After years of drug addiction, Russ used Compensated Work Therapy to get back on track.


[MUSIC]>>TEXT: Russ, Air Force Veteran,
Explore VA, Employment Services.>>SPEAKING: Actually, I got out
of the Air Force a little bit early. I started getting myself
in some trouble. They gave me the option to get out or stay
in, and I decided I wanted out. I just needed to change my life.
And took off running and been running for quite a few years
since then. Somewhere along the line, I got into drugs and
alcohol. And my dad harped on me for many years to go to the VA
for some help. I think I’d had one appointment with the VA. And
because my addiction was so bad and I was basically with living
in my car, I was going to commit suicide. And that’s when I
called the crisis line.  The first time, they talked me down
to a point where I felt very comfortable with myself and I
wasn’t concerned about–it had brought down my anxiety to the
point where I could deal with it for a little while. And then I
had an appointment with the VA, I think the following week. And
once I went in and talked to them at the VA, they saw that I
had called the crisis line. They got me in to see somebody else.
And we just took some steps from there.  Changing my whole life
around, and having the VA available to me, it’s just
really changed my life. They had so many different programs that
I was able to get into, as far as just getting me into a place.
Basically, when I left Colorado, I came here. And I didn’t have a
penny to my name. And allowing me to have a safe place to go
to, and then start finding employment. They have a program
up at the VA hospital called CWT where they–it’s like
compensated work therapy. And you’re actually allowed to go in
there. And they put you to work for like 32 hours a week. And
pay you cash. And that allowed me to start moving forward in my
life.  I was excited. I was here. I get to be a carpenter. I
was a carpenter a good part of my life. My jobs have either
been construction, the Air Force, or being a carpenter. So
it was pretty nice.  The CWT program that was available
really just kind of helped me get my feet back underneath me,
and then transition into getting a full-time job as a carpenter
for the federal government. It made me feel like I was a big
kid again. It’s been quite a trip from getting here
originally to come into an inpatient drug rehab program. I
just know that I wanted to change my life. And having the
VA have these different things available to me has made all the
difference in the world. They’ve just helped me bring my life
back to where it needs to be. And I’m very thankful for every
one of them.>>TEXT: Don’t miss out on
benefits you may have earned. Explore.VA.gov

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