In 2016 I was on a five year meth bender. I was shooting dope two or three times a day staying up for 9 to 10 days at a time. And a long way from my time in the Army which ended in 2003. July 2016 I have been up for seven days and I knew I needed to lay down but thought I could make one more run it’s a straight shot down the highway and nothing can go wrong. I knew better. Others were telling me I needed to lay down but I knew everything besides that I was on dope and you couldn’t tell me nothing. Halfway to my last stop I got pulled over by the Oklahoma highway patrol. I got busted 5 g of meth, 20 needles, spoons and a gun under my driver seat. As soon as the officer put me in his car and I hit that AC I fell right out. He woke me up once with a baggie that had all my filters in it and asked me if it “would test positive for meth?” I opened one eye looked up and said “Yep” And fell right back asleep. Next thing I knew we were at Oklahoma County Jail and I was being booked on 5 felonies. Two weeks later I OR’d and was back on the streets. Fast forward to September 20, 2016. I had just done a shot of dope and my mom stopped by. She looked me dead in my face with a tear in her eye and said “What happened to my baby? You look so sick.” I was 39 at the time but that sight of her crying killed my heart. So I asked her to take me to the VA. I check myself into the inpatient floor and decided in that moment I would never do dope again. In October I had just gotten out of inpatient and was living in a sober living house and decided I wanted to get drunk. I got drunk and got into an argument with the 24-year-old that I was dating at the time. When the cop showed up I was in a black out rage I have my hands around her throat and I got charged with domestic abuse via strangulation. I also had a warrant from when they OR’d me before. So they tacked on that new charge and I was facing six felonies which were now a violent because of the newest charge. I went back to inpatient at the VA and work my way through back to the sober living house and ultimately to a dual diagnosis Domicilary in Leavenworth Kansas. I did six months in that program took every class I could take took every course they offered because I seriously wanted to stay clean. I came back to Oklahoma and got in rolled in the veterans divergence program. I was in that program for a year and a half and upon completion of that program all my charges were dismissed. Had I not done that program I was facing 15 years with a violent so I would’ve had to serve 85%. But I completed the program I stayed on the straight and narrow. I applied for and got a security job working at the local libraries. Six months later I got my armed license and was working in a bank legally carrying a gun and doing security. Now five years and nine months later I’m still clean and sober I’m doing armed security for a federal HUD housing apartment complex. I’m fat, happy, and for the first time since I was 13 I don’t drink, I don’t do pills, I am not strung out on meth and life couldn’t be better. I’m working with vets in a volunteer peer support role, I’m volunteering at a youth homeless shelter. I’ve applied to a job at the VA as a full time peer support specialist. September 20, 2016 is my clean date and I’m still moving forward living life on life’s terms.