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[ Opinion ] [ Personal Narratives ]


On August 18, 2015 the day after my son Dale celebrated his 38th birthday, I was driving and passed by this street named THORNWELL COURT. Let me share why this particular street has such significance in my son’s life. It was December 2004 a day of amazing excitement for Dale because it was MOVING DAY for him. Finally after waiting a long time to live independently his time had come. Prior to this transition Dale had struggled with alcohol addiction but he was in a period of recovery because of divine intervention God rescued him from the bondage of addiction. So my son already had been blessed with his “first housewarming” gift SOBRIETY!! I remembered how Dale worked full time, saved his money to make purchases for his new home. One of Dale’s close friends even blessed him a slightly used living room suit.

The first year for Dale was challenging because the demons of his past namely  alcohol began tormenting him and coupled with living alone for the first time which he initially viewed as a blessing in actuality now became a “curse.” Even though Dale was in recovery he did not put the necessary work into strengthening his sobriety by attending Alcoholic Anonymous Meetings or seeking out a AA Sponsor. Maintaining his sobriety required real work and I do not believe he was ready to begin the process of real change. He relapsed in 2005 and this time it would take SEVEN years for him to again experience sobriety and freedom from this addiction. Thornwell Court became the dwelling place spawned in “hell.” My son’s name was on the lease, but he really did not live there; alcoholism had taken up residence and it wasn’t planning to leave!!   Thornwell Court was a place where Dale experienced so much PAIN!!  Dale was violently assaulted by someone he attempted to help (his jaw was fractured in 2009). He started using cocaine, developed a nicotine addiction and  pursued unhealthy and destructive relationships with some of the other residents. Thornwell Court  became a “thorn in my side” and on many days I cursed every evil and demonic spirit attacking my son as well as of the other residents in the community.  A reprieve came in the form of a eviction notice in 2010. Dale had been unemployed for a while so his rent was behind but in retrospect the eviction notice saved his life, because Dale’s life was spiraling out of control. Dale moved back home with us but the drinking continue and then I became co-dependent in my numerous attempts in convincing Dale to stop drinking. Not really understanding the totality of this disease at that moment, but in time I finally understood that professional treatment would be absolutely necessary in him overcoming alcoholism. In February 2012 after the sudden death of singer Whitney Houston Dale made the most important decision of his life to finally seek treatment. So on February 21, 2012, he began treatment at the Charlotte Rescue Mission, completed the program successfully and now serves as a Alcoholic Anonymous Sponsor and is employed as a Peer Coach servicing clients overcoming substance abuse and mental health challenges. This February 2016 Dale will celebrate 4 years of sobriety. Thornwell Court is now a vivid memory of a painful time for my family, but it also a place where the GRACE of God shone its brightest!!! That community has experienced such renovations since Dale’s time of living there, but so has my son Dale’s life. He too has experienced profound life renovation and transformation since 2012. Today when I drive by THORNWELL COURT I smile because God rescued him from the clutches of death. No longer a place of pain, but one of GAIN and a precious life CHANGED!!!