YOUR LIFE IS YOUR OWN –
June 1, 2021 – Most would keep such skeletons secreted in the closet, but Jake discusses it openly believing it will inspire change, hope and healing among those grappling with the worst of life’s circumstances. His retelling of the journey is as raw, unadulterated and unapologetic as a big city tabloid.
Alcohol became a routine part of Jake’s life early in his enlisted years. He joined the military in 1983, married in 1985 and eventually fathered three daughters. Drinking at home never got out of hand because of “self-regulation,” as he put it.
What Jake didn’t know was that he was waging a war in his mind. The scars of an abusive childhood became evident one day when his then-9-year-old daughter Kelli failed to clean up after herself in the kitchen.
“I remember getting so mad at her and shouting, ‘KELLI!’ I lurched toward her – I will never forget – and that girl backed up into the corner, and I saw the fear in her eyes. She knew I was going to hit her. I stopped at that point and said, ‘Kelli, I’m so sorry.’ What my dad did to me … stops here. No more.’”
His close call with child abuse was clearly distressing to recall, but he pushed back the tears and continued the story, again revealing the sensibility of someone determined to openly acknowledge problems and shortcomings rather than hide behind denial. It was a part of “Rational Jake” – his thoughtful and pragmatic alter-ego that would repeatedly come to his rescue.
Around the turn of the century, Jake was an Air Force recruiter in Baltimore. He was in his late-30s, and he was feeling the pressure of being an “outsider white male” saddled with the challenge of engaging and signing up mostly inner-city black youths. The obstacles were plentiful and drinking seemed like a good way to block it out. Rational Jake, however, needed more.
“It became overwhelming, and I was finally able to say, ‘I need help.’ I felt there was nothing wrong with that.”