Meet a Veteran: Charles

CharlesCharles, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, had a steady job as a vehicle fleet manager when his arthritis pain became more than he could handle. He got addicted to his pain medication, and everything went downhill from there. Soon he lost his job due to his addiction, and then he lost his home.

For nine months Charles was homeless. He found his way to Crossroads, a drug rehabilitation facility in Phoenix, and began tackling his substance abuse demons.

A U.S.VETS outreach manager met Charles at the facility and told him about the help available to him. After learning more about the program, Charles moved into an apartment at U.S.VETS – Phoenix, determined to show his family that he was not a failure. “I came in the program with the intention of finding employment,” he says. He knew that finding a job was crucial for in helping him stay drug-free, and was the first step in the plan he and his case manager had put together. “My short term goal was to find suitable employment and take over the lease of the apartment.”

His newfound enthusiasm soon hit a huge hurdle. Within two weeks of coming to U.S.VETS, Charles was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer. “My plan quickly changed,” Charles says. “Being told I had only a few months to live was an attitude adjustment. My new first step was to get well and beat the cancer.” Rather than seek employment at this time, Charles worked with his case manager to obtain disability income until he was healthy enough to work again.

“It was a long hard battle,” he says. “A few times I wanted to give up, but the U.S.VETS staff checked on me every day. They ensured I made my doctor’s visits.” Charles is currently in remission, sober, and able to pay rent on his apartment and live comfortably. He has even saved up enough to buy a car. “I want thank U.S.VETS – Phoenix for helping me when I was at my worst position in my life. Thanks for standing by me.”

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