Three veterans graduate from HVAF’s recovery programMarch 30, 2015
Veterans at HVAF benefit from company meet and greetMarch 30, 2015
|Bill Merriweather on the job at HVAF
In the summer of 2002, Bill Merriweather, a Vietnam veteran, walked through the doors of Far From Home, now HVAF of Indiana, frightened, alone, and not knowing what to expect. He did know he had goals he was determined to achieve like living independently. Bill was determined to take advantage of anything HVAF had to offer to help make this happen but his struggles with alcoholism were never far behind. Through the years, Bill’s soft, thoughtful eyes have seen a long and hard struggle with intermittent homelessness.
“I drank too much and let alcohol take over my life and it led to homelessness,” says Bill.
Researchers have evaluated patterns of alcoholism among Vietnam era veterans and nonveterans and found that a greater proportion of Vietnam era veterans are currently heavy drinkers and a smaller proportion are abstainers, after simultaneous adjustment for seven demographic factors (age, region of the U.S., urbanization, ethnicity, marital status, education and income).
Bill began meeting his goals and will be sober 18 years this coming July, 2015.
In April of 2003, he came to work at HVAF as a Residential Aid (RA) for the Residential, Employment, Substance Abuse Treatment (REST) program. He works overnight (11pm-7am) and his responsibilities include hourly rounds to check in on the clients who are residing at the main building, answering after-hours phone calls, including reaching out to on-call case management and on-call maintenance if necessary, and ensuring that the building is safe and secure while providing a listening ear to his fellow veterans.
Bill no longer has a feeling of hopelessness or a sense of dread.
“Not knowing what was going to happen, just waiting, and just feeling helpless too often led to a lot of my concerns,” adds Bill. “But, working for HVAF has given me purpose and the routine is important in my life. I enjoy working with the veterans at HVAF and I encourage them to keep moving forward in their recovery because I was once in their shoes.”
Today, Bill is a positive, energetic and prideful man – as we spoke, he repeatedly smiled and talked about his new car and owning a new house. He is determined to maintain a sober and productive life.