Transitioning to Civilian Life
We are dedicated to bringing veterans and professional athletes together to share each other's strength and experience, supporting each other in building and fulfilling lives of service and strength. Meet some of the participants who have had a positive experience through the program.
Being apart of "MVP" gives retired athletes and retired veterans the ability to interact and share experiences and stories of what it's like to be removed from such an influential part of his or her life, and be expected to live like any other, "normal" person. Whatever "normal" is for us, we figure it out together.
When I returned from Iraq in late 2005, I spent a large portion of my 7 weeks of terminal leave sitting on my couch and drinking by myself trying to process what I'd been through and what was next. I found a job as a personal trainer after a few weeks and it was good for me at the time because I was forced to talk and I could be a workaholic, regularly spending 7 days a week at the gym. In retrospect, it kept me alive and moving but delayed the processing that I needed to go through because I was able to convince myself that I was fine, that I didn't have PTSD, and that I was stronger than most.
Now over a decade later with multiple jobs, a failed marriage, many failed relationships, and financial issues, I've come to realize that I needed more to be healthy. In the summer of 2016, I hit my lowest point and was depressed and seriously considering suicide for about a month. On top of relationship and financial issues, I have suffered from survivor's guilt ever since all those weeks drinking alone on my couch. Thanks to my family and friends, I was able to pull through, but I've felt vulnerable ever since.
In March of 2017, a guy from my platoon killed himself and it crushed me. I believe it hit me so hard because I'd been so close to that myself less than a year before. After posting something about him, a friend reached out and told me about MVP. Game changer. I've now found the family and camaraderie that I've needed since leaving the military. Between meeting with and helping other veterans and also our disaster relief efforts in Houston, I've rediscovered my sense of purpose and drive. It also helps when I dedicate what good I've been able to do to my fallen brothers. I'm finally truly proud to be a veteran. Proud that I came home and that I continue to survive. I'll never be the same person that I was before combat, but I'm finally ok with that.
On the very day I was asked to submit a testimonial on the positive impact that MVP has had on my life, minutes prior I had been offered a full-time salary position in the career of my dreams from the CEO of THCDesign.
MVP came into my life while I was at a low point. Early 2017 I had very little self-worth, I only identified with my faults and shortcomings, and I had absolutely no purpose. Though I appreciate and have come to cherish the views, perceptions, and experiences of my brothers and sisters in arms, it was the experience of Ryan Leaf that made a lasting impact on me. I respected and admired Ryan's honesty, integrity, and humility. I too wanted to write my comeback story, and I said to myself, "If Ryan Leaf can fall from grace in the national spotlight, and mount a comeback, so can I."
Every week I attend with the intent to share and receive positive energy. To be honest, sometimes the discussion goes to those dark places so many of us often find ourselves, but the beauty is that we're not alone. The positive momentum, confidence, and support network MVP has afforded me has opened so many doors in my life, by facilitating the opportunity for me to open up.
I am infinitely grateful to Jay Glazer, Nate Boyer, Ryan Leaf, AJ Perez, Denver Morris, all my fellow brothers and sisters who've attended, the professional athletes who've dedicated their time, energy, and insight, and the Unbreakable staff for being so instrumental in saving this soldier.
We all go through situations in life that are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging; in which sometimes, we find ourselves overwhelmed and drained. MVP is about embracing the obstacles, finding the confidence, coming together and sharing experiences with fellow veterans; knowing that were not alone and have a safe place to find courage and bond amidst the chaos and uncertainty. For me, it's a blessing and reminder not only to reach out to those that struggle with anxiety or depression, but also to be aware and address mine as well.
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