WARRIOR RETREATS ARE CHANGING LIVES
what retreat grads want you to know
Ryan Longtin, Airman, USAF, '99-07
The Warrior Connection Gave Me My Life Back
As an Airmen in the United States Air Force from 1999-2007, I served as a Firefighter/Paramedic. I was 22 years old when I landed in a Combat zone. I was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq and was attached to a Marine Corps missile battery. I am proud of my service and even reenlisted to go back overseas for a second tour. At times my experience was pretty rough but I handled it the best I could. I served honorably and did my duty.
When my time ended and I came home, I started having trouble dealing with some of my experiences. I coped with alcohol and other questionable life choices. I lived on the edge, made some mistakes, and got in some trouble and I was diagnosed with PTSD. I knew I needed some help and it was hard to ask for it. Although just like my time in the service, I tried to do my best. But with all the doctors and pills, and MORE pills, it wasn’t going well and I wasn’t getting any better. My life had become unmanageable. I was drowning my sorrows in drugs and alcohol. I had completely lost who I was. I lost all interest in things I used to enjoy such as playing sports, time in nature, cooking, and the gym. I had no hope and nowhere else to turn.
At this point, I had been in and out of programs for the better part of two years before a buddy of mine pulled me aside and told me about TWC. So, feeling like I have tried everything else, and I was on my last leg, I thought I might as well give this a try. I literally went from one program to the retreat at TWC, figuring it would just be like all the rest: filled with a bunch of B.S. by people who didn’t understand. BOY WAS I WRONG, THANKFULLY!
At the retreat I found the truth of who I really am. I now have hope for my future again. I learned that I still have a big heart and a willingness to help others. I can get back to my interests, hobbies. I have the opportunity to become a great father. Most of all, I have freedom to live again and I feel comfortable in my own skin without being heavily medicated. I AM NOW OFF ALL BUT ONE MEDICATION!
I am so thankful to my lovely girlfriend, Danielle, who has stood by me through all of this. She was/is SO DELIGHTED to see the change in me as a result of this program. Hopefully she is going to attend the TWC retreat for spouses too.
Thank you TWC. There are no words for my gratitude.
Airmen, USAF, ‘99-07
A special thank you to the people who have supported me the most: My Mother and Father (Susan and Tom Longtin), my girlfriend and her children (Danielle, Evan, and Grace), Aunts and Uncles, and close friends.