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A Series of Chaotic Mistakes That Somehow Went Right

AUGUST 27, 2019 | 3-minute read

“A series of chaotic mistakes that somehow went right.”

That’s how Rick, a U.S. Navy Veteran, describes his life until just a few years ago. His journey toward a sense of peace wasn’t easy. “But the end result of that was recovery," he says. “Recovery from the drug addiction. Recovery from the alcohol problem. Most importantly, recovery from the complex trauma of my life.”

For more than two decades — 23 years to be exact — Rick experienced a “love affair” with self-medication. “I drank a lot,” he says, “as did most of my fellow shipmates.”

Rick enlisted in the Navy as a 20-year-old and served for five years. When he left the military, he was searching for what to do next. “Going from being in a very structured military environment to completely unstructured was one of the hardest transitions I’d ever made in my life,” he says. “I did not really make that transition successfully until about five years ago, when I started to seek some help and dealing with my PTSD issues.”

During his inpatient therapy, there was cognitive behavioral therapy. Group discussions. Writing therapy. The treatment led him to understand his triggers and inspired him to look inward, bringing his challenges out into the open for the first time in his life. “There was just a lot of time to reflect to ourselves about what was going on, and what we were learning about ourselves through the process,” Rick says.

In addition to mental health treatment, Rick found solace in the outdoors. “The act of being out amongst the nature, amongst the trees and then the flowing water … it’s transformative,” he says. “It’s peace-bringing.”

Today, Rick feels fortunate to have found support and a path through his past to thrive and feel at peace. “There are people out there who genuinely care and will listen and help you,” he says. “Every day I reflect on how lucky I am.”


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