VA’s Make the Connection: You are not alone

Online videos of Veterans sharing struggles and recovery


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MakeTheConnection.net is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives.

No matter when, where, or how you served, or what you’ve experienced in military or civilian life, you may be facing challenges that affect your health, relationships, and life. Whether your military role ended two decades ago or two days ago, you share with Veterans everywhere the common bonds of duty, honor, and service to our nation.

Every day, Veterans connect with resources and support to manage and address challenges they may have and find solutions for improving their lives.

At MakeTheConnection.net, you can select your branch of service, your combat experience and the era in which you served: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Post 9-11. Your peers are there.

You’ll see videos of Veterans sharing their very personal experiences…what they went through and how they recovered.

Meet Daniel and Sara (pictured above):

Daniel and Sara have a history of serving others — he as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps for 10 years and she as an active-duty Navy member for almost 20 years. As a vehicle operator in the Marines, Daniel served “all over the place” — Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, the Mediterranean.

But like many other Veterans, he felt lost when he left the service. “I was transitioning out of the Marine Corps,” Daniel says. “We had a brand-new baby. I was becoming a civilian, and I was a spouse. We were going through this crazy transition. I lost an identity. I lost who I was. My entire life was being active-duty in the Marine Corps — and now I’m not.”

“You communicate and talk through it.”

Daniel drank a lot before he joined the military, and the habit continued — and increased — during and after his service. “Throw [in] being a Marine, PTSD, combat tours, being in a motorcycle club … all these things compounded [my drinking].”

He decided to make a change. Together, Daniel and Sara learned to be open and honest about their challenges. “There were struggles in the beginning with some alcohol,” Sara says. “But you communicate and talk through it — and we’ve gotten so much better as a couple.”

Now, Daniel has found the positives in his life that instill a new sense of purpose — reconnecting with his buddies from service and providing for his and Sara’s daughter. “I think about her future — what she’s going to be like as a child, as a teenager, as an adult,” he says. “That’s led to bettering myself. Trying to better my family … trying to better the world that my daughter, my children, grow up in.”

If you are a Veteran or a family member of a Veteran, facing challenges in your everyday life…you are not alone.

Find information that relates to your experience.

Hundreds of Veterans and family members from across the country have shared their stories of strength and recovery. On MaketheConnection.net, it only takes seconds to find a story just for you.

Author

Hans Petersen

Hans Petersen is senior writer-editor for Digital Media, VHA Office of Communications. An Air Force Veteran, Hans also served two years in the Peace Corps and worked for 20 years in broadcasting before joining VA.

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