Veterans and Service Members Overcoming Substance Use Disorder

Serving your country takes strength and perseverance. Military service can be exciting, difficult, or even traumatic, and it often involves challenging transitions.

For some service members and veterans, the stress of life in the military or the return to the civilian world — or even some elements of military culture — can lead to problems with drugs or alcohol.

If your drinking or drug use becomes excessive and more habitual over time, it is important to think about how it is affecting your life. It’s never too late to take control of your well-being. Confronting drug and alcohol problems — and reaching out for support to overcome them — is a sign of strength. It takes courage to seek treatment, but that step can be the first on your path to recovery.

RIGHT: Three videos from Make the Connection. Watch and hear three stories from veterans who have overcome substance use disorder. If their stories connect with you and you’re interested in seeking treatment, please contact us.

Learn more about substance use disorder by checking out these valuable resources:

Francille, an Army Veteran, drank and used drugs after her divorce. She was arrested and lost custody of her children. After another arrest the police helped her connect with VA. She started counseling and received medication. After overcoming drug and alcohol use, she now enjoys a good relationship with her family.

In the Marines Mark drank with buddies, but it became a problem. When his wife urged him to seek support, he began alcohol treatment. Years later he began to isolate himself and lost interest in things he used to enjoy. He started therapy at VA and learned about his triggers. Now he has the tools to overcome his challenges, and life is good.

Heavy drinking was common in Earl’s Army unit. When he left the service, his drinking got out of control. Later, his marriage ended and he became homeless. Eventually Earl connected with mental health support. A dual-diagnosis program helped him find healthy ways to cope and improve his life.