"The dark hole was
Nothing Worked. Until Now."
I am the wife of a First Responder who chose a career in Law Enforcement and Corrections. To understand what The Stable Grounds is to us I shall share a snap-shot of the journey that brought us to The Stable Grounds.
Over the past few years I watched my husband turn into a man I didn’t recognize. He was incredibly angry and bitter all the time, always looking for a fight. From the moment he awoke in the morning the negativity started. He looked forward to nothing. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw him genuinely smile or laugh. He looked forward to nothing; that’s what PTSD can do to a person.
I can’t explain what it’s like to watch someone you care about self-destruct right before your very eyes. My husband was in a very dark place, he just existed. No words can describe the fear you feel to learn that your husband is checking out the details of suicide in our life insurance policy. I had to reach out to family members and friends to check on him to make sure he was okay.
We tried counselling, doctors and medication, nothing worked. Outpatient counselling and weekly appointments were just not enough. The dark hole was all consuming. My husband is from a generation which dictates men don’t show their emotions, it’s a sign of weakness; ‘be a real man’. To add to his struggle my husband was in a career that emphasized and trained him to ‘do your job’; ‘do what you are told to do whether you like it or not; and the best directive ‘to suck it up’.
When I first heard about The Stable Grounds I was immediately intrigued. How to present the idea of a residential program to my husband was a challenge. Fortunately he agreed to a tour however on the drive up he panicked and asked if I was just going to drop him off and take off. I could see the fear in his face but we continued the drive. Once we arrived at The Stable Grounds and met Kevin and Rachel Webber and the staff I felt there was hope for the first time in a very long time.
The few days leading up to my husband’s admission to The Stable Grounds was somewhat unnerving. For me it couldn’t come fast enough, for my husband it was a time of fear and dread, but we made it.
On June 12th, 2017 my husband entered The Stable Grounds. The years of struggle with PTSD had taken a toll on my husband and our relationship. He had pushed me, other family members and friends away so how could the staff, total strangers possibly change things. I didn’t know how, I only knew we had to try. I was certain there would be several conversations with my husband of me trying to convince him to stay, I was prepared to beg. Unbelievably that never once occurred. Each time that I visited I could see a notable change in my husband. Over the weeks he seemed to be transformed both physically and emotionally. The angry glare and clenched jaw were gone. His body language was no longer intimidating and cold; he was relaxed. And then he talked, he was not just saying words but speaking from the heart. My husband recently shared with me that he never expected to last more than one day, but the day turned into 60 days, and that is what made all the difference.
The Stable Grounds changed my husband’s outlook on life. I have always loved my husband but I have never been more proud of him than I am today. It took tremendous courage for him to face the pain and struggles that he had tried so hard to hide these past years.
You have to walk in the shoes of the person who struggles with PTSD and with their families to understand how destructive and painful PTSD can be. It is a special kind of person and treatment team who can reach out and more importantly, make a connection to those who are struggling. The staff at The Stable Grounds are those special people. They all have an understanding of PTSD; they are committed, accepting and non-judgmental. Their unwavering support and encouragement is amazing. They are relentless in that they refuse to give up.
When you think about it, PTSD takes years to chip away and cause the damage it does not only to the individual but to the family members and friends. The staff at The Stable Grounds get it, they live it every day. It is because of The Stable Grounds that my husband is looking forward to the future for the first time in years.
I will be forever grateful to Kevin and Rachel Webber and all the staff at the Stable Grounds for giving my husband his life back and for giving us a future together.
“Over the weeks at The Stable Grounds my husband transformed both physically and emotionally.”