“I Have My Family Back”
September 17, 2019 | 2-minute read
Jeff found himself on the street, asleep under a bridge with a 40-ounce bottle of beer.
He had gone through a divorce; lost his kids — and his job. “There were times where I felt totally abandoned,” he says. “I had been a family man all my life.”
As a member of the U.S. Air Force police, Jeff helped guard airplanes. He had always been a partier, but after losing the most important thing in his life — his family — drinking changed from something social into a way to forget how his life had turned out. “When I got on the streets and thought everything was lost, [alcohol] became my way out,” says Jeff.
When he decided that enough was enough, Jeff went to his local VA. “When I got in there, I went through the program,” he says. “I was gonna be steadfast. I was gonna stand strong. And I fell down. I started drinking again. I ended up back on the streets.”
Through these setbacks, Jeff persevered. He reached out for support once again — and this time, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety. He entered a high-intensity, yearlong rehab program.
“They really take interest in you, and they really are concerned about what you’re about to go through,” Jeff says. “There are people out there that devote their lives to service of other human beings.”
There are people out there that devote their lives to service of other human beings.Jeff, U.S. Air Force Veteran
The treatment helped Jeff understand why he was turning to alcohol. “That was why I continued to drink: because every time I started feeling anxious, it calmed me down, I thought.”
Now, Jeff is reconnected with his family. “All three of my children talk to me now. It means everything in the world to me,” he says. “I have my family back.”