Stand Down House

In Their Own Words

An Iraq veteran describes the life-changing help he found here.


An order reserved for a moment of extreme emergency
Usually announced authoritatively, urgently
To stave off acts of chaos, exceeding the plan
Its purpose is to interrupt insanity in man

To the commoner this phrase seems a waste
But the soldier, ah the soldier, often will chaste
Seems ludicrous to cease aggression upon thine enemy
However, the annuls of humankind experience reflects its inception aplenty

Excessive rounds hap hazardly fired at a foe, long expired
Rebellious towards regulations, laws, rules, things desired
Feelings run a muck, emotions a force frayed
Mindless of security for self and others staid

Stand-Down soldier and be restored to sanity.

An order reserved for a moment of extreme emergency
Usually announced authoritatively, urgently
Thus pronounced and intended to splice the balance which intimately is odd
Piercing the struggle asunder of soul and spirit, clarity from God

No battle involving one soldier ever subsided with pride
Nor does pride justify the means by which we hide
Behind the smile raging anger desperately seeks clarity
Love and hate delicately trickle through our minds a dance of parody

Its not you I despise
The mirror only reflects its beholder, worthless in my eyes
When terror escapes abstractly formulated in fear
Violent destruction rules the mind and its fabric of sanity year by year

Stand-Down soldier and be restored to sanity.

Hearken to the voice of reason
Battle worn, solitary man on the verge of death and ruin; this is the season
Since the inception of this order overrides the escape of ammunition left in a clip, clung to with intensity
A future of hope, discipline and freedom from judgement unto condemnation is your destiny

Be wise soldier for the battle is within, true?
Thine most opposing enemy has become you
Judge not the source
Cast off the guilt, fear and shame threatening your remorse

Stand-Down soldier and be restored to sanity.

Frederick Sherman 2007
Former Stand Down Resident

Used with express permission of the Author.
May not be duplicated without such permission.

Joe was in the Army veteran (1st Cav, Vietnam & Korea) from 1968-1971.
He wrote: "I am 60 years old and still going strong, but for a time in my
life I did not exist as a normal person. Alcohol and drugs took over. My
addiction was my life. I lost a 31 year marriage, a family, job, friends &
I became homeless & I did not care. There where days when I would pass
out and hoped not to wake up. I was finally convinced that I was nothing
but a failure. I heard it so much I believed it. When I was fortunate to come
to Stand Down I met a man called Roy Foster he said welcome & he said
something I have not heard for years, you are not alone & you are a good
man. Three years later I work for this man because I believe in him and
believe in his dream. I don't look at what is but what can be."

Ross was in the Air Force from 2000-2004 & spent 9 months in Qatar and
Oman in the Middle East. He wrote: "I currently live at Stand Down. I came
here at the end of my road (homeless, sick, hungry) .... I started my drinking
career pretty much right out of boot camp. I was amazed to find how openly
recognized & normal drinking was on base. Every NCO & Officer celebrated
everything with booze. I jumped right on that train. It started getting much worse
toward the end of my enlistment. Once out, it was every day accompanied by
cocaine use & a pretty bad opiate & benzo habit to boot. I woke up day in day
out tremoring violently and shaking violently. I always thought it was my nerves
or side effect from the Anthrax vaccination. I mean, it couldn't have been from
using cause I wasn't an alcoholic! Not me. Being a bartender didn't help. It
made it much easier for me to stop the shakes having all the booze in the
world at my fingertips. I moved up to Philly to open a bar / restaurant & went
from bad to worse. Once I finally got fired, lost my house, my car, whatever
dignity I had left I thought I can move down here and my Dad would make it all
better. He definitely shut the door on me (well not me, but an alcoholic/junkie).
That's when the VA told me about Stand Down. It definitely wasn't for (ME?)
because alcohol wasn't my problem, I just got dealt a bad hand in life! Anyhow,
I gave in with nowhere else to go. That was April 20th 2009. Stand Down helped
me understand my problem(s). Its amazing, here I have hope for a future.
Here I have a loving family. Here I found I don't have to battle life alone.
Here I found Jesus Christ. Here people care about me. Here I care for people.
Here I got a new start on life. Here I turned the page. Here is my home.

Oswald was in the Army veteran & he served from 1987 to 1991. He wrote:
"By the grace of God I was blessed with Stand Down House. My drug and
alcohol addiction made my life unmanageable. I lost everything that I owned
and what was dear to me, it seemed like it happened over night. When I came to
Stand Down House I was angry, still had thought of using, and was still in denial.
It has been a rough road to recovery. The staff help me understand how my life
became unmanageable over a period of 20 years. With the help I received I
realized what my anger wasabout, and was taught how to control my addictions.
I'm grateful for Stand Down because of the caring they have put towards me.
They provided a roof over my head, food, transportation to and from the VAMC
where I attended group therapy, to AA/NA meetings, help with getting me a job
at the VAMC, CWT Compensated Work Therapy. They have gave me enough
tools to use in every day life to remain sober. I have more knowledge now than
I did in the past; Being responsible for my actions, for my life, and how to cope
with everyday life. I can say Stand Down House saved my life and gave me some
hope that my life will get better by following their guidelines. Stand Down House
also gave me an unbelievable amount of pride in myself. I want to thank Stand
Down House & its staff from the bottom of my heart for the 2nd chance at life."

Al was a Short Range Gunnery Crewman in the Army with two years of active
duty service (1986-88). It is not his first time at Stand Down House & shortly
after his return he wrote: "In my opinion Stand Down should set the National
standard for Veterans in need. It doesn't matter if you're alcohol or drug
dependent, or suffer from PTSD. All veterans who find themselves homeless
for problems they can't solve on their own, deserve to have a program like
this available to them. It saved, and is saving my life. From the VA outpatient
program, to Stand Down staff & clients, the resources I need are now available
to me. If I can't find the answers I need, it's because I didn't ask.
Stand Down is a safe, structured place tailor made for vets."

Wilbur was in the Army from 1970-1973, & overseas. Here is some of what he
wrote: "I, like a lot of veterans, ran head on with addiction & all the problems
that come with it. I used drugs & alcohol for 40 years. I had times of sobriety,
forced by jobs or life itself. In Sept. of 07 I found myself on 3C at the West
Palm Beach VA, a locked ward for detox, also for suicidal & homicidal vets.
I think I was all of the above. I had lost hope & was totally spiritually depleted.
At that point, I knew I had to stop the way of life. It was change or die .... it was
brought to my attention a program ... for veterans only & that they worked closely
with the VA. I was interviewed & accepted .... When I came to Stand Down I didn't
know what to expect, I had nothing but an old van & a couple of guitars .... From
the moment I got to Stand Down I was welcomed by other veterans that were there
& a caring staff. Being a vet with vets made a big difference, there was kinship.
From the start the staff started addressing my problems. They clothed me ...
provided 3 meals a day ... a good clean place to live .... on-site AA & NA & a
variety of classes to help live life on life's terms. They worked with the VA to
get me into addiction programs ... a PTSD program, & addressed my medical
problems. They provided transportation to & from all appointments both inside
& outside the VA. For me, now 6 months into this program my whole way of life
has taken a positive change that I thought could never again be for me. My whole
way of thinking & living has changed .... Stand Down has made many changes in
me & I look forward to a happier more productive life. There are some buildings
we live in, but Stand Down is in the caring & understanding staff ...& the men
who come here to make change ... Stand Down has changed my life."

Scott was in the Army (5th SFG[A]) from 1983-1985. He had been at Stand
Down for two months in 2007 when he wrote the following: "My experience
as a resident / client of Stand Down House has been one of healing, learning,
recuperation and rejuvenation. The program and methods of recovery employed
by SDH have been beneficial to all aspects of my being: mentally, physically,
emotionally and spiritually. In brief - the program is a process of learning to once
again become a clean, sober, responsible and productive member of society.
Monday - Friday breakfast begins at 0430. Morning chores are done and its
off to the VA Hospital for classes and group therapy. These classes and the
instruction on how to stay clean and sober and the dynamics of addiction have
probably saved my life. Without the tools I've been taught by the therapists and
staff, it's almost certain that I wouldn't have been able to maintain my sobriety.
This program works. If you're a veteran and want a better life - free of drugs
and alcohol -I recommend Stand Down House. SDH will provide a veteran with
what you need - but you have to want it." Signed "A Grateful Recovering Addict"

Richard was an Aviation Storekeeper (USS Boxer LPH-4) from 1966-1969.
He came to Stand Down in March 2007 and in July wrote the following which
he titled Body-Mind-Spirit "An Opportunity to Explore Ourselves." He wrote:
"Upon my arrival at Stand Down, I was physically and mentally broken - no where
to go - hopeless. Stand Down provided me a safe and secure environment, in
which I could start my journey of recovery & a sober life. The program provided
transportation to & from the V.A. Hospital allowing me the opportunity to receive
the medical attention I needed to return my body to a healthy functioning person.
Also the Outpatient Treatment groups at the V.A. Hospital and Stand Down
offered me information and suggestion, to allow me to understand the extent of
my addiction. These groups are facilitated by a highly trained and caring staff
of Mental Health providers. The staff offers nothing but compassion, time,
guidance, knowledge and respect to each individual in the program. For me,
along with the help for both body & mind, and thru this guidance, I came to
find a spirit in my life. A new RESPECT for myself and others. A feeling of
being a worthwhile person. No longer an outcast. I am grateful for the
welcome, security, and compassion of Stand Down and it's staff."

Charles was an Army Supply Clerk from 1971-72. He was at Stand Down for 20
months when he wrote the following: "My achievements at Stand Down have
changed my life and also me. I have been in different programs, but the Stand
Down system is totally different in many ways. The knowledge, courage, honesty,
and loyalty of the staff, and other members that help and give their time, help us
to go forward in life. It has been rewarding for me and now my interest is in
helping other people like me. Stand Down is a place that if there were more like
this one, it would help and change a lot of people to put their life back together.
It has really changed my life and my recovery."

Shelly was an Army Communications Technician from 1970-71. He resided at
Stand Down for over one year, left for a short time, and returned early in 2002
for more help. He wrote the following: "I would like to take this opportunity to
express thanks to Stand Down for the combined effort, knowledge and direction
that I have received during my tenure here. By being a veterans only program
I felt safe and was able to let go of a lot of baggage. Through my ups and downs
journey I was never given up on and for this I am eternally grateful. I'm confident
enough now to go on with my life and perhaps one day I might be able to help one
human being go in the right direction. I am very grateful and all is appreciated."

Michael was one of our first residents. He was an Air Force Crew Chief in a C130,
was in the service from 1968-75, & served five years in the Vietnam theater.
He wrote the following: "I was a resident at Stand Down for almost two years.
I came here looking to get straight so I could go to work but as it turned out
I'm now the" Senior Resident Technician. "Stand Down gave me the tools &
education to understand about my alcohol and crack addiction. They treated
me with respect & gave me a safe and secure place to live. As a result of
educational, medical, & psychological help, I've turned my life around to
where I established a new relationship with my daughter. I've decided
to stay working with Stand Down and try to help others."

How You Can Help
Donations helped us provide support & services for these men.
Your contribution would help our non-profit organization to
continue to provide services to our homeless veterans.

To get more information on how you can help us help them click here.
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Page updated September 24, 2014