LISTEN: Veterans Share Challenges of Civilian Life on 'To War & Back'

July 17, 2019

On the fifth episode of “To War and Back,” three veterans continue telling their stories of the challenges of retuning to civilian life.

Army veteran Boone Cutler recalls struggling to return to a normal, post-war life, while Marine Corps veteran Kirstie Ennis finds a new source of strength. The podcast is a RADIO.COM original, created in partnership with Connecting Vets, and hosted by journalist and Navy veteran Phil Briggs. 

The episode begins with Cutler, who explains how he believed there was only one way out of his depression. “I was still dealing with a lot of suicidal ideations,” he said. He recalls holding a gun in his hands at one of his lowest points. “At that point, there really was no plan,” he said. 

However, Cutler said he quickly began to piece together that his nightmare was connected to the medication he was being prescribed, so he made a bold decision. “I stopped all the drugs,” Cutler said. “In 17 days, I was off all the drugs and I was better. I didn’t have that constant draw to suicide, or violence, or things like that. I was just flat out better.”

But Cutler's overall health was still declining from lack of sleep. He was introduced to medical marijuana, and said he began a journey of discovering a variety of cannabis-related cures that he said saved his life. 

Briggs then turned to Kirstie Ennis, who would also begin a new journey. Leaning on friends and family, she found the most valuable cure to her sadness was the company of others. 

“If you are that veteran that is struggling or that civilian, then go ahead and find that new community. Is it uncomfortable and awkward at first to go out and throw yourself… into a community? Sure, but it replaces that brotherhood that you might be missing,” she explained. 

“It gives you a sense of friendship and relationship of men and women that are going to stand on your left and your right, and defend you, and help you, and encourage you to do more, be better be faster,” she said. 

You can find “To War and Back” on the RADIO.COM app and everywhere you get podcasts.

Follow Phil Briggs @philbriggsVet