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Rallying Against the Tide: Substance Abuse Recovery Tactics

March 03, 20245 min read

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Introduction:

In the daily lives of first responders and military personnel, the reality of confronting life's most harrowing scenes can leave deep, unseen scars. Often, the weight of these experiences can drive our bravest to seek solace in ways that may lead to substance abuse. At Guardian Grounds Ranch, we recognize the silent battle against addiction and the importance of having the right strategies and resources for recovery.

Identifying the Signs

Understanding the signs of substance abuse is the first line of defense. It can manifest as:

Changes in behavior or performance

Withdrawal from social interaction

Unexplained absences or tardiness

Sudden mood swings or irritability

The Path to Recovery

Recovery is not a journey taken alone. It requires a network of support, professional guidance, and often, a change in environment. Guardian Grounds Ranch is committed to providing a safe space where those struggling can find support and begin the process of healing.

Resources for Help

For immediate support, there are numerous resources available:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

FindTreatment.gov: Confidential free help, from public health agencies, to find substance use treatment and information.

Personal Note:
From the President - CEO of Guardian Grounds Ranch: I was completely OK and ready to die.

For so long, I ran and avoided any deficits I faced or struggled with in my life. What I found was I struggled with addiction because, as cliche as it sounds, it was truly an escape. Growing up a product of a divorced household, I would routinely see my mom physically, verbally, and emotionally abused. As a child, those memories seem to cling tightly, and mold our coping mechanisms early. My mechanism of choice was running and hiding. Now a big, 6'4" stocky man running from his issues in his 30's still continued to do so by running: to alcohol, and hiding: isolating myself into oblivion behind a false narrative of social media and poor relationships with folks I would normally not choose to be involved with. The more I could mask and get away with, the more I would indulge. Addiction is a hell of a ride, my choices were usually indulging in alcohol, pornography, or pills.. maybe all three some days, any of which would numb me enough to get through the next hour of reality.

Wallowing in self-pity was not something I was fond of, so why would I ever admit to anyone else that I had a problem when I couldn't even admit it to myself. I noticed when I lost certain valuable relationships, but thought "they" were the issue. I also noticed when I was an absent father, but again, blamed my ex-wife for keeping me from the kids. And, of course, I noticed when I was an alcoholic and addict, but used my past circumstances and PTSD diagnosis for any excuse I could muster... I made that work for 30+ years.

Looking back, If someone would have held me accountable and came along side me out of love, I think that would have greatly assisted me in my journey, instead I felt a lot of abandonment and it led to a "f**k them" mindset. I am not blaming others for my own downfall, truly, as an individual, you have to be the one that wants sobriety and its hard as hell. Luckily, for me, my wife loved me through all my breakdowns, my struggles, my emotional outbursts and PTSD episodes and never once wavered. Of course, she would let me know when I messed up, and when I went to far, but she would never give me an ultimatum of her leaving me. I think that was the most prominent thing in my heart when I made my decision to live in sobriety was being allowed to make that decision for myself and not at anyone's urging.

In some of my meetings I attended early on in my addiction struggles years ago, addiction was likened to drowning at your own hands by holding a large boulder underwater keeping you under. When the real and honest answer is; drop the rock. I get it, sobriety is not popular, especially in the first responder/veteran realms... but do you know what else isn't popular? A husband who isn't present, a dad who drives drunk with his family, and a friend who is not there for his brother or sister in a time of need because he or she is too drunk or high to comprehend the seriousness of the issue they are facing. I have lived on both sides of the fence, and I can tell you without a doubt sobriety has attributed to so much love, respect, and progression in my life. When I decided to put down the bottle and focus that time, energy, and lets face it... money, in to things that actually mattered (starting a ranch for first responders, veterans, and their loved ones) people believe in you and take notice of those changes and you start aligning with others in your same arena with parallel goals and visions. I am blessed (cliche again) to be in the position I am in now, and to be able to make the connections and have meaningful conversations that not only help others but help me!

I am optimistic that my first post will be one of many impactful, raw, and transparent words I get to speak into others. It is my ultimate hope when you read this, and the subsequent Field Manual entries, you will share them with your crews, loved ones, and friends to find value in them.

Thank you for visiting our site, and if we can ever be of assistance please feel free to reach out to us and we would love to align with you, wherever you are at on your journey.

-JC


Your Role in Their Recovery

Each one of us holds the power to make a difference in the lives of those grappling with addiction. By supporting Guardian Grounds Ranch, you contribute to a sanctuary where recovery can flourish—through counseling, therapy, and activities that restore the body and spirit.

Your donation helps expand these critical services. It's more than a gift; it's a lifeline to those who need it most.

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Guardian Grounds Ranch Board - A team united by the mission to provide sanctuary and support to our nation's heroes. Our board members bring personal insights, experiences, and heartfelt stories from the heart of Guardian Grounds. Each post reflects our shared dedication to the wellness and resilience of first responders and military personnel.

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