Last year, I took over a new store and hired a gentleman by the name of Bernard Anderson. Bernard had been waving for 2 years at that location. I hired him and he started working. About 2 weeks into the season, Bernard came in for a shift and had obviously been drinking that day. As much as it hurt to do, we let Bernard go.
Last fall we started seeing Bernard hanging around the area as usual, but he seemed a little different than before. He came in several times and asked for his job back. Initially, I told him no, but Bernard is a go-getter. He is relentless. He finally came to my manager, Bill Kemp, and explained to Bill that he was sober, cleaned up, and ready to work. Bill told him that we would try to give him another chance.
In the coming weeks, every time Bernard came by he had a new number to tell us. His number went from 30 to 40 to 50 and continued to climb. This number - that Bernard wears as a badge of courage every day - is his number of days sober. I decided to talk to Bernard and get the whole story so that we could help him and support him on this journey. Bernard's life started to go to some dark places last winter. He suffers from some depression issues and was attempting to self medicate by abusing alcohol. Around the beginning of October of last year, Bernard and his wife decided that it was time to check into a program and clean up his life. He spent 4 days in the facility and came out a new man.
According to Bernard, one of his worst triggers was the people that he was hanging around with on a day-to-day basis. He says that now Liberty has given him somewhere to be around positive people who support him instead of bringing him down. In his words "Liberty is a blessing. I get to see smiling faces and how people light up to see me waving."
Bernard's initial goal is to make it to 365 days sober. Every day, his family asks him what his number is? Every day, his Liberty family also asks him what his number is? Bernard is a new man. This morning, Bill asked "Bernard what's your number?" Today, Bernard's number is 110.
Author: Cuylor Leverett