Father’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the men in our lives who have helped guide us. This year, Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) is reminding us how recovery can rebuild and reunite families.
Hunter Glasscock and Gerald “Jerry” Long are two fathers with stories we can all learn something from. Their journeys are of repeated resilience, hope in their hardest times and a call to action to all dads listening.
Raised in Bullitt County, Hunter fondly remembers his childhood. He came from a good household, went to church every Sunday and played every sport he could. It wasn’t until Hunter went to college that his substance use began.
During his battle with addiction, Hunter was separated from his daughter.
“I was lying in a cleared-out apartment after my daughter was taken away, and I remember thinking I was finally free to do what I wanted to do,” he recounts. “I had successfully eliminated responsibility out of my life. Five years ago, Father’s Day was just another day.”
Today, four years into his recovery journey, Hunter shares a new outlook on life and what it means to be a dad.
“My kids know me now as a consistent figure in their life. I show up every single day, whether they want me to be there or not,” says Hunter, who is now a program director at ARC’s Crown Recovery Center in Washington County. “They know I’m someone who helps other men get sober. They know that’s my job and they know I have a past and that I work at it every day to get better and help others get better.”
Hunter’s message this Father’s Day to those struggling is simple.
“There are kids out there that need you. They look up to you. Everything you do, they’re watching. There’s help out there. Go get it. It’s the best decision you will make,” he says. “Getting sober for yourself and living life for your kids, that’s what Father’s Day can be for you now. It can serve as a reminder that the fight toward sobriety is worth it for you and for them.”
Hunter’s recovery has empowered him to give back to his community. As a football coach for Washington County High School, he is serving as a mentor, role model and father figure for dozens of young men each season.
Another dad making a difference at ARC is Gerald “Jerry” Long, who’s part of the community liaison team in Northern Kentucky. Life as a father in long-term recovery is not something he takes for granted.
“I got sober a week before my oldest son’s second birthday. He was my motivation. Without him being there, I probably wouldn’t have given sobriety a second thought. I knew I had to do something different to be a dad,” he recalls. “Today, I get to be a dad, I get to be an employee and I get to provide for my children. It’s an unmatched feeling.”
Jerry echoes Hunter’s advice for fathers dealing with untreated substance use.
“There’s a way out. There’s a better way to live. Despite what your past looks like and the stigma that surrounds fathers, you can choose to start today to be the parent you know you need to be,” he says. “These kids need us just as much as they need their mothers. Show them that you love them and that you choose them. I’m living proof that you can do it.”