Supporting a Veteran through opioid addiction

Supporting a Veteran through opioid addiction


-I’m Cheryl, and I am the,
what I call, life partner of Jerry,
a veteran. I met him in 1983, and his
service was much before that. When I met Jerry,
he was getting divorced, and we would drink socially. I saw his drinking as heavy
social drinking and a problem, because his personality
would change dramatically when he was drinking. But I didn’t really acknowledge
it being a problem for a long period of years. His health was deteriorating, and I really didn’t know
what was wrong, so I finally said, “I’m going
to the doctor with you.” And Jerry had never shared
what the doctor his symptoms that he was having
until I got involved. And the doctor had him do
some testing on his heart and his stamina, etcetera, and they found out that
his blood flow to his heart was significantly impaired. And that led him
to going to a surgeon, and he needed
open-heart surgery. He needed a valve replacement. It didn’t really get seriously
bad until after the surgery, and I attributed
a lot of his symptoms to recovering from the surgery, so I gave him a lot
of latitude, for a while. As much as I got involved
in his medical care, I did not perceive
that there was an issue with prescription medications. I regret it immensely now,
but I didn’t think of it, didn’t check on his medications. I had no idea that that was
exacerbating the alcoholism. He did not come back
and live with me. I told him he was not welcome
to come back until he had, completed a program, number one, and number two,
lived on his own and was able to maintain,
on his own, a healthy lifestyle. But I also told him that as long
as he continued to try, I would support him,
I would come and see him, and I did, until he finally
did stay in a program, through the V.A., called SART, which ultimately
was the program that succeeded. And he went off into
an apartment on his own and has maintained sobriety, even though I still drink,
and we live together. I am very proud of him. He does not behave like he used
to under the influence. And he doesn’t wander away
like he used to. My advice to somebody
in a close relationship with a person that is not
behaving in a healthy manner, who’s not communicating, who’s hiding
what they’re doing, that that may only be
the tip of the iceberg. You do need to act.
You do need to explore. You need to get involved as soon
as you see signs that alarm you. The sooner, the better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *