Program helps veterans overcome addiction

Program helps veterans overcome addiction

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC) - Every Veterans Day, we think of the men and women who served and gave their lives for our country.

For many of them, coming back home is a challenge.

According to Addiction Campuses, more than 40 percent of military veterans suffer from alcohol abuse at some point in their life.

Michael Riley first joined the Army in 1990, then enlisted again years later after witnessing the attacks on September 11.

"We were looking for the enemy, the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda,” Riley said. It was during those missions and many others that Riley said he was taking pain medications.

When he left the service, the mission became getting used to life back home.

"Being in a car and seeing trash on the side of the road because that’s something that we would look for when were in vehicles because of the IEDs,” Riley said.

Riley turned to pills, then eventually heroin. He’s one of the more than a dozen veterans that Turning Point in Southaven, Mississippi has treated since June 2018.

"Then the bottle just got bigger than me,” said Joe Thibodaux.

Thibodaux served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and is a recovering alcoholic. It started before the service and got worse while he was serving. Drinking was part of the culture.

"It was more or less an innocent approach on alcohol, but then as I got older then I found that the alcohol was somewhat of a crutch,” Thibodaux said.

Turning Point CEO Dr. Ted Bender said the facility usually treats one to three veterans at any given time.

Dr. Bender said their mission is to help anyone dealing with trauma and addiction, especially veterans, get their lives back.

"It’s a tremendous honor to be able to work with veterans and be able to help in any way that I can,” Dr. Bender said.

Veterans like Joe Thibodaux hope his story can help at least one other veteran.

"Get yourself admitted,” Thibodaux said. “Don't be 62 years old going through therapy. If you're young enough, take care of it now while you still have the chance."

To learn more about Turning Point, visit their website.

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