Humans of SWFL

SWFL Helps Veteran Get Back on His Feet

6:55 PM, Sep 17, 2018


Jalyn Henderson, Shari Armstrong

Jeffery Noah spent about four years in the United States Navy. When he was relieved of his duties in 1988, he started to transition back to civilian life. Unfortunately, a series of life changing events pushed him on to the road of addiction.

“My problem was drinking,” Jeffery shared as sat on a park bench. Etched into the bottom of his right arm, a religious tattoo of the cross was showing.

He turned to alcohol to numb the pain after the loss of his fiancé and his mother.

“I started to self-medicate," Jeffery said. "For 10 years, I just wanted to drink.”

SWFL Helps Veteran Get Back on His Feet

Resources for helping the homeless are usually not effective until the person wants help. After Jeffery hit rock bottom, he made a personal choice to get sober.

“One phone call sparked it all," Jeffery said. "A life-long friend who as a former addict helped me.”

Road to Sobriety

Jeffrey, 42, went to the Evans Rehab Center in Fort Myers where he stayed for five days to start the detox process.

American Addiction Centers breaks down alcohol withdrawal into three stages .

Stage 1: Anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and abdominal pain which begins eight hours after the last drink.

Stage 2: High blood pressure, increased body temperature, unusual heart rate, and confusion come with this stage, which begins 24-72 hours after the last drink.

Stage 3: Hallucinations, fever, seizures, and agitation which takes place 2-4 days after the last drink.

Within five to seven days all symptoms start to fade.

He then went to rehab at the Veteran Affairs Medical Clinic in Cape Coral. He found a place to lay his head at the Veterans Village in Punta Gorda.

Jeffery’s top priority was to get spiritually and mentally fit. “It was a lot more than just ‘stop drinking,’” he explained. “I had to change the way I think.”

Once he cleaned up, Jeffery was ready to get back to work. He turned to Career Source of Port Charlotte.

“He had some challenges when he’d come in," Ed Fritz, who heads up the Veterans Program at Career Source SWFL. "By working with the staff members they were able to address that through the various community partners and services. He was able to get stabilized, go through the training and then begin building his career path.”

Jeffery wanted to travel like he did when he was in the Navy. He turned to trucking so he can travel throughout the U.S. “I work for three weeks, come home for a week," he said. "I don’t have a family - like a wife and kids, which is kind of nice as a truck driver."

“He’s a prime example of someone who’s very happy with his job,” Ed said. “We’re happy to see him succeed and it’s going to be great to follow along and see how he’s doing down the road.”

For Jeffery, everyday is a challenge.

"I guess if at the end of the day, if you can say, 'Hey I didn’t have a drink today,' that’s a pretty damn good day," Jeffery said, as he drove his Toyota. "I didn’t have a drink today. So it is a good day.”


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