I joined the National Guard in 2006 and deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2010. Like the majority of veterans, I checked the box “No” when asked if I was experiencing any PTSD-related issues while leaving the military. I didn't believe I had PTSD. Meanwhile, I barked orders at my family, treated them like soldiers, and warned them not to complain.
I engaged in reckless behavior, avoided friends and family, binge drank, abused drugs, and lived each day as if there was no tomorrow. That led to me being forcibly removed from my house, divorced, stripped of all my possessions, and incarcerated. That is when it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t entirely okay. I checked into a VA rehab program in Boston, and my journey home, to my true self, began.
It wasn’t until I attended The Warrior Connection retreat that my journey felt complete. I finally felt safe again, included in part of a loving community. TWC helped me discover that I could access inner peace at any moment, regardless of the circumstances. As a result, I was finally able to begin moving forward in life after five years of floating. Now, I am enrolled in college, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics with the goal of attending law school.
I am on a new journey, one that I chose, and one that I am genuinely proud of. My future is brighter than ever, thanks to this program and TWC.
I thank all who of you who have given your time generously to read my story, and I urge you to support The Warrior Connection in transforming more lives of those who have served in our armed forces. Join me in ensuring that all our veterans have a chance to be their best.
-Elijah O. Young
1st LT., USARNG, 2006-2012