When I was a kid I had trouble distinguishing between my needs and my wants. I felt that I needed my day just as much as I needed another pair of shoes. I wanted my mom as much as I wanted to stay home from school. I just assumed that if I wanted it, I needed it, whatever “it” was at the time. This feeling stayed with me into my teenage years. Only now, I needed marijuana, my friends’ approval, and the bike that the kid down the road had. I always knew drugs were bad, but I “needed” them anyways. I felt alone and I couldn’t stand it anymore. My parents worked long days which left the weight of the world on me and my older brother. So, it was up to us to clean house, make meals, and take care of each other. The problem with this was that I preferred my friends’ company, and in return I was raised by “the streets”—what we called our stomping grounds. My life quickly spun out of control due to my now habitual drug use and persistent legal trouble. Not to mention, I became a high school drop-out at the age of sixteen.
Even after I had gotten married, had children, and paid bills, I was struggling to become a responsible adult. The truth is that I never really cared. I had my first child, a daughter, when I was nineteen. I then had to lay my first son to rest at the age of twenty-one. I only continued to use drugs. Truth be told, the only change I made in my life was my drug of choice. I was now a heroin user. Even years later after my wife and I had our second son, I still didn’t get it. I even went to jail the day after his birth and lost yet another job. That son is now four, my daughter is ten, and my first son has been with God for seven years.
Even with the wreckage of my past, today I stand a free man. Free from the guilt for things I have done and things done to me. Free from the grips of drugs and alcohol. And, free from the pain I caused and endured. Thanks to Neighbors of Hope I have a new found, intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I am now looking to a promising future of who I am. I am more than a poet. I am more than a musician. I am more than a recovering addict. I, Randy Lafave, am a proud and beloved child of God. And to Him I give praise.
Randy Lafave – LifeChange member at Neighbors of Hope