my wife. She also had deep issues, including a mood disorder, depression, and anxiety. There was fighting all the time, drinking, smoking pot, and a lot of mental issues between both of us. Our second child was born but now we are no longer together.

My children are my life. My daughter is 9 and my son is 5. I also have three older stepsons who I raised with her and they are very close to me. Right now they are all in state custody. I have my disorders and my wife has hers, but the children love me and they are also happy where they are and that is all that matters to me.

All that is in the past. I am very happy now. I have reconciled with my father and I also speak to my mother and love her deeply. We all just did some growing up, but mainly I did. I am disabled with schizoid affective, bi-polar, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mood disorders. Along with this I still suffer from my past substance and alcohol addictions. I have not drunk in eight years or smoked marijuana in four years. There are no other drugs in my life except my prescribed meds that I have to take. I belong to a very nice church in Cadillac, and I have my own place now, after my parents helped me to nurture me back to a stable mental health. Most of all I belong to a beautiful organization called Club Cadillac. The members and the staff run this club together and we as members learn to be more efficient. At this time I am enrolled in Baker College and I am taking the baby steps I need to to be a caring, loving, productive man. Through God we can do all things!

I care about young teenagers being misled, young adults who has no one to count on, and I care about what others do with their lives.