Friday, Feb. 9, 2024
Today’s Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:
Community in the Army and in Recovery
I joined the Army when I was seventeen years old. My first duty station was Berlin. If you ever think about what a POW camp looks like, that was Berlin, because we were surrounded by a wall and about 200,000 East German soldiers.
The bonds that I had with the people in my platoon were a huge part of my active-duty experience. These are the guys that you bled with, you sweated with, you trained with. You entrusted your life to these guys.
When I left active duty, I came back to the States and went to college. I immediately felt out of place. I was surrounded by other students who hadn’t been deployed. I felt lost. I started drinking to try to feel normal.
But in recovery, I have found that solidarity again. The bonds that I have with my veteran community are amazing. We can talk about our time in the military and our time on the streets, because we’ve had the same experiences. It’s almost like a family. These people are a key component of my recovery.
Today I will seek out connection,
because it is the opposite of addiction.
— JR W., U.S. Army, 1987–1995