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How One Army Veteran’s Confrontation with Military Sexual Assault Led to Addiction

When someone is a survivor of sexual assault, they tend to do whatever they can to mask the pain they are in. This can mean engaging in self-destructing behaviors like self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Yvonne Grissett is a survivor of military sexual assault who recovered from her addiction and used her story to inspire others.

Yvonne Grissett’s Story

Yvonne Grissett joined the U.S. Army in 1982. For the next four years, she served as a 94B food service specialist. She married a fellow soldier who ended up physically and sexually assaulting her for the next two years. She felt humiliated, devastated, and degraded.

Because this was occurring during the time of Grissett’s service, this was considered military sexual assault. When she tried to speak to her company commander about what had been happening to her, nothing was done about it. Grissett’s helplessness led her to turn to alcohol to escape the pain she was going through.

Effects of Grissett’s Trauma

Grissett finished her final tour in Germany, and ended her marriage. She eventually became homeless and lived under a bridge. She was living on a flattened cardboard box with only a bag of clothes with her. Her alcoholism spiraled out of control. Grissett felt a sense of relief when she was diagnosed with PTSD in 2011. It helped her understand her alcoholism and how she was drinking to mask the trauma she went through with her ex-husband.

Grissett’s Recovery

Grissett joined Narcotics Anonymous to achieve sobriety. She was able to find a place to live and began taking culinary management classes. For the first time in a while, things were looking up for Grissett. Unfortunately, Grissett was still seeing her ex-husband in places like the grocery store, the library, and the train.

For the next eight months, Grissett stashed knives around her house for her protection and knew that she needed to get help from Veterans Affairs. Grissett started seeing a therapist and began to understand more of her trauma through eye desensitization and reprocessing, realizing her trauma was not her fault. Grissett started to feel stronger and braver, walking out of her sessions.

Today, Grissett is a peer support specialist at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center, supporting other veterans going through PTSD. Grissett still has dreams of owning her own cake bakery when she is in a better place. Ultimately, Grissett confronted her drama and turned her life around through treatment.

Located in Silver Springs, FL outside the peaceful city of Ocala, The Guest House provides personalized treatment for addiction and mental illness caused by trauma. Co-founded by Judy Crane and John West, our programs are open to men and women over the age of 18 who seek guidance and/or support. At The Guest House, we offer a variety of treatment options, such as breath work, equine therapy, art therapy, grief therapy, cinema therapy mindfulness, individualized and group therapy, and more to treat the troubling effects of your trauma. For more information, please call us today at 855-876-3884. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.