Meet a Veteran: Mickey

MickeyMickey spent the majority of his service with the U.S. Navy deployed to the Western Pacific and was able to experience new and exciting places. But after his discharge, Mickey had a difficult time finding his “land legs”.

Upon his return to civilian life, Mickey was faced with a set of challenges he was neither prepared nor willing to face – the biggest of which was the news that he was going to be a father.  “The thought of becoming a dad scared me so badly that I literally sought escape in a bottle, then two, then three until I had to rely on alcohol just to get out of bed,” Mickey says.  This rollercoaster of addiction took over Mickey’s life and affected everyone around him – especially his children. “I remember my oldest child confronting me and coming straight out and saying, ‘Dad, if you don’t stop drinking you’re going to lose us!'” This was sort of wake up call for Mickey, and for a while, he was able to get help for his alcoholism. After a short time, though, he felt like he had everything under control and Mickey slipped. This time, it was even worse.

“I drove everyone I loved to the breaking point. Because of my actions and this disease, I found myself living in my truck, in – of all places – a police station parking lot.” At this point, Mickey knew he had to make a change. “More dead than alive, I was given the gift of desperation. I reached out for help.”

Mickey entered a detox center, and then spent a while looking for a long-term living solution. “I was given the opportunity to practice humility and rely on the kindness of friends to shelter me for over a month,” Mickey says. “That was a very long month but I was determined to get help.”

Mickey was at the Prescott V.A. domiciliary when he met an outreach coordinator for U.S.VETS. By that time, Mickey was sober and willing to change what he could, and accept help for those things he couldn’t achieve by his own sheer willpower.  “For the first time, I was seeking a better life – not to get someone or something off my back or to please anyone, but because I knew I needed to do this for myself!” Mickey realized he needed to advocate for himself and his own health, and to give himself permission to put his sobriety first – a turning point, he feels, that helped him regain a sense of self-worth.

He came to U.S.VETS – Prescott and has gotten his life back on course, and adopted the principle of giving more than he gets. Mickey has received a Peer Support Certification to help people in crisis and has gone back to college with the determination to get a counseling degree. He also graduated from the U.S.VETS Culinary program and volunteers to feed his fellow U.S.VETS residents breakfast.

The thing Mickey is most grateful for about his new life is that he’s been able to reconnect with his children. “I have a great relationship with my kids that is built on trust, consistency and mutual love and respect, which to me is priceless. U.S.VETS – Prescott helped make that possible!”

“When I arrived at U.S.VETS –Prescott I thought of it as another layover along the way but it’s become a launching pad,” Mickey says. “It hasn’t always been easy, but sometimes the rewards become clearer later.”