A recent graduate of Veterans’ court read a letter to a courtroom full of veterans who are in the process of recovering from addiction and atoning for their entanglements with the law. The new grad made the long, hard trek to recovery with the help of the therapeutic court program.

In the hopes of helping his fellow vets envision their own recovery he shared: ” I entered this program the same way all of us did, it was due to lack of accountability, responsibility and discipline. Addiction is unbiased in its pursuit. Moral deficiency, that is exactly what I thought I had. Believe me when I say I am a very disciplined person with integrity, correct morals and a firm belief in my ethics, boundaries and knowledge of my boundaries; until pain killers entered my life.

The stress of my job, the loss of my friends, the multiple high action and high stress events I’ve been through and almost lost my life while on the job, The things I’ve seen that I cannot unsee and the multiple injuries I sustained during my careers, all did not help and all built up because I did not deal with it appropriately.  Pain killers went from medicating to addiction. It slowly crept in and by the time it hit and grabbed hold, I felt loss and felt trapped.”

He expressed thoughts on his depression and how he hid it. Then he shared,” What I’ve learned is that there are three options you have when adversity or a traumatic event happens to you; you can let it define you, you can let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you. Understand that mistakes are what you did, they’re not who you are. To help us improve and stay the course you must have an attitude of gratitude, a positive philosophy and a decision making framework that you run all decisions through, as long as you have breath in your lungs and blood in your veins, you can shape your mind and body to be successful, grateful and happy. Stay humble. And stop talking negative about who’s done you wrong and your situation, it just keeps you feeling discouraged and negative. You can’t control the thoughts that pop up in your head, but you have the power to redirect them to happy thoughts or at least calmer thoughts. And start talking more positive, more compassionate and understanding you will feel those positive feelings build and you will have re-wired your brain so that it simply becomes second nature.”

The new veterans’ court graduate challenged his fellow soldiers to thrive and persevere through their recovery and to become happy, successful and grateful. When he concluded his speech, Judge Adriana Escobar, who presides over the veterans’ court, applauded and reminded him to utilize the recovery resources in the community to stay on track. The judge gave him his certificate of completion and a hug, then Victoria Hall wrapped him in a Quilt of Valor to comfort him through any potential dark times ahead in his life-long journey of recovery.

The veteran’s letter can be seen in its entirety here: Veterans’Letter7_5_17

Victoria Hall is a Blue Star mom; her son spent 24 year in the Marine Corp assault unit. The Quilt of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003 by Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts from her sewing room. Blue Star moms are those who have a son or daughter in active service. Her son Nathanael’s deployment to Iraq served as the initial inspiration for the foundation. That has since presented thousands of quilts nationwide to those who have served our country. The local chapter of Quilt of Valor meets the second Friday of the month at 8670 W. Cheyanne Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 105. Volunteers are always welcome; no quilting experience is necessary. For more information call 702-357-0377.