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 ExploreVA

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