When he hit bottom, Navy Veteran Kenneth came to VA.  Homeless, struggling with drug and alcohol addictions, he entered a residential treatment program. That was just the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Kenneth’s story, in his own words

My name is Kenneth. I was homeless. While I was in the service, misfortunately, I took a detour. When we went out on liberty, we started drinking, and drinking, and it led to other things.

I went in to try to get some help and I made a conscious decision that I was going to take this help that I was getting from VA because they were really trying to work with me. So I went out to Perry Point for 100 days on the drug and alcohol program. And I completed that program in 2012.

Now I’m seeing two therapists at the VA Annex in Baltimore. My primary care, I’m keeping in contact with her constantly. They put in a consultation for me to get teeth. I’ll have my teeth about Labor Day. I’ll be smiling, but I’m good. I am truly grateful. I’m truly grateful. I’m 16 months clean today.

I just received my HUD voucher. At this point, I am employed. I am doing 19 hours a week, at minimum wages. It’s not even about the money. I just need to stay focused and stay grounded. I’m being proactive about a lot of things that I’m doing now. I see the growth in me and I’m going to continue and grow on that level.

And I’m going to do whatever is told for me to do through VA. I’ve seen that it’s a success for me and there’s no use for me to deviate now in my life. I tried to do it my way and it didn’t help.

So I’m saying to all you guys: Just do it their way. Just give it a try. And you will definitely be grateful that you have followed up because that is what VA is all about, helping the soldiers reintegrate back into society.

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By Bronwyn Emmet is a public affairs specialist with VA's National Veterans Outreach Office

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Published on Mar. 4, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.8 min.

Views to date: 1,199


  1. Jenn March 10, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    i’m so very proud of you kenneth. i trudged that same road and with the help of the va, i rebuilt my life. I FOUND HOPE! giving up booze for numbing my feelings was a difficult thing in the beginning and is a battle i fight everyday, but i learned Coping Skills beyond gritting my teeth to bare the mission of living life on life’s terms. i’ve stayed vigiliant and cut out Anyone who tried to get in the way of my sobriety. thanks to prayer and the va and my own willingness to change = next month, i’ll have 9 years clean. i Finally have Everything i’ve ever wanted, and i’m about 90% of the person i’ve always wanted to be. :) and of course the meds for my ptsd help a lot! :)

  2. Everett Griffin March 10, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    The VA “New Mission Statement” should include a line, “If you don’t ‘make too much money'”.

  3. Diacrum March 10, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    I use the VA for all of my healthcare. I’m very pleased with my primary care doctor and my rheumatologist. I’ve had successful spinal cord stimulator surgery. There are some doctors I don’t like, and when I have encountered them, I voice my opinion and am given a different doctor. You have to demand good service and respect sometimes, but for the most part it has been good for me. My daughter had 5 major surgeries last year and there were times when we had to let our voices be heard for the bad attitudes of some of the nurses. This was in the civilian world. It just goes to show that there are good doctors and nurses and there are some bad ones. It’s up to use to speak out and get the care we deserve whether VA or non VA.

  4. Pat Hhghes March 9, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    I do not trust the VA for my care. Over ten years ago I went to a dermatologist at Northport for a rash on my abdomen, from across the room he said that’s nothing!
    I went to my private doctor he said I don’t think it is anything but I will send a sample to a lab. It came back as positive for cancer. CTCL, I wonder what that son of a bitch thought. It wasn’t his life. There have been other examples

  5. Mark L March 9, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    I’m glad it worked out for Kenneth. It’s nice to see success stories.

    Although I’m eligible to utilize VA health care for all of mine, I don’t. From prescription drugs that just aren’t offered by the VA (all generics, and neither my blood pressure pill, nor my Nexium generic, are offered by the VA), to an unprofessional (in my opinion) primary care doctor (who’s about to be replaced), utilizing the VA’s healthcare is simply not worthwhile, for me. I’m lucky, I have outside insurance that I can utilize, too.

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