20 years later.

20 years ago this morning I watched their heroes die, and today I remain determined my children will never watch me die the coward I once was for eight years.

In a puddled pooled of sweat, I awoke on the 10th anniversary morning of 9/11. I’d been a week in seclusion detoxing from eight years of daily drug use. I turned on the news to a dozen or more tearful interviews with the heroes’ children now ten years older and still missing their families.

The regret of how I’d lived all my intoxicated years was no emotional comparison to the pain those kids had endured daily for the past decade. Those scenes were a sobering chance epiphany that I’d been spared from a certain chemical fate and that morning began my journey of 10 consecutive years in sobriety.

The faces and tears of those children, orphaned by tragedy and forever deprived of parents, confirmed I was no hero but that I had been granted a future if I chose it.

It’s not the stuff of heroes and I may never be someone’s, but on 9/11/11 I resumed being a father while those fatherless children still grieved. Some days change an entire nation and some make change possible one day at a time. Some do both.