As you may know, BVG donates half our profits to the BVG Veterans of Valor Foundation. The primary mission of the foundation is to help veterans facing addiction navigate toward a better life.
We here at BVG know the plight of those battling addiction all too well, and we hear of new heroes fighting this fight and winning every day. But we also realize that not everyone gets to hear these heroes’ journeys and understand the cause the way we do.
So, in that vein, we would like to present a recurring column: A Hero’s Journey, where we’ll present a new hero each month and help them share their story so that others may gain a different perspective of addiction.
To kick things off we present one of our founders, Mr. Tom Buckner, a recovering alcoholic, Airforce veteran and ballistic glass engineer. We asked Tom some probing questions about his journey, you can see his answers below.
BVG: What were the main emotions that you associated with your addiction/mental health struggle?
Tom: Losing out on what I thought was fun.
BVG: How has that changed?
Tom: Life is so much better sober. I thank the Lord every day that I put the desire for alcohol behind me.
BVG: How did your addiction affect your overall life?
Tom: It was terrible at home, constantly telling my wife I wasn’t drunk or drinking when I was.
BVG: What about your career?
Tom: I owned a company, so my career was in my own hands. I made some decisions that came back to haunt me and had I been a sober person I believe I would have handled these decisions differently.
BVG: When did you realize you had a problem?
Tom: When I couldn’t stop. I told myself each day I would take a break and hold out for a few days but couldn’t. As much as I told myself I was going to stop I couldn’t.
BVG: How did you decide to make a change?
Tom: I realized I was drinking before noon, I looked at myself in the mirror and said I was going to kill myself or someone else on the road. That was the wakeup call for me. I called Betty Ford and made an appointment to enroll.
BVG: How did you get past the stigma of addiction/mental health struggle?
Tom: I accepted my alcoholism as a part of me. I’m no longer ashamed of being referred to as an “Alcoholic”. I’m surprised to at the number of people that come to me asking how I would help their friends (themselves) if I were able to talk to them.
BVG: What is the main struggle for you when it comes to maintaining your sobriety?
Tom: Just looking back and remembering how hard it is to stop. If I start, I won’t be able to stop unless I enter another program. Alcohol is just too powerful a drug for me.
BVG: What is the best way for someone else in similar circumstances to move forward or support themselves and others?
Tom: Take the step and get a taste of sobriety. Don’t worry about the lost fun and what you think your missing. Life on this side of the bottle is immensely better.
BVG: How did your struggle change your perspective of yourself and others?
Tom: If I am able to stop, trust me you can do it also.
BVG: What is your one greatest piece of advice for those struggling with addiction?
Tom: Get to a detox facility as soon as you can and join others suffering with similar issues. Support from your peers is invaluable.
If you or someone you know is battling addiction, please reach out for help as soon as possible. For resources for your own hero’s journey please contact us at [email protected].