I was born in Cincinnati in the 1980s. I would describe my family as “dysfunctional,” and it had a tremendous affect on me.
Growing up, my family moved across the river to Kentucky. I don’t think my parents understood that no matter where you go, the problems tend to follow. The move did not prove to be helpful for my growth, so I enlisted in the Army in 2004. I thought it would give me the tools I needed to find success in life while being of service to my country.
In 2007, I received orders to report to Fort Dix for deployment to Iraq. I was two years into my marriage and my son had just been born. I did the honorable thing and assured my wife that she and my son would have what they needed. I did not understand then that my family was, and is, the single most important thing in my life.
The Iraq War took my soul. I sustained injury to my hand and was prescribed pain medication for the remainder of my time overseas. I was numb to my surroundings and bought into the stigma that I could not ask for help.
Upon returning home, I ripped the pins out of my hand with pliers. I found myself addicted to pain medication, which ultimately caused me to lose family, friends and money. I eventually moved in with my mother.
The physical pain was nothing in comparison to my internal pain.
I attempted more than a dozen rehab stints with various organizations that did not work for me. In some cases, I was kicked out for fighting or other reasons.
In 2017, I was introduced to Joseph House. The staff met me where I was. They asked me what I wanted to work on, which has allowed me to take responsibility for my recovery and my life. I am learning how to cope with trauma in healthy ways.
Because of the support, trust and love I have received from Joseph House, I have been able to create my own business; to trust my ideas and recognize the importance of my reputation in the community.
Currently, I have been working on codependency with my counselor. As painful as it can be at times, I’ve learned more about myself. I am now able to identify healthy qualities that I want to have. I don’t want to be a slave to anything in life.
I know I can turn to the Joseph House team for honest feedback as I work to accomplish my goals. And I know that being here I am not alone; I am surrounded by other veterans who are going through similar challenges as me.
Because of my experience with Joseph House, I am confident that I can have a very rewarding life; that I can love, be loved and make a difference. Thank you to the Joseph House staff and my fellow veterans for this wonderful gift!