I know when I left the military and settled in my little town, I had no idea what the future was to hold and truth be told, if I had known, I may have balked at the “path” I was on. The road ahead of me seemed to be lined with one failure after another, one more appointment with the VA, one more pill to take etc. What I did not know then, and what I have only recently discovered, is that the VA only serves to create a society of victims.

Victims… addled with the drugs given out like candy within the VA, most of us cannot see that there is indeed growth after trauma, and the VA treatment model only serves to make us feel victimized. Even being told this is my “normal” and the goal of treatment was to learn how to live with this new me. Dangling benefits in front of us, then either pulling them back or burying the process in red tape. What I was searching for and what I did eventually find, was that the old me was still there, and that I was getting in my own way. I could not change what had happened, but I could change how I moved forward.

We have a new generation of Veterans with all the potential to shape and change the world and we have yet to find the voice that will speak for us. We all drank the kool-aid and believed that the system would take care of us, when in fact the system is rife with problematic trends, which have a negative impact on the people it is designed to care for. So if the VA cannot address the issues we have, then why are we not addressing this ourselves? We walked through very gates of hell, to do what most would not, only to fall when we come home to peace? We have the tools, training, and fortitude to battle this with as much energy as we fought the real enemy.

This is where I found my way… through the support of my “brothers.” Those of us who venture outside of the VA have found that there is so much more to life then what we had been led to believe… there is growth and success, having what you want and deserve. Just as life in the military, it takes discipline, and hard work, all of which we are NO stranger to, but for some reason we lost that drive. There are no handouts, no magic pills… only the knowledge that my brothers will not LET me become that victim again.

So… are you a VA victim?