I love to help others. That’s why I volunteered and joined the Marine Corps - I wanted to serve my country.
I served in the Marine Corps for 10+ years on active duty, deploying overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As a result of my experiences, I was forced to retire medically. When I got home, it was not a smooth transition, and that’s when things got worse for me.
Back home, folks did not embrace me. In fact, in some ways just the opposite. Though I was physically OK, I was hurt and hurting. I was injured on the inside. Those close to me didn’t understand, and I couldn’t seem to help myself. I had PTSD.
I tried several recommended programs, and I was on MANY medications. THAT sure didn’t help. All the pills only made me feel less of EVERYTHING, including less of myself. I struggled through the last eight years, and it was not easy.
I had such a hard time; it took a toll on me and all those around me. I lost my family and many close relationships. Divorced and estranged from my son during the most critical times in his life, even homeless for a time, this was for sure one of my lowest points.
All of that to say, This IS NOT A SAD STORY. In the depths of my despair, along came The Warrior Connection. That is when things REALLY changed.
Through a group of New Hampshire Veterans, I met a Marine, Aaron. We swapped some stories and had a lot of things in common. He sure found me in “The Suck,” and he knew it right away. He told me about TWC, and he kept in touch after he introduced me to the program. Aaron was even there for me in the middle of the night, during the darkest times to reassure me over the phone, help guide me, ultimately bringing me home. Home to my true self. It turns out, he is also one of the facilitators and guided my retreat. He reminded me of the lessons we learned in the Corps. “Slow, is smooth. And smooth is fast”, “Sloooow, steady, breathing”... It may not sound like much, but he knew I had to get out of my head, that was running a million miles a minute, so I could begin to drop into my heart. Focus on what’s important, and listen to what’s there.
As a result of my retreat experience, I am re-establishing a relationship with my son, and I can LISTEN when he speaks. I want him to know how much I care and want to be involved in his life as my healing continues. We met up recently, and he shared that he has decided to serve in the Armed Forces too. I’d like to think that I had something to do with his choice and I am so proud of him (YES, you JON!).
The Warrior Connection helped me in so many ways; Every Veteran that is struggling deserves this program and the healing TWC brings. Every Veteran, myself included, deserves to be the hero of our own life story.
Semper Fidelis. Fair winds and following seas!