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Branch of Service: Army
After a long and productive tour in Kuwait City, Michael S. returned home not knowing what to do next. He attempted college, but couldn’t focus. So he decided to follow his passion for music.
However, the rock band lifestyle quickly took its toll. His drug and alcohol use led to several arrests for fighting, disorderly conduct, and driving under the influence, ultimately costing him his marriage and his children. He tried to recover on his own. Construction work and restaurant jobs kept him afloat for a while, but his continued and excessive substance abuse only led to joblessness, crime, more jail time, and eventually homelessness.
While homeless, he befriended a Vietnam Veteran who was also homeless and alcoholic. They stayed together most nights, under bridges, in shelters, and at motels. On one particularly cold night, they could not find indoor shelter. The next morning, Michael woke up but his friend did not. The young soldier spent the next two weeks dazed, praying for answers. He contemplated taking his own life. But instead of making that fatal decision, he remembered the Veterans Crisis Line number he’d seen on a poster, called it, and was connected with a caring and “angelic” operator. Within hours, he was picked up and driven to a VA facility.
Michael got enrolled in a program for homeless Veterans and received substance abuse treatment. He is now pursuing a double major in English and philosophy and serves as secretary of his campus Veterans club. He aspires to become a college professor at a local university.