Coming home from Iraq, I was hurt, out of place, and I couldn’t do many of the things that I used to be able to do because of my injury. I had a real difficult time reintegrating with my family and missed being overseas- which lead to guilt because I was happy being home. I found myself easily startled, hated being in crowds, and those were the easy things. Because of a fellow Sailor, more of a brother really, and my family, I was able to admit that I needed help and went to get it. Between my experiences with being MEDEVCED and going through the process of healing in my final years in the Navy, I knew that I wanted to stay connected to the Veteran community and help others find their way home, and have a counselor they could relate to and know would understand where they have been.
During the course of my Master’s I read an article that shocked me to my core and pushed me to learn more about substance abuse and the link to trauma injuries. This article was about a wounded Soldier who experienced chronic pain from a combat injury and became hooked on opioids. After his seventh attempt to enter an inpatient treatment facility- being turned away 6 times- he was finally admitted. Upon his release after completing the program, he was given all of his prescriptions, which included the prescription for OxyContin that he had just struggled to overcome. I knew, that I didn’t want to see something like ever happen again.
When I first visited Warriors Heart, I immediately felt what an amazing place it was and knew I wanted to become a part of the team and return to the warrior community where I could do the most good.