- Mental Health
submitted by Susanne Johnson
My name is Billy. I’m 52 and from Texas. I now reside in a new apartment with a new dog, new church and new life. I was in the Navy for seven years and am a combat vet. I worked in immigration for 12 years and for Boeing for five years. I’m twice divorced.
I lost my mom in 2005. She had cancer but died in a terrible crash when hit head on by an 18-wheeler. My dad worked for NASA and Bell and is now in real estate. He was never sick when he was younger, but then he needed chemo, his pacemaker failed twice and there was a tumor on his bladder. I watched my dad drink a lot. The drinking was not his fault. His main reason for drinking is that his first-born daughter got meningitis at age two and was in a coma for 30 years. This tore his heart. He has always supported me, and his tough love has helped me.
I have PTSD. I started drinking after being in the military. I drank seven days a week. Soon there were drugs, pressures, a job and a marriage. I was never home. I went to a VA treatment center, and I rebuilt my life. It’s just me and my dog. One of my three sisters, a nurse, told me, “Your home is where your recovery is.” My home has a lot of churches and recovery groups. I found running, movies and singing in church help me get rid of my stress and anxiety. You must read a book, go for a run, do art or find your zone. I love when a VA vet or anyone in recovery says, “I lost my wife/kid/mom/dad/car/job.” I come in and say, “If like Job you put God first, after the storm you will change.” Today I have a sponsor from the VA, and I go to meetings every day.