Recovery programs help participants overcome struggles

Reboot Combat Recovery is a locally created 12-week nonprofit faith-based program with a goal to help those connected to the military overcome trauma. The program has operated on Fort Campbell since 2010. Beginning Sept. 10, meetings will be hosted at 6 p.m. Thursdays at Liberty Chapel, 3111 Bastogne Ave. Dinner and child care is available.

Fort Campbell is home to two faith-based resiliency and recovery programs for Soldiers, veterans, and Family members to process through and overcome trauma, grief, addiction, and other challenges they may be dealing with.

These programs are Reboot Combat Recovery and Celebrate Recovery, both are free to participants in and offered weekly on post.

“These programs are a deeper level of resource for assisting people with whatever traumatic situations they’ve gone through, whether in combat, or in Family life and marriage, or their background,” said Chap. (Lt. Col.) Paul D. Ramsey, community resiliency chaplain and Family Life Center director. “They are tools where people can be honest about what they are facing and get the resources they need to overcome the addictions, trauma, and grief they have going on in their lives.”

Reboot Combat Recovery

Reboot Combat Recovery is a locally created 12-week nonprofit faith-based program, with a goal to help overcome trauma. The courses, training and online community are open to anyone connected to the military. Since Reboot Combat Recovery began operating on post a decade ago, about 650 people have graduated from the program.

Beginning Sept. 10, members will meet Thursdays at Liberty Chapel, 3111 Bastogne Ave. Participants can break bread and fellowship during the hourlong dinner that begins at 6 p.m. each week. During the second hour, the group goes through the curriculum, which is a mixture of discussion, sharing and teaching. Free child care also is provided to make the program accessible to Families.

Bryan Flanery leads Reboot Combat Recovery on post and said the program changed his life. Flanery was injured October 2010 during a deployment with the 101st Airborne Division to Afghanistan.

“I broke my neck, my shoulder, hand, and knee, and received a traumatic brain injury,” he said. “I came home, and it’s important to know I was an atheist. I was raised as an atheist. When I got home, people kept telling me if I just had this surgery, or attended this program, everything would be fine, but nothing was changing and I fell into hopelessness and despair.”

In 2012, Flanery attempted suicide in his barracks room. After his suicide attempt, he met husband and wife team Evan and Jenny Owens. Evan is the executive director of Reboot Combat Recovery and Jenny is the co-founder and Outcomes director.

“Evan invited me in, and I said no,” Flanery said. “I told him ‘God has never had the time for me, why would I have the time for him?’ I realized I had tried everything else, and nothing else had helped me. So, what was one more try? As soon as I walked into Reboot, my life was never the same.”

Flanery first noticed a sense of peace and joy sitting with some of the other participants in his program, something he wanted. He stuck with the 12-week program and became a follower of Christ, graduated the program, and continued to volunteer with the program.

“I’ve led Reboot on Fort Campbell since 2013,” Flanery said. “I worked part-time doing national outreach to share my story. In 2017, I became the full-time engagement coordinator for Reboot and never looked back. I’m extremely passionate about Reboot.”

The results and methods from participating in the program have been published in the Military Psychology Journal, Ramsey said.

“The fact that it is faith-based is not meant to be a means to discourage people from participating in it,” Ramsey said. “We welcome anyone, whether they are faith-driven or not. As long as they (have) access to Fort Campbell, they are welcome. We welcome anyone to come and drop their outer shell and be vulnerable to get the help they need.”

Reboot Combat Recovery offers in-person program sessions and virtual sessions. Flanery said the peer-led trauma healing program follows a curriculum working through topics such as grief, guilt, forgiveness, trauma, self-identity, and healing.

“We lock arms together, we build a community of people who have been through hell on Earth and just want to regain who they were before,” Flanery said. “Although it isn’t entirely possible to return to who you were before, it is possible to live a life of peace and joy despite your past. We are not a support group, but we are a group that gives support.”

Flanery said the program can be challenging, but is worth it.

“At the end of the day, most of us are looking for peace,” he said. “How do you get through an extraordinary incident or traumatic event and regain peace? You can acknowledge the past without living in it, and that is an important part of healing. Oftentimes when someone is considering participating in the program, my challenge is to ask how is what you are doing working for you? How are your coping mechanisms working?”

Registration is encouraged for planning purposes, Flanery said. To register, visit rebootrecovery.com. Then select the “Join a Group” tab at the top. Find Fort Campbell, listed under Kentucky and complete the short registration form. Face masks will be required and social distancing will be enforced in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For more information, call Flanery at 574-386-1022.

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a national Christ-centered, ongoing recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind. The program is new to Fort Campbell and is hosted at 6 p.m., Thursdays at Memorial Chapel, 3934 Indiana Ave. Dinner and child care is available.

“Celebrate Recovery is a confidential environment, for folks to share what is going on in their minds and hearts,” Ramsey said. “You should have no fear in sharing what you are telling us, it is simply an opportunity to be honest about what you are going through and get the help you need to get through it.”

Brad Smith and his team lead Celebrate Recovery on post. Smith, an Army retiree, served at Fort Campbell for 17 years, serving at Division level and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

Smith was first exposed to Celebrate Recovery when his wife invited him to participate in the program established at a Clarksville church.

“I didn’t know why she invited me, my first thought was ‘I’m no addict’, but a friend of ours was leading worship there, so I decided to go,” he said. “When I got there, I was blown away by the humility of the people there and the way they worship. I was humbled by the presence of these different people and the way the spirit was moving in their hearts, so we started attending regularly.”

While Smith was attending Celebrate Recovery, he began to acknowledge the pornography addiction he had been harboring.

“I became a follower of Christ in 2005 between deployments,” Smith said. “The Lord was already telling me this was something I shouldn’t be doing, and a chaplain told me while we were deployed in Afghanistan that I shouldn’t be doing this. I felt compelled to confess to my share group at Celebrate Recovery, and I went home that night and told my wife. When I was talking about my plan to tell my wife, I was a mess of tears and one of the other guys in the group told me ‘you’re not alone, brother’.”

Smith and his wife traversed a long road to recovery together, continuing to attend Celebrate Recovery for two years. Smith said they learned a lot by going through the program with the other participants, who were all suffering and battling with something in their lives.

“The Lord turned our lives inside out and upside down,” Smith said. “Celebrate Recovery is a tool that drew us deeper into our faith and our love for Christ. Fast forward, I am now the pastor of The Way Church, and I was able to bring the Celebrate Recovery ministry to our church.”

Smith said the power of Celebrate Recovery is the accepting atmosphere and strong supportive community environment.

“Particularly here in the military, we tend to be closed off and not talk about how we feel. Through Celebrate Recovery, I’ve learned about the power of transparency and vulnerability,” he said. “People are hungry for connection and a place to be vulnerable and really talk about what they are struggling with. I would tell anyone thinking about coming to Celebrate Recovery that they need to be here, and if you come at least four times I guarantee you’ll keep coming back.”

To learn more about Celebrate Recovery visit www.celebraterecovery.com, or contact Chap. Ramsey at 270-412-9972, or Brad Smith at 931-378-0072.

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