A Former Addict’s Powerful Letter to His Son, Photographed

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Photo: Mark Dorosz

In his moving portfolio Dear Pete, photographer Mark Dorosz traces his story of addiction and fatherhood, presented in the form of a letter to his 4-year-old son.

Pairing soft, subtle portraits with a letter addressed to Pete as a 15-year-old, Dorosz explains what happened: his spiral into alcoholism and cocaine addiction after Pete was born, the end of his marriage with Pete’s mom, and his absence from and return to Pete’s life during a slow recovery.

Dorosz missed the first year of Pete’s life. When he was allowed to see Pete again he started photographing him constantly, unsure if he’d be alive to watch his son grow up. “I made a rule that I would always carry a camera whenever I had Pete,” he says. “Taking the photos became a way of initially documenting that I was in his life and leaving some record.” He took 20,000 photographs of Pete before selecting these 14.

Pete is now 4, and Dorosz, who’s 36 and lives in Manhattan, has been sober since February 18, 2013. He sees Pete every weekend. “Being a dad wasn’t enough for me to change paths, and I’ll be very honest about that,” he says of his recovery. “I needed other people to help me, but having Pete has been a huge motivation for staying sober.” Click through for his story.