Veteran recounts four years of recovery

Ralph at HVAF
Ralph with recovery coins
Ralph had $1.35 in his bank account. Then, things took a turn for the worse. On October 15, he shared his experiences in front of a room of homeless veterans at HVAF. Two years ago Ralph was a homeless veteran who relied on service and programs provided by HVAF. An addiction to alcohol and drugs contributed to his homelessness and in 2010 the Army veteran became a client at HVAF.

Ralph confided in the veterans recounting an altercation which led to his jail time and resulted in losing full custody of his daughter, Lakin. He says HVAF's recovery program helped him regain his independence, control his anger management and regain custody of his daughter. He was also able to get his driver's license reinstated.

"My Dad just celebrated being four years clean and sober and I am so proud," bursts bubbly nine-year-old Lakin.

Components of HVAF's recovery program - going to group meetings, learning life skills, finding a job and saving money - are designed to help him become self-sufficient.

There is a big smile on Ralph's face as he displays several gold coins that jingle in his pockets. Each coin is a symbol of one year sober. He clutches them tightly taking the coins everywhere and telling his story of recovery.

"My little princess reminds me all of the time why I work so hard to stay clean and sober," says Ralph. "I am still in recovery, but it's a choice I make daily to do what is right for me and my family. I had a long journey into sobriety, motivated in the beginning by several legal consequences."

Life has a tendency to take things away and present hardships as it did with Ralph but it also presents us with opportunities. Ralph has the opportunity to give back and encourage others.

Learn how you can help veterans, like Ralph, by visiting our website at hvaf.org.