CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Christmas Day is a very happy time for many people, spending the day with family and friends. But the holidays can also be an especially tough time of year.
Some of you are missing loved ones, working or feeling extra alone.
Omar Jaramillo understands that feeling after he came to Charlotte with the goal to get over his addiction and become a better man.
“High School is when it kind of started. I thought it would be cool to you know, start drinking underage. And I thought it was cool up until graduation. The difference between, I guess, me and a lot of other people is I didn’t get past that stage,” said Omar Jaramillo.
After struggling with alcohol abuse, Omar had a son, now-5-year-old Caden. Omar knew he needed to become a better man and wanted to be a better father.
He went searching for help and stumbled on the Charlotte Rescue Mission. They provide free recovery programs to people trying to overcome addiction.
He booked a ticket to Charlotte from Texas days later.
“So the journey for me, I guess starting out was rough. I was in a city, I didn’t know anybody. So immediately I had fear. And I had, you know, I guess anger. I just didn’t like where I was at. And I was regretting the decision I made to come out here," said Jaramillo.
Omar says it got especially hard looking around to see what seems like everyone with their perfect families.
But instead of wallowing, he decided to try serving other families coming in for help Christmas dinners at the rescue mission.
“I look at it as my family’s back home in Texas. So I’m here I gotta make the best of it. Seeing these women, these children, these guys come in who probably don’t have family are coming in as a whole family and they don’t have much to give their kids for Christmas. I looked at it as we’re one big family today," said Jaramillo.
He says being separated from his family and young son is hard and hurts a little extra on holidays. But he says if you’ve felt lonely or sad, know that you are not alone.
“There’s always someone out there that feels your pain and just knowing that and it should give you a sense of to break that loneliness. You’re not alone and it’ll get better. You just got to trust it. It’ll happen. Trust me, joy will come," said Jaramillo.
Omar is set to graduate from the recovery program with the rescue mission in the first week of February then plans to be back with his family and little Caden for next Christmas.