Timothy had the courage to fight back against veteran alcoholism — a personal fight for him. After hitting rock bottom, he rose up and now wants to give back to other veterans.
The U.S. Navy veteran says his propensity for alcohol was heightened in the Navy where he would stop at bars at each pier – booze was always around.
“I came out of the Navy an alcoholic and I also had also some PTSD from sexual assault that wasn’t diagnosed until 20 years after my service,” adds Timothy.
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center reports that nearly 13 percent of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan from 2006 to 2008 were referred to counseling for alcohol problems after their post-deployment health assessments. That’s a significant portion of deployed forces coming back to face alcohol problems.
After completing his service, Timothy worked as a finance manager, but his dependency on alcohol affected his work.
“And then I traded one drug for another and began using cocaine and it cost me my home and family,” says Timothy.
In 1986, Timothy enrolled in a recovery treatment program but eventually relapsed. For three decades he was in and out of recovery programs.
He came to HVAF in May 2016. The program worked and he slowly began to rebuild his life.
“You make progress each time. I am 55 years old and each time you make progress. Every time I had relapsed it was because I had stopped doing the things I was supposed to be doing like going to meetings, church and visiting family. When you give up that support – you are doomed.”
“Support groups are very critical to recovery,” says Timothy’s Case Manager, Shawnita Yarbro. “And to show the veteran that you genuinely care about their well-being and overall success is key.”
Today, Timothy is thriving. He is housed and has been clean and sober for six months. He receives VA disability and is working to pay off his debts and eventually move into permanent housing. He serves as a mentor for other veterans by routinely telling his story and offering hope.