In the days leading up to Veterans Day, WNPR brings you stories from veterans and those in their community.
Steven Bernier served in the U.S. Navy.
"I loved it. I would have stayed in over 20 if I could have. But I became a single parent. So I got out, learned the restaurant business. Opened up my first restaurant I think it was in ‘92. Then I opened up my bar and my father says, “Don’t do it.” Because he just knew.
"And about four months into me owning the bar, 2 o’clock in the morning, I says, ‘Oh I’ll have one shot’ and then, boom, I was on a run with alcohol.
"I was living under a pier in New London, Connecticut and somebody told me about the homeless shelter. I went to the VA; I checked myself into the emergency room, and went to a substance abuse program. It’s a 21-day program but I did like 40-something, and that basically was my road to recovery.
"If you’re not ready to quit something, that doesn't mean you have to stay under the bridge, OK? There’s places -- come stay here; we’ll take care of you; get warm first. And then we’ll tackle the second thing, and then we’ll tackle the third thing. It’s like a domino effect. I have my own apartment now. I’ve had it for, January it'll be two years. You’ve gotta take the first step."