Salvation Army Helps Veteran Win His Toughest Fight Since the Vietnam War

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After 41 years of drug and alcohol abuse, Maurice Bufford, 59, hit rock bottom and attempted suicide. “I was so low. I stole from family members, I was scared and I had nothing else. I just wanted to die.”

After recovering, Maurice entered the substance abuse rehabilitation program at The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center.

The Harbor Light Center is a beacon of hope for those battling serious substance abuse issues. Staff members help clients achieve sobriety and become productive citizens in their communities.

Maurice’s drug use started at age 16. At 17, he entered the Navy and was stationed on a ship off of the Philippines during the Vietnam War. “It was a sailor’s dream – to stay drunk and chase women. I don’t remember a third of what I did.”

Further drug use was fueled by the disdain that greeted Maurice and many other returning Vietnam veterans at that time. “A kid spit in my face. I couldn’t find a job. I blamed everybody else for my problems.”

Maurice continued using controlled substances to drown out the pain he felt and failure he encountered. His life spiraled out of control for three more decades – thefts, prison time, multiple attempts at sobriety, loss of his family – until he hit his bottom and had nowhere else to go.

Treatment at the Harbor Light Center includes various classes and sessions that build self-esteem and confidence, and addresses the root problem that contributes to addiction. Only now does Maurice realize what his drug use was really about – a misguided cry for courage, love and worth.

“I had no self-worth. I felt no value.” He credits the staff at Harbor Light with teaching him self-worth and love. “They love me for who I am, not for what I do for them.”

James Parker, resident manager at Harbor Light Center, has seen the change in Maurice. “He goes to all the groups and sessions, and he has much more confidence in himself. He is more outgoing and talks to a lot of people now.”

Maurice admits that his sobriety is a day-by-day process, but he now uses every resource available to him. He often leans on his strong faith to get him through.

Maurice has reconnected with his siblings and other family members, visiting with them regularly. “Now I’m invited to picnics, holidays and barbeques. I’m no longer the uncle they don’t want around,” Maurice said with a huge smile and joy in his eyes.

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