Military Misfit finds Altruistic Medicine

Featured Resident KeaneThe Long Beach VA referred me to The Beacon House. I was a recently separated vet, who came to ask for assistance with overcoming alcohol. I showed up to the VA cocky, rude, angry, and trying to tell people how I should be helped. It was obvious to everyone that I was the type that needed long-term treatment. I was told about Beacon House since day one, however it took 18 months of trying to do it my own way until I wound up in the ER for the second time, with IV bags hooked up to my arms to keep me alive at the age of 27. I was finally emotionally, spiritually, and physically broken.

When I first arrived at The Beacon House I had no idea what to expect. However I soon realized that I had never seen anything like this. The guys really only wanted to take care of me and nothing else. For the few hours that it took to get checked in, their purpose became clear. They simply wanted to care for me and make sure I had everything I needed. I did not know how to react to this, I used everything I knew how to use to try to keep them away; I was cocky, rude, and angry. My first few months, I was never an initiator, I never went after anything, I never volunteered. I complied simply so that I could get through the day.

My eyes finally began to open when I saw the guys around me grow. I saw their courage, their bravery, and honesty while overcoming the things they feared. I wanted to be a part of it, I wanted to have what they had, but I was scared. I realized that my tactics would not work; none of the guys would back down. They saw right through me. No matter what story I told, no matter what I did, they didn’t care, they just wanted to keep helping me. Through my first six months I often contemplated leaving, but the promises that the staff and my peers made to me kept me from doing so. I was told that If I stuck around… if I did the work, I could become the man that I always wanted to be.

I finally started following directions. I started opening up, and trying to be honest, I tried to show a genuine care for the rest of my peers. It wasn’t until I did this, that God revealed himself to me. And I learned what they meant by carrying the principles. I finally quit complying, and tried to take leadership roles. For the first time in my life, I realized that I had a home, with people who I wanted to protect and care for.

I was able to be one of the initial members of the Veteran Outreach Program, a President of one of the houses, an alumni officer, a graduate of El Camino College; however, what is most important to me, and an honor, is taking men through the steps. I am currently employed full time with a large national company.

Everything that the House promised has not only become true, but it has far been exceeded.

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