CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When our military men and women return home from war, life as they once knew it no longer exists.
Such is the case for Gulf War veterans Jeremy Holmes and Matthew Mitchell.
"I have two prosthetic hips," said Mitchell. "I've had 22 surgeries and procedures,"
"All I ever wanted to do was to be a good father and a good husband," said Holmes."And all I was doing was destroying the ones that I loved."
Both men are now recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. Both were trying to mask the pain that came from the battlefield with them.
"I was just numbing. I was just drowning," said Holmes."I felt guilt for all of the things that I had done (in combat)."
Mitchell ended up on the streets, homeless, looking for another drug fix.
After years of denial, both men decided it was time to change.
Treatment provided by the VA didn't seem to be working for them. They were then referred to Brian Blackington, the owner of Roommates in Recovery.
It's a 12-step support house for men.
Blackington is a recovering drug addict. He is not a veteran, but his sister is currently serving in the Air Force and other family members served during World War II.
Blackington recognized the need for a 12-step veterans house in Nueces County.
"They struggle in a different way," he said.
Having family members in the military, Blackington understands right away— what comes naturally with veterans.
There's an instant brotherhood, and veterans instinctively hold each other accountable.
"Seeing them come in the house brand new unsure of what's going on and being compassionate, being loving, watching the change start to happen ...
and the priceless gifts are watching them grow into productive members of society," said Blackington.
To Holmes, the proof of his recovery at the house is life-changing.
"It helped me to see how this (… ) how this was really gonna save my life," said Holmes.
It could also save other veterans' lives too. All three men are now paying their recovery forward.
They plan to open their own recovery house for other veterans.
They are currently holding fundraisers to save enough money to open a veteran's house sometime in 2023.
For now, local recovery Cenikor is here to help veterans who need help with drug detox.
Cenikor can be reached 361-826-5350 ext. 4. There are also walk-ins at 5501 McBride Lane.
If you or someone you know needs help now, contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 988 and press option number 1.
Contact Veterans In Focus reporter Pat Simon at email@example.com