I was a Navy Seal for 16 years, but am now retired. During that time, a shot a 13 year-old-girl fatally when tracking an enemy, who was shooting at me with an AK-47 in Vietnam. I did not mean to kill her. But she has been in my mind’s eye constantly. I used to live with her in my dreams. She has been with me for 40 years.
I used opiates to forget the past years and to cope with when my wife Diane died in the bed next to me from an overdose. I went on a binge of pain pills and heroin. I got off by myself, staying with friends, and taking methadone and weaning myself off down to 100mg a day. Finally, I turned myself in to Haven Recovery in Deland, Florida. It was there that I realized that PTSD was my main problem. I called the CEO of The Transition House, Tom Griffin, who sent me an application for their Veterans Residential Program. I was accepted in just a few days.
With the help of their Clinical Supervisor, Felipe, I was referred to and treated by LMHC Mike Kellogg, a specialist in cognitive therapy, EFT and PTSD. I received support from the treatment team including Mike, Alyssa, Sheba, Nina and many others. Along with the team, the other residents here have helped me deeply as well. It has been the best experience of my life and it has changed me forever.
The girl in my dreams from Vietnam helps me clear up the past. I don’t have any regrets about my past. I believe that girl is now my angel and she helps me face my fears including the other deaths in my life. I deeply believe that without The Transition House I would have never been able to see that.
Today, I am going back to school so I can teach Physics at a community college. This is all part of my plan now. To go to school, graduate and build my life with my girlfriend Kisha and her children.
I can not say enough about the help I have received. If you need help with addiction, homelessness or veteran programs, please talk to someone or call The Transition House. It will change your life, as it has changed mine.
My story begins in a small town in Florida by the name of Lake City. It is here where my drug addiction began. I was honorably discharged from the Army in 1993 and decided to go back to Lake City and start my life over.
Being homeless is not just those who are on drugs, uneducated, living in a corner or on the streets. We are veterans who are living with friends, families or in cars. We are going to school and struggling to make ends meet.