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Lightening the Load of Grief and Recovery


Frankie is a carpenter and proud Texas native from West Texas. He’s now grateful that he lives in Lewisville, near his two brothers, three daughters, and four grandchildren. He lights up when he speaks about his youngest granddaughter, who looks just like him and runs straight to him every time she comes to visit. Sobriety hasn’t been easy since his wife passed away four years ago, but his kids and grandchildren continue to give Frankie a reason to fight.


Frankie is a self-defined alcoholic but had stopped drinking seven years before his wife passed. However, the grief of her passing led him back to alcohol. “It kept building up,” he said. Being alone and raising three daughters wasn’t easy, and his wife passed just as his last daughter was about to graduate high school. The stress and grief from his wife’s passing caused Frankie to relapse. In fact, researchers have found that grief triggers the part of the brain which increases a longing for alcohol and drugs.* Thus, mental health resources are especially important for those who are grieving and are in recovery.


The stress and grief from his wife’s passing caused Frankie to relapse.

After getting two DWIs, Frankie was sent to prison. While he was in prison, he missed the birth of his youngest granddaughter, which he deeply regrets. At this point, Frankie knew he needed to change. Even though he managed to quit drinking and stay sober for a year, he realized that he still hadn’t dealt with his grief.


While Frankie was in prison, he was told about a number of behavioral health agencies. But when he spoke with David Bauerkemper (Homeward Bound’s Denton County Manager), he felt a spark; Homeward Bound was the place that could really help. He started coming to seek grief counseling at Homeward Bound’s outpatient location in The Colony, which allowed him to start speaking about the death of his wife. Before Homeward Bound, he had never spoken about her death with anyone. He had struggled with carrying the weight of his grief and pain alone.


"I feel a lot better, a lot stronger now."

On his last day of counseling at Homeward Bound, Frankie shares that he is grateful for having the opportunity to find the compassionate counseling he needed for his grief and sobriety. Now each day, he can look forward to waking up and being healthy for his children and grandchildren. While comparing himself to the man he was before he came to Homeward Bound, Frankie says, “I feel a lot better, a lot stronger now.”

Homeward Bound Inc. is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization based in North and Far West Texas. If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder or having a mental health crisis, please call Homeward Bound at 214-941-3500.


* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2553561/

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