By: Matt Hirsch, President, Transformations Treatment Center
I grew up learning the meaning of this day from my parents and school teachers. It’s a day that my wife and I now teach our children about. We explain the importance of thanking those who served in our military and why we honor the men and women who made incredible sacrifices in order to fight for our country and freedom, all while leaving their own families to protect ours.
For many of us, those men and women are our loved ones who we embrace and hold close once back home. We count our blessings when we see them, grateful they’ve come back, even though it’s not always in one piece. Though I cannot begin to imagine what our troops have experienced in service and combat, I’ve had the humbling experience to understand that many of our veterans return home with wounds we often do not see, wounds which most find too difficult to talk about.
The transition back to civilian life is not one that can really be prepared for. It’s hard to cope with what was seen and done while in active duty; and more often than not, veterans may find it challenging to talk about it with their loved ones because most of us are incapable of understanding.
Returning home with physical and emotional pain is often dealt with by abusing drugs or alcohol in an attempt to numb that pain. For many of these men and women, the battle is far from over once they return home. Substance abuse and mental health issues run rampant in the veteran population and often they occur together. More than 20% of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder also have a substance use disorder and approximately 33% of veterans seeking treatment for a substance use disorder have PTSD. And those are only the statistics of veterans who have sought help. Our nation loses 6,000 veterans annually to preventable deaths like suicide.
We MUST keep working towards ending the stigma of shame and fear of asking for help so we stop losing our veterans.
With all the help our veterans need, I am grateful and honored to be part of a treatment center that has created a program specifically dedicated to these heroes. The Help For Our Heroes Program at Transformations Treatment Center was founded by a military veteran who returned home from service with trauma and internal wounds that needed specialized care. This program was created in order to bring veterans who suffer from substance use, mental health and trauma issues together to get the help they so desperately need and deserve. Transformations has helped 500+ veterans since our program started in 2015 and I want to thank each one of those men and women for trusting us with their care and allowing us to be part of their healing. THANK YOU! Each of you are loved and treasured for your service to our country and for your tremendous bravery to start life again, healthy and sober.
The men and women of our armed forces are the bravest, smartest, strongest and most dedicated people on earth, and while they don’t fight to protect our country for the recognition, they deserve it and our gratitude.
So today, I want to thank each veteran for their service and honor ALL the battles they’ve endured. I hope you will do the same.