by Warriors Heart
At the end of each deployment, Chris* always came home. He would call often when deployed, and make sure he always knew what the winning score of the volleyball game his daughter had played in was. He was always, “there,” until he wasn’t.
During his last deployment, which proved to be more operational than previous trips, Chris came face to face with an IED and suffered what would be later diagnosed as a severe cTBI (Combat Traumatic Brain Injury). “When Chris came home, a shell of the man I knew stood before me,” recalls Laura*, Chris’ wife. “His eyes were dull, lifeless and at times changed colors depending on his mood.”
For so many, after experiencing the traumas of war, the ability to “come home” mentally is difficult. A part of them is still stuck in a dungeon somewhere, reliving nightmares, destruction, and worse. Many of these men and women eventually become more disconnected, angry, and frustrated with life at home. The warrior who still thrives inside, desperately searching to find a purpose in this “new” life at home.
Warriors come home to a family who has established a life without them – a routine that works seamlessly, and now they must find a wave to ride into that routine. For men and women returning, or entering for the first time, into a life outside the military, reintegration can be difficult for both them and the families they are coming home to. For the warrior, it’s a life they are supposed to feel welcomed into – not a nuisance; for the families, they now have that member home, whom they’ve prayed for, but find to be somewhat in the way. This completely normal “Disruption of routine,” can become a burden, and can create cracks in an otherwise strong structure of a family.
These frustrations oftentimes lead to a desire to escape, and many turn to alcohol or other drugs for that release. Attempting to fill a void with anything they can control (food, sex, or substances). These self-sabotaging behaviors hinder a life that they begin to loathe being a part of. Never feeling at peace, or as if they belong… never feeling “at home.”
The team at Warriors Heart recognizes and understands the unique demands of our warriors and their families – and works to successfully navigate healing and recovery while in the company of people who personally understand individual experiences. Working to create a cultural shift to provide these warriors with the support they deserve, without the fear of appearing weak.
At Warriors Heart, Warriors from every walk of life are treated, offering a variety of treatments for those undergoing the damaging effects of PTSD and MTBI, as well as chemical dependency. For those who have fought battles to defend our country and our citizens, fighting the battle against addiction, depression, and reintegration doesn’t need to be done alone.
“By welcoming our warriors home at Warriors Heart, we are truly welcoming them back home in mind, body, and spirit,” stated Lisa Lannon, co-founder of Warriors Heart. “Looking them in the eyes and reassuring them that we are here for them, that they are safe, and are with family. It’s more than just words – it’s a feeling. That long sigh of relief once you walk through the door at home. They know that they can finally relax and allow those who love them, to care for them.”
“The moment you enter the Warriors Heart campus, in Bandera, TX, something inexplicable happens. You are immediately wrapped in the spirit of healing,” stated a former resident. “It brought me to my knees the moment I realized I didn’t have to fight anymore. That there were people waiting, ready to take the wheel and let me rest. There is nothing like that place…bit’s magic. Warriors Heart will always be home.”
“Our responsibility as a nation is to work together to provide these warriors the care that will meet their unique needs now and in the future,” said Lannon.
If you or a warrior need help with addiction, PTS or co-occurring issues, please contact Warriors Heart’s 24-hour hotline (844-448-2567) answered by warriors and/or visit https://warriorsheart.com.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on October 21, 2022.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.