The Journey to Self Awakening can be a long process. If we live in the past, think negatively and do not control our minds, it will be longer.

Journey to Self Awakening will give the tools needed to make a significant positive change in one’s life.

Everything at Journey to Self Awakening comes from the heart, for the greater good, and with the highest intention.

I started this blog to not only help my journey to self-awakening but also help others with their mission.  I was born in Hinsdale, IL and was raised in Hayward, WI. As a child, my family did move around a lot. I came from a broken home, my parents divorced when I was beginning middle school.

I would go back and forth between my mother, father, and grandparents, which was confusing to me at the time.

I remember thinking that it was somehow my fault that my parents divorced and it took me a while to realize that it wasn’t my fault.

I wasn’t a perfect student, and in middle school, I experimented with marijuana and drank. I was really good at sports up until I dropped out of high school at the age of 16.

I started to drink a lot, and one day I knew something had to change. I decided to go to Kicking Horse Job Corps in Ronan, MT to be a carpenter.

This was a fantastic experience, and I learned a lot. One of the best times I had in Montana was being a forest firefighter in 2000. This was the time that I realized I loved living on the dangerous side of life.

montana fire
The photo was taken on August 6, 2000, by John McColgan

We had a few close calls. I remember one time we had gone to a small fire of about 20 acres. We were making a control line when the fire had surrounded us in a tight area. We tried to get out, but the fire was moving too fast. Luckily there was a bulldozer there to cut us a path out.

I graduated from job corps with my high school diploma and a certificate in carpentry. I went back home to Hayward and worked with a buddy doing carpentry. This didn’t really pan out as the boss had a bad alcohol problem.

On April 14th, 2002, I enlisted in the ArmyArmy. After 9/11, I felt like it was my duty to join and battle the people responsible. I tried to sign up for infantry, but that wasn’t an option. I was told there were no openings in the infantry.

I ended up being a 52D which is a power generation equipment repairer. I got to pick between Korea and Germany as my duty station. I chose to go to Germany.

I went to basic training in Fort Knox, KY and did my advanced individual training (AIT) in Aberdeen, Maryland. I graduated AIT at the top of my class. I got the chance to work on the Patriot missile batteries as a Charlie 9 identifier.

On December 14th, 2002, I flew to Germany and was stationed in Dexheim. I was part of the 1st Armored Division Mechanized 123rd Main Support Battalion.

I met some awesome people and did a lot of partying up until we got deployed to Iraq in May 2003. Funny story about being deployed. I was in the PX one day and over the radio station came an announcement that 1st AD was getting deployed. Everyone that was shopping stopped in their tracks and looked around stunned.

I was one of several people in our battalion to be picked to do guard force. I ended up being on convoy security, and I was part of a quick reactionary force (GRF). Before being deployed, we up-armored a 5 ton, and it was used for our gun truck.

I won’t go into details about my deployment, but I did and see things that still haunt me to this day. We ended up being extended, and we finally came back to Germany in July 2004.

After we returned from Iraq, I was battling PTSD and didn’t know how to handle it. I turned to alcohol and marijuana to help me cope. At one point after coming back from Iraq, I was drinking a 1/5th or sometimes two of Tequila a night. I had a hard time maintaining relationships as I drank too much.

Using marijuana is not allowed in the military, and I did get article 15s for my actions. I didn’t realize the extent of my PTSD, and I had two choices, I could leave the Army or try to fight to stay in and be forced out if I lost.

I had a lot of people on my side. All the sergeants in my platoon wanted me to stay in and fight because they knew I could win because I did turn things around by quitting marijuana. The problem was, I didn’t think I could win and I had some horrible breakups.

I felt that if I was to leave the Army, my pain would go away. The problem was that it didn’t go away. When I left the Army on March 14th, 2006, things got worse. I didn’t have any accountability, and my drinking had ramped up.

I immediately found work and found myself showing up to work still half shot. I did the same thing in the Army. Show up to PT still drunk and would run it out of my system. What I didn’t realize is I had a lot of anger issues and demons that I was battling.

It wasn’t until 2009 that I finally woke up to how alcohol was destroying my life. I went to the doctor and was put on Zoloft for my anger issues and it helped me quit drinking. I rarely drink now and I feel so much better.

I have battled with depression and PTSD for a long time now. I finally went to the VA to get help and it has been nothing but a hassle. I am currently in the process of appealing my claim because they low balled me.

If you are a veteran and suffer from PTSD or any other issues, I definitely feel your pain when the VA dicks you around. If you are trying to get any kind of disability for PTSD, get a lawyer to help you. It will save you time in the long run.

I tried doing the VSO route and mine didn’t help at all. Also, when you go into the compensation and pension exam, do not let the examiner talk go down the path of your family history. Even though I had severe signs of PTSD, the VA blamed it on my family history.

I had overwhelming evidence to support my claim but they still screwed me. This is why I think anyone trying to get any VA benefits should use an attorney.

Anyways, I have had nothing but bad relationships ever since I got out of the Army. My anger and my drinking cause the destruction of those relationships.

I have lived a single life ever since December 2015. I am not against being in a relationship but it has definitely helped me find myself. I have reexamined my life and have come to learn a lot about myself.

I still suffer from PTSD from the Army but I have found ways to help deal with it. The most thankful thing in my life is my daughter Scarlett. She taught me the definition of unconditional love and has been a blessing ever since she came into my life.

It’s not easy being a single father but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I can give Scarlett the attention that I never got growing up and I can try to make sure she doesn’t go through the struggles I have.

Another thing that has helped me with PTSD is to meditate and do Reiki. I will be honest, I never gave meditating and Reiki the time of day because I didn’t believe in it. Today, I am thankful that I made the decision to add meditating and Reiki to my life.

It has expanded my consciousness in ways that I never imagined. If there’s one takeaway from this, it is to meditate every day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day. The effects of meditation can have a profound effect on a person’s life.

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