Hello, my name is Jake, and welcome to my blog.
My therapist advised me to write as a way to help me process my experiences. I also hope that sharing my story will help somebody else.
Let me tell you a little more about myself. When I was 18 years old and newly graduated from high school, I joined the military, just in time to be deployed to Afghanistan. The war changed me profoundly, and I had a hard time adjusting when I returned home after finishing my years of service.
I guess that’s an understatement. I had more than a hard time adjusting. I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the things I saw and experienced in Afghanistan. To escape the flashbacks and nightmares that haunted me, I started using drugs. I was lost and without purpose, and could have died from my drug abuse. It is a sad, dark irony of how many soldiers survive war only to come home and die of an overdose. I am grateful and lucky not to be one of those fallen soldiers.
My drug of choice was heroin. If you had told me in high school the things I would see in Afghanistan and how it would lead me down the dark path of drug addiction, I never would have believed you. I was an ambitious teenager, and joining the military was meant to be a stepping-stone to a college degree and a career. Instead, I allowed my military experience to lead me into nearly fatal heroin addiction.
I recently completed a 30-day in-patient treatment program for my addiction. For the first time since the war, I am clean and sober and hopeful for the future. I can still go to college and get a good job. I can get my life back on track as long as I stay away from drugs.
I may not ever fully get over the things I saw in the military, but I know now with the right support and treatment I can still have the life I always wanted.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or addiction issues, please get help right away. I implore you not to wait until it’s too late and something terrible happens. There are so many resources for help, and you do not have to fix this on your own.
Please, not that I am not trying to discourage anyone from joining the military. Many soldiers are never deployed, and even if they are, they do not have the same experiences I did. I am proud to have served my country and to have the opportunities that I now have available to me as a result, and I would not change that for anything.
Keep reading if you want to learn my story.