October 14, 2016, by Cecelia Johnson – Life can be difficult enough for a veteran. Adjusting to the world back at home comes with plenty of challenges for many even without drug addiction being part of the equation. Sadly, a large number of veterans ultimately turn to drugs and/or alcohol to cope with PTSD and other mental health issues.
Social isolation is a common occurrence for veterans with PTSD as anxiety about experiencing an episode can keep one from going out and interacting with others. PTSD sufferers will often “self-medicate” to cope, and that’s where risk of addiction comes in.
The good news is that this can be overcome with help.
I recently listened to numerous recovering addicts share their stories about how they became addicted to drugs or alcohol and what their time in rehab has been like. It’s clear that rehab is having a tremendous effect on those who take the step of attending.
Many veterans fail to receive the help they need, but if you are struggling with addiction, you should know that there are many others who have been where you are and have managed to turn their lives around.
Of course you don’t have to suffer from PTSD to become an addict. Corey, a veteran of the Navy, discussed his rehab experience at A Forever Recovery after attending to deal with his drug and alcohol problems. He had been drinking since the age of 12 and eventually turned to meth.
“Where I’m from … the meth has really broken out,” he said. “So I started using meth about two years before going to treatment. I just got to the point where I had enough of it. I was going down a bad path and I needed to go to rehab. I realized I had a silver lining. A year before treatment, I found God, and I found myself turning my back on Him — the guilt of turning my back on God really made me go to AFR to seek help. My favorite part of treatment was realizing that everyone there was really nice. I loved learning about myself and correcting all the issues that I had so that I wouldn’t have to use prescription drugs for anxiety.”
Corey found that rehab was perhaps more enjoyable than he expected.
“They actually fix you there, and it’s a good thing,” he commented. “I ran the Bible study there, which was really fun. I got to play a lot of hacky sack and stuff like that.
“I’m the type of person that used to doubt myself, and I didn’t think I was good enough,” he added. “So when I failed a little bit, I would just give up. My treatment helped me fix that, and I’m now aware that when that occurs, I can prevent it from furthering. … [The treatment was] not focused so much on the drugs, it’s more about your state of mind and the issues you had.”
Corey’s story is just one of many. Not everyone’s experience with rehab is the same, but based on the stories I’ve heard, I can attest that there is indeed a common theme throughout their endings. People are changing their lives for the better and beating their demons.
About the Author: Cecelia Johnson believes strongly in the power of good deeds and recognizing great work. That’s why she created RecognitionWorks.org. The site is dedicated to connecting those who’ve been awarded for exemplary work in their communities to companies and organizations that can help them continue their admirable efforts through donations, sponsorships, and gifts. By making these connections, she hopes to build stronger, more altruistic communities and citizens.