Veteran Marine Hopes to end Cycle of Addiction, Homelessness

After 14 years serving in the Marine Corps, Robert got married, had a daughter, and worked hard for his family—but he was constantly struggling. It wasn’t until much later in life that Robert would realize he was battling with post traumatic stress disorder.

“It was tough,” Robert said. “Prior to coming here I was working for a mortgage company and I would just fall apart. I’ve gone overseas a couple times and fought in wars and
I think from that stems my inability to do some things—even the smallest tasks—that at one time in my life I was very good at. At 19, learning to fight and do the things marines do really affected me a lot more later on in life.”

After a period of depression and drug use, Robert was homeless, a cycle he has struggled to break free from. “My ex-wife is an ER doctor. My daughter is a college graduate, a world traveler. I’ve had great things. I think alcoholism and drug addiction and PTSD, all combined, really affected me. I look back and I see it now. Hindsight is 20/20, though. I’ve let that go. It’s made me who I am today. And some people never get to sit here and talk about what they’ve done.”

During his darkest days, Robert said he seriously considered suicide. “I was at the point where I was thinking about ways to end my life where it wouldn’t be messy and where people wouldn’t have to bother with it. That was my thought process for a while. And I got through all of that. I look forward to getting up in the mornings and working. I appreciate the little things—the trees, learning about God’s creation and where we fit in this world.”

As part of his vocational training, Robert helps out with security at the Mission six days a week. After graduating in March, he wants to work and get into a good church. “Instead of worrying about what I want to do with my life, I worry about what God wants me to do with my life. As long as I do that, he’s going to direct me. I’ve come this far, he’ll take me the rest of the way. I try to live like that. I struggle just like everybody else with sin and with the way I think, and being unsure. But I know where my compass is pointed to, and if I just keep turning to him, I’ll get through it.”

Robert said he’s grateful for all the support provided to the Mission. “This is an amazing place. It really is,” he said. “This is the first time in my life that I remember that weight being off my shoulders. I just don’t think the same. I want to be an example. None of us are going to be perfect after 10 months. But we have goals. We have direction. We are assets to the community instead of liabilities. We just aren’t as broken as we were when we got here.”