“A man never cries.” These were some of the first words Ahmad Abu Saleh heard from his strict father. In his eyes, showing emotions was a sign of weakness, one that should be eradicated, even if it required punishment.

Born as the sixth child in a family of twelve, Ahmad quickly realized that his desires for safety, warmth, and connection weren’t met at home or school. His father always told him to “be strong” and never surrender. As a teenager, Ahmad rebelled against his peers and teachers due to his perceived isolation, leading to his expulsion from school. He worked with his brothers at a kiosk and later relocated to Eilat to aid his financially struggling family. There, he resisted the influence of his coworkers, many of whom indulged in drugs and alcohol.

Later, a relative told Ahmad about an arranged engagement planned by his father. Overwhelmed by years of strained relations, Ahmad couldn’t confront his father, even though he was hesitant about the marriage. However, he started using drugs. When his fiancée’s family found out, the engagement was called off. Ahmad then left drugs behind and married a woman of his choice.

But his battle with addiction resumed. His marriage suffered, and within eight months, they separated. As his life spiraled, hard drugs took over. He resorted to theft and deceit to support his habit. Despite multiple rehab attempts, he couldn’t break free. After remarrying and fathering two sons, his addiction persisted.

One day, out of funds, his son offered his savings. Shamefully, Ahmad took it, sinking further into his addiction.

Yet, that act changed him. He turned to God, asking for strength or an end. On March 19, 1988, Ahmad’s sister introduced him to a clinic. He stayed a year, confronting his troubled past and relationship with his father. He found healing and began to taste freedom.

However, full recovery wasn’t easy. Due to his past, finding employment was tough. But with the support of his social worker and a newfound purpose, Ahmad completed a counselor course, marking a significant achievement.

Now, he serves at House of Grace, assisting others in their battles with addiction. He remains grateful for his unwavering family and friends and acknowledges the new lease on life he’s been given. With over 6500 sober days behind him, Ahmad’s story highlights the transformative power of rehab centers like House of Grace, reinforcing the belief that everyone deserves a second shot at life.