Dear Team Never Quit,
I just wanted to share my situation with you and the listeners and maybe someone who is bummed out and living in a bad place will get some encouragement from it.
I’m in Liverpool in north west England, and have spent the last few years dealing with homelessness, mental health and addiction.
I served in Iraq in 05/06 with the British Army as a Combat medic, left the Army in 07 and began a career as an EMT.
One of the reasons I joined up, one of the oldest reasons for joining up, was to escape a bad situation at home.
All of my life up to that point I had to deal with violent women. My natural mother tried to kill me and my brother when we were kids then we got put in care. We were then with a foster family, the matriarch of which was an incest survivor who would always fly into violent rages and lash out at the drop of a hat.
I bailed out as soon as I could, my brother had already gone, and I joined the Army to escape a life of petty crime and party drugs.
The Army saved my life. I did OK and had only a few serious disciplinary issues…which were always connected to alcohol.
In Iraq around Basra in 05 the insurgency was kicking off. The Shia militias were running death squads and then the Sunnis took out the Golden Dome Mosque in Sammarra, the sacred Shia pilgrimage site, really kicking the hornets nest as snipers and surface to air missiles flooded across the water out of Iran.
Although I didn’t experience any major trauma during my service, I now know I had complex PTSD from my childhood. Which played out after getting out.
After a few years working as an EMT I was sliding into a big problem with alcohol and knew I was in trouble. After hitting rock bottom and being dragged along for a while, it was crashing out in the street in the middle of London, drunk and high and unable to walk as thousands of people streamed past during the Queens Jubilee celebrations in 2012, (it took all day for me to get my legs back), and lots of other humiliating situations that brought things to a head for me.
I was becoming more violent and psychotic by the pint and was ready for the rope when I found AA and other addiction services.
Since then I would like to say things have got better, and in a way thats true. I’m still living in a hostel for vets surrounded by crack and smack addicts, but my internal world and my relationship with myself and with God are on a much higher level.
As I got sober I realized that to get some peace I had to unravel the riddle of my younger years.
My birth father had gotten caught by my mother when she got pregnant. He was from a rich family and my mum wasn’t. They were both young and when things went bad he never stepped up. He’s not a brave man in my eyes. His father, my grandfather was an ex-Army officer. His own father had been a radio specialist during the first world war in the early days of radio and was on lawrence of Arabias lines of communication, running a radio outpost in Sinai where he got a range of 400 miles using a mast stolen from an Australian ship after the bloody landings against the Turks at Gallipoli.
Coming home after the war my great grandfather became a distant bully figure to his two sons. My grandfather resented him right up to his death in his 90’s.
He Likewise became a tyrant to his three sons, hammering them down with his superior IQ- he dominated his sons. Just as his old man had done.
That is why what you are doing is important. Dysfunction can run down generations but it doesn’t have to work out bad. I believe there is a time to talk and a time to keep your own council and stay silent. I wasn’t at the special forces level, every time I was heading to the gym for extra training I ended up in the bar, but today I can at least carry my own weight through applying a program to my life and realizing I’m part of a much bigger situation.
I’m in the hostel at the moment. My neighbors are crack users and if anyone tries coming through my door tonight, high on super crack, I am confident that I can knock them back down the stairs and then sleep peacefully, free from the fear that has haunted me most of my life.
All the best and Cheers for the Team Never Quit Message.