A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

Pride Aside is one Father’s attempt to be vocal about his
son’s addiction, and how their family has navigated this
perilous journey together.

“Raw, brutally transparent, real, heart-wrenching,
inspiring, relatable, frustrating, unsettling,

“A gift of unsettled but secure
promise to those who are struggling
along the broken road called life.”

Dr. Rob Futral, Senior Pastor
Broadmoor Baptist Church, Madison MS

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I love sitting on the front row. Don’t you? Think about it. When you brag to
your friends about the tickets you got to the basketball game, you brag even
louder when they are courtside, front row. Concert tickets, wouldn’t you love
to be on the front row? A friend of ours got us tickets to a Texas Rangers
baseball game when Ben was about nine and Michael was about six; Box #1,
Row #1, Seats #1, #2, #3, and #4. Front row! We could high-five the guy in the
batter’s box by the third base dugout. We were not seated behind the dugout;
we were seated BESIDE the dugout! Front row. Bob Uecker, Mr. Baseball,
once did a commercial and after being booted from his seat at a baseball game
announced to the neighboring fans that “I must be on the Front Rooowwwww”.
At church, Joni and I sit on the front row. You can’t beat the legroom when
there are no seats in front of you. When we moved back to Madison in 1992
we visited what was to become our home church, and on our first visit there
we sat on the front row. You could tell a couple of staff members were
confused. They looked at us from across the room and knew they didn’t
recognize us and thought we might be visitors, but were hesitant to introduce
themselves because they also thought we must be regular attendees if we were
brave enough to sit on the front row.
Today I humbly sat on the 15th row at Broadmoor Baptist Church. Today I
didn’t want to be on the front row, although there were many times over the last
several years in which I thought I might be thrust onto the front row in this
setting. The front row today was reserved for the family of Parker Rodenbaugh
as the community gathered to celebrate Parker’s life. Parker’s father, Rick,
held tightly to the arm of his lovely wife Cordie, as she struggled on wobbly
legs to make her way to the front row. Parker, a 22-year-old student at
Mississippi State University and a graduate of Madison Central High School,
died early Sunday morning of a drug overdose, shortly after making his way
back to the MSU campus for the fall semester.
Many of Parker’s friends paid a teary tribute to him from the platform.
They described him as handsome, a young man with a perfect smile and
brilliant eyes, a friend who knew when to make you laugh and comforted you
when you cried. I was so thankful today that I was not seated on the front row,
and so saddened as I watched those who were. You would think as much as
Joni and I had prepared ourselves over the years for such a day that if anyone
in the room could understand how those on the front row felt today, it would be
us. Yet, I have no idea what they are experiencing. Not even close. As much
pain as we have felt navigating our bumps in the road, I am reminded once
again today, for our family they have only been bumps in the road. I thank God
again for giving us every day He has given us with Ben and Michael, and pray
for the Rodenbaughs and other families we know personally who no longer can
see the perfect smile or brilliant eyes of their son or daughter.

2 thoughts on “Thursday, August 14, 2014”

  1. ChristieRenfroe says:

    I just finished your book and truly enjoyed every page of it. I heard you on Rick and Bubba as I was waiting in the car for my son ,whom is a recovering addict to see his councilor. A great friend of mine was also listening and ordered me the book. I am now passing it on to my son and then my two younger children whom have lived with this addition for many years. My son Austin also went to teen challenge in Alabama! It was life changing but was not our last challenge with drugs. Austin also got arrested with a felony and had to serve two years in prison! He came home once on a drug court early release but over dosed where he was seconds from losing his life. That was the step that got his attention. He went back to prison and finished his time. He came home Thanksgiving day and is good today!! One day at a time and we as parents have to always it pride aside!! I have been very open with my sons addiction and would never have made it this far without my church family!! I am on staff at our home church and have been for many years!! Thank you again for these wonderful words of hope!! I would love for you to visit our church but don’t know if it is in our budget, what is the cost for speaking??
    Thank you and God Bless, Christie Renfroe

  2. SteveHutton says:

    I just dropped you an email with further information. Bottom line is, if we are invited to preach on a Sunday morning, and feel led to be there, we don’t let budget stand in the way. Look forward to talking with you further. Steve

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