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Veteran, VA employee has walked the walk in recovery

Megan Rogers
Megan Rogers

Hello! My name is Megan Rogers. I am a woman in long-term recovery.

My struggle with addiction began at 14. I grew up in a rural community where drugs were common and easy to access. At the ripe age of 14, I was smoking marijuana and indulging in alcohol. I progressed into mushrooms and LSD and, not long after the age of 15, I was experimenting with even harder substances.

At 16 I started using methamphetamine and soon found myself addicted. I quickly learned that I was a broke teenager with a bad habit that needed supported somehow. My mind and judgement clouded, I realized I could feed my habit by stealing checks from my parents. This continued until I was 19. By the time they had realized what I was doing, I had stolen thousands of dollars from them.

My father, unbeknownst to me, had hired a financial investigator to track the money. After he found out that I was reason for the losses, I was given two options: jail, or the military.

Hello, Marine Corps. While the Marine Corps molded me into a new woman, it is also where my alcoholism took form and progressed throughout my active-duty enlistment, 2003 - 07.

I have struggled with alcohol and addiction problems since. In 2009 and 2010 I received two alcohol-related DUIs. In 2016 I received a third DUI while being under the influence of marijuana. The court ordered me to come to the VA domiciliary for treatment.

During this time, I met some incredible people and learned some skills. But ultimately was not ready to be sober and it was very apparent by my actions. I broke the rules, was disruptive during class (when I showed up), and started a ‘rehab romance’ while on campus. Ultimately, this led to being discharged early from the program to continued stints in jail.

From there it was continued use and legal problems. In 2017, I picked up methamphetamine again and was instantly hooked, leading once again, to homelessness and isolation.

At this point, I had zero sense of love for myself. Things went from bad to worse after my mom (best friend, biggest support) passed on September 27, 2019. I crawled further into the pits of addiction and saw no end in sight.

Then, on the fateful night of June 26, 2020, after being arrested for felonious drug possession and driving while barred, I was taken to Dallas County jail. This arrest was the start of my new, sober life. From that point on I devoted my entire life to recovery. While incarcerated, I found God and gained knowledge of how to maintain sobriety through NA meetings and celebrate recovery. It was truly different this time because I knew in my heart that I could longer go back to the deteriorating life that was addiction. Maintaining sobriety and being active in recovery go hand in hand.

Some of the ways I maintain is by attending 12 step meetings, NA meetings, and celebrate recovery at Hope Lutheran church. I surround myself with like-minded people who have the same interests as I do. I have friends now that are ambitious and goal driven. You won’t ever catch me in a bar or old hangout. I refuse to surround myself with people that are actively using drugs or drinking alcohol. I keep my mind and hands occupied with hobbies and interests that suit me and are recovery driven.

Also, I volunteer my time to a memory care unit where I go and teach bible lessons to patients. I had to completely change everything about my old life/lifestyle to become the woman I am today. I wanted recovery more than a life of addiction and hardship. This is what drove my recovery.

I was able to access and utilize outpatient programs at the VA such as mental health therapy and vocational rehabilitation services. One of my vocational rehabilitation counselors assisted me in applying for a position that I was interested in at the VA, and now am a full-time peer support specialist working for the same establishment where I was once a patient. I take great pride in being able to share my story of addiction but also the better part, RECOVERY!

I look forward to continuing to help the Veterans with substance abuse and mental health awareness and be someone who can relate to them on issues that I too have lived through not only as an addict but a Veteran myself.

Megan Rogers,

Veteran, addict, survivor


NOTE: Find out more about recovery programs at SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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