Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Aaron, Gwen and Vonzell Chancy
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00075A
00:10 Welcome to Celebrating Life In Recovery, I'm Cheri.
00:13 You know what recovery is a whole family affair.
00:16 What one person changes, everyone changes.
00:18 Come join us and hear this incredible story.
00:48 Welcome, we are talking about families in recovery.
00:50 I wish we were talking about mine, I love my family
00:53 but we are still in the midst of all that stuff.
00:55 But today I'm going to introduce you to a family that has
00:59 really fought to bring people back to a place where they
01:03 know who they are, and they are back in the family and not
01:07 acting out, not strung out, and all that stuff.
01:09 I was just going to say that the first, Gwen, time we met,
01:13 I walked in to your office and I saw such love and joy
01:17 that you just came up and gave me this huge hug.
01:19 I didn't realize it was because you really relate to what
01:24 we talk about on this program.
01:25 It was just amazing to even see you, I was just amazed.
01:31 Oh Cheri Peters! - and I really saw that in you.
01:35 Welcome to the program Vonzell and Gwen.
01:38 - It is a pleasure.
01:40 Tell us a little bit about where you're from and we are
01:43 going to just start talking about your journey into this
01:46 whole recovery mess, because it is not something that was
01:49 in your family for generations, like my family.
01:52 - that is correct, and again I would like to say thank
01:56 you for the opportunity to be here and share.
01:59 God has been good with our family, He's been a blessing.
02:04 Gwen an I are both from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
02:09 that is where we were born and grew up.
02:11 We met each other in church. - how old were you guys?
02:15 Oh, I was in high school at the time, just about ready
02:19 to go to college and after about a year of knowing each
02:26 other... - wait a minute I want to know about this
02:28 because guys skip over all the romantic stuff.
02:31 So he is in high school and you were?
02:35 I was in high school too, he was a year ahead of me.
02:40 He was my cousin's best friend and so he would always
02:44 come over to the house, kind of a goofy guy.
02:50 I thought he was kind of a goofy guy but a nice guy.
02:55 He was my cousin's best friend and was very easy to talk
02:59 to and we were just all hanging out, friends,
03:02 that's what we were.
03:04 It's amazing how God brought this thing around that we
03:08 would end up being husband-and-wife.
03:12 - so you didn't, even when you first met, you didn't
03:15 just immediately gravitate to each other?
03:18 - uh-oh know. - so you went off to?
03:19 I went off to school in North Carolina and Gwen went to
03:24 school in Pennsylvania, a school in Pennsylvania.
03:28 What is interesting is how she even came into the life
03:34 of her cousin, because I grew up as an Adventist.
03:37 My family was Adventist whereas Gwen's family was not.
03:44 There was some roughness in her family background.
03:47 - did you have addicts in your family?
03:48 Yes I had a father who was an alcoholic, he's deceased.
03:54 - so you know what it feels like to be raised in that
03:56 environment? - yes, yes I do.
03:58 - it can be pretty crazy. - yeah it was very crazy.
04:04 - so that is what brought us to know each other because
04:07 she left that environment and went to her cousins,
04:11 or her aunts house where her cousin was who I knew.
04:16 As a result that is where we begin to know each other.
04:21 It was some years later that we got together and began to,
04:24 actually I finished college, we both finished college.
04:28 Then that is when we came back together and I was actually
04:32 looking for a mate, I was looking for someone.
04:35 The Lord had mentioned Gwen and so that is how it began.
04:40 - you know it even cracks me up here, from a Christian
04:45 perspective, when you look for a life partner it is
04:49 actually something you think about and plan.
04:51 For somebody like druggy we just stumble into them at the
04:54 grocery store, you know I mean?
04:55 We don't even check out their backgrounds, we don't care
04:58 about any of that, but a normal person literally cares
05:00 about all that stuff.
05:02 So in your mind you're thinking I'm looking for a mate,
05:05 a life partner, I would like them to be this and I am so
05:09 far removed from that, it just cracks me up.
05:11 That is what happened, I was actually looking and I think
05:14 by that time Gwen was sort of looking, I think.
05:18 - I was saying Lord when it is Your time for me,
05:22 then I surrender to that.
05:25 - didn't think was can be the goofy guy though?
05:28 - no, I did that was going to be the goofy guy.
05:36 She has mentioned that before so I know that.
05:41 I married a Boy Scout so I understand that.
05:44 When did you know it was him?
05:48 When did you know it was her?
05:51 I was tired, I was ready for marriage and the Lord just
05:57 said Gwen, and at the time I was living in Philadelphia,
06:04 I'd moved back to Philadelphia after college.
06:06 I was working in Philadelphia, she was teaching in
06:11 Virginia, Norfolk Virginia and the Lord said go visit
06:16 with her and start writing.
06:18 So that is what happened and we went from one point to
06:21 another. - and he wrote me a letter.
06:24 Well he came to visit, he showed up on my doorstep.
06:28 I didn't, I had no idea that he was going to be there.
06:31 He said he wrote me a letter but somehow or another
06:34 I didn't get it and he showed up on my doorstep.
06:37 I said, what are you doing here?
06:42 He said well you know I thought I had said to you,
06:47 would you mind if I came to see you one time?
06:50 I said okay, I did say that, so there he was.
06:54 Then he visited with me and he left.
06:58 Then one day he wrote me a letter and when I was reading
07:03 that letter, I could feel the Holy Spirit just changing
07:08 my heart about him, I mean because it wasn't anything to
07:13 do with anything in the romantic type way.
07:17 He was just Vonzell, my cousin's best friend.
07:20 Right, he's a friend, the goofy guy.
07:26 So anyhow the Lord just filled my heart changing toward
07:32 him, and I thought this is a really nice guy.
07:35 So anyhow it went on from there.
07:37 So what again is amazing to me, is that I think God
07:40 really wants to choose the people we spend the rest of
07:44 our lives with and it sounds with you guys that when you
07:47 are ready God was saying, I really do want you to open
07:50 your eyes and see each other.
07:52 So you guys fell in love, were married, started having
07:57 children, hopes for children about five years later.
08:06 But even before we started having children, we were reading
08:08 about were God wanted us to be.
08:11 We wanted to get out the city, we were both living in
08:14 Philadelphia and we started reading Adventist home and
08:18 some of the other books.
08:20 Child guidance, and we felt the Lord wanted us to move
08:24 into a rural setting.
08:27 So we started planning that, planning that we were going
08:30 to move to a rural setting.
08:31 We eventually went to North Carolina, my parents had some
08:35 property there so we moved there.
08:39 We developed the area and remove there.
08:42 The idea was that we were going to start our family there.
08:48 We ran into a little financial difficulty at that time.
08:54 That is really what led things in a different direction.
09:01 When we built a house there, in North Carolina, we didn't
09:06 take out a mortgage, we just, as we got money would put
09:12 into the house and build and build.
09:13 It took long time, we were using every available source
09:17 of income we had, credit cards, I mean we were maxing
09:21 everything out, and by the time we got to the point where
09:25 we could at least move into the house, it was not finished
09:30 or anything, we were broke.
09:32 We were just in bad shape, I'm skipping a few things,
09:38 some particulars, but at some point we decided that we
09:44 would in order to provide for health insurance and some funds.
09:51 Gwen at that time wanted to go to change careers.
09:54 She wanted nursing, she was already in education.
09:58 I wanted to change careers, because I was in social
10:02 work and I wanted to go into aviation.
10:05 So we decided, look let's do this thing all over again.
10:08 We had one son at the time, and so we decide
10:12 to go to Andrews University.
10:14 We went there and that was what our second son
10:16 was born, Aaron was born.
10:18 There was a bit of a glitch in the marriage from the start
10:27 that really made things rough for us.
10:31 - in what way? - in the sense even though we have been
10:35 reading all the Spirit of Prophecy and Bible about what
10:43 a home should be, Gwen's idea, she was looking a career.
10:51 It went from what God's ideal of a marriage, of a family should
10:59 be, in other words the male be the patriarch.
11:01 She wanted to take over with that role.
11:05 But what was really tough and my heart goes out to you, is when
11:08 you are in dysfunction, like I'm very dysfunctional home,
11:11 the men in my family were drunk and high so women tended
11:15 to take those roles.
11:16 So it's really tough coming from dysfunctional,
11:19 like you're alcoholic father.
11:20 Trusting and giving that over to the men in your life,
11:25 it is huge, it's huge.
11:28 To be able to say that deep rooted distrust of people really
11:34 taking care of you is there, so I can see that.
11:37 - you hit yet, exactly.
11:40 - what is really interesting is that I just want to
11:43 hug you and say that takes so long to give up because
11:47 most the people in your life have not been faithful,
11:50 have not taken care of your heart, have not even taken
11:52 care of your home.
11:54 So to turn it over to anybody. - you don't know how,
11:59 when you are faced with someone who is that way,
12:03 wanting to do the best for you, you do not know how to
12:07 treat them a lot of times.
12:10 You just don't know how to treat them, which was my
12:12 situation, and I did know how to react to this.
12:14 Some one that was faithful, stick to it, nice and all
12:21 those things. - what does all than mean?
12:24 One of the things that put things at a wedge for our
12:30 children was because Gwen wanted to have a career and
12:36 the type of security she saw, she would say I'll deal
12:42 with the kids at a later age.
12:46 She could deal with them when they were very young.
12:49 She said when they become teenagers, well by that time
12:53 the tree has already grown and you can't bend it at that
12:57 time, so that became a real push and pull for us.
13:03 - So what I would like to say, as far as families in recovery,
13:08 is that it never is just about the one person acting out,
13:13 it usually is about historically what happened in the parents,
13:18 and their parents, and their parents.
13:20 All of a sudden, even though you have two parents that
13:23 are thinking the same goal, in their head they think
13:26 the same goal, they are really on different pages,
13:28 being motivated by fears and insecurities,
13:32 that are generations old.
13:33 I look at some addicts sometimes, and you start to meet
13:37 the family and think this person couldn't have been any
13:41 different with all the stuff that was going on.
13:44 Not putting any blame anywhere, because there really is no
13:48 blame anywhere, I think that is why God said don't judge
13:52 just heal. - right, right!
13:56 So we work through those things time, and time, and time,
13:59 and time and time again.
14:01 But when we went to the military, I went to the military
14:09 because like I said I wanted to change careers, well the
14:14 time for going into the military because we just needed
14:18 some funds, we needed income to be able to take care the
14:22 family and I said Gwen I'll go into the military and you
14:27 can work on your education, provide funds for the family
14:32 and so that's what we did.
14:35 I went into the military and that opened up a whole
14:42 different realm for the kids and for us.
14:45 We did move a lot and it was some insecurity
14:48 there for the family.
14:51 We have two sons, one Adam our older son.
14:54 I think for him it was more of a novelty, he loved the
15:01 military, that structure, he liked that, in fact it was
15:07 his goal to go into the military as a result.
15:10 Now mind you we are both in the military but we are in
15:14 different branches, she's an officer and I'm enlisted.
15:21 The structure there was that by her being an officer,
15:25 she had a set of rules for her was different than it was
15:29 for me as an enlisted.
15:31 They expect officers to be able to command and take
15:38 charge and for the enlisted it was a little bit more
15:43 leeway, lenient and so I took care the kids primarily.
15:48 That is where a lot of the nurturing of the kids came.
15:52 So we have set up kind of a foundation, this is the
15:56 foundation of the family started with.
15:59 I want to go ahead and take a break.
16:01 I want to bring your son in and get his take on what
16:06 was going on and then at the close of the program we will
16:10 bring everybody back on.
16:12 I hear what you're saying that you have all this stuff
16:16 going on, two sons in there, and now things tended,
16:21 at this point, to fall apart.
16:23 So we are going to talk with Aaron about what that felt
16:26 like from his point of view.
16:27 It is really interesting to me that everybody has point
16:32 of view and one child will respond different than another,
16:37 totally so we will be right back.
16:39 Stay with us, I'm going to introduce you to Aaron and
16:41 I have to tell you about this guy.
16:43 When I first met him, I heard his story and just loved
16:47 him, I loved him, I just love what he's doing in his life.
16:50 I loved his recovery, in fact when he told me some of the
16:54 stuff I said can I meet your parents?
16:56 I met his parents after I met him just because his story
16:59 was so amazing, so we will be right back.
17:01 Stay with us and I'll introduce you to Aaron and
17:05 it will be fun.