Editor's note: In honor of Father's Day, we have two posts today about fatherhood, family, and recovery. This post comes from Amy and Kristy Curry, daughters of Bob Curry, a Vietnam veteran in recovery and the founder of Dryhootch, a veterans' network .
From Kristy Curry:
Father's Day has a new meaning in my life. To me, it means my dad's rebirth. He is back—I can see it and sense it. He is healthy, happy, and passing his gift of recovery and hope on to hundreds (if not thousands) of others. I do not doubt for a second that he will touch a million lives with his story.
My father has always been the strong one—the one that took care of everyone else, often at his own expense. When I saw an addiction start to take control of him, it was like watching someone slowly shutting him away. Trying to understand his past in a war that we knew little about was frustrating. How could something from so long ago, something he never talked about, be destroying his life 25 years later? Not until we contacted other veterans did we start to understand that we were not alone; that he was not alone. Had it not been for his fellow veterans willing to sacrifice their time and energy to help others, I believe I would have lost my father.
I am proud to say that my father has done the unimaginable. He has overcome his addiction with grace and power. He has overcome his pride to tell others his history in the hope that it will empower them to take a better path in their own lives.
My father is my hero. He not only saved himself, he is saving lives every single minute of every day. He is selflessly and tirelessly working to rewrite the future for all veterans. Father's Day was always special, but it now carries the additional meaning of survival and strength. I love my father and am proud to brag about him as much as I can.
From Amy Curry:
For me, Father's Day is a time to celebrate the incredible things my dad has accomplished and overcome. It’s also a time to reflect on his mission for other military fathers, mothers and families.
My dad has always been a great father—he has supported our family from the beginning, and was a constant presence in our lives as my sister and I grew up. We were lucky that my dad was able support the family and my mom was able to stay at home with Kristy and me. That’s a gift I would not trade for the world.
We never knew much about his time in the Army, and he didn't really like to talk about it. Many years after he left Vietnam, my dad began to drink—something he never had done in the past. It came out of the blue and it didn't stop. There were ups and downs and we kept hoping he would get better.
My sister, mom and I did everything we could to help, but it seemed that nothing we did could get through to him. The worst thing about addiction is watching what it does to the person you love and thought you knew so well. Addiction doesn’t just take that person away, it spreads destruction to the people who love him most.
After years of struggle, we learned that my dad’s addiction stemmed from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If only we had known sooner. With the support of his fellow veterans, we were able to get the treatment my father finally needed. His military family encouraged him to draw on his own strength on the path to recovery. Now it’s my dad's mission in life to help those who may be headed down the painful path he and many veterans endured.
He works tirelessly for his cause in raising awareness for PTSD and the needs of our veterans. He knows what will happen if they are ignored and doesn't want to see it happen to another generation.
I am extremely proud of my father and what he has been able to accomplish. I have no doubt that he will continue to do great things for our veterans and continue to be the loving supportive father he has always been to our family.