Today, I'm peeling back the layers of my own story to reveal a chapter that significantly shaped my journey, which unfolded nearly three decades ago.

I was newly married to a Vietnam veteran who, unbeknownst to me at the time of our vows, battled daily with post-traumatic stress and alcoholism. These were the unseen demons that were soon to cast long shadows over lives.

In one of my previous posts, I shared a portion of this journey. Today, I'm here to tell part two.

It was August, a month like any other, until the day something triggered my husband. He disappeared into the basement, emerging later having drowned himself in two bottles of wine. The glaze in his eyes told me he was somewhere far away, lost in a place I couldn't reach.

He laid on the couch in the living room, the man I had married now a stranger beside me. I'll never forget the look in his eyes, a chilling intensity like no other look I’ve seen in my entire life. His words still ring in my ears: "I need to kill somebody."

I remember the cold realization creeping over me as I scanned the room. It was just him and me. His fist collided with the wall, a violent outburst that shattered my paralysis. I left. I ran across the street to a neighbor's house, unbeknownst to him. That night marked the beginning of another painful journey.

If you've lived through similar traumas, if you've seen that glazed look in the eyes of a loved one consumed by their own internal wars, I want you to know something: you are not alone. You are seen. You are heard. You are understood.

I have walked through the fire. I have battled the demons, processed the trauma, and found a path to healing and wholeness. I have not only survived; I have thrived. And you can too.

Our journey at Voices InCourage has been about sharing these stories, reminding ourselves and others that no matter how isolated or scared we might feel in our struggles, we are never alone.

In the face of fear, trauma, and addiction, we can stand tall, knowing that healing and hope are always within our reach.