A former soldier is on the road to recovery, but not in the way many would think. Brian Tivnan didn’t come home from Iraq with physical injuries. He returned to Massachusetts with a raging heroin addiction.

Tivnan told WCVB that he would try to get his hands on any opiate substance he could find.

“I was 100 percent a danger to everybody and everything around me,” he said.

Tivnan regrets putting the lives of his former soldiers in danger.

“I look back now I say, ‘How could I have been so irresponsible?’ I had multiple people who I was in charge of, took their lives in my hands daily and I was a complete nightmare, complete mess.”

Tivnan has been battling his addition demon for much of his life. He found out that there were other service members suffering from addiction when he deployed to Iraq in 2007.

“It’s a lot bigger than people think,” he said. “You don’t want to feel fear all day long, you don’t want to feel depressed all day long, so if you find a substance or a way to take all that away, it just makes it all that much easier to do.”

Now, Tivnan shares his story with others, doing addiction outreach and public speaking about his daily struggle. He wants to help other veterans who feel the same anger and guilt about their drug use.

Tivnan has been sober for more than two years.

Yolanda R. Arrington is a content editor for Rare. Tweet her @iamyolanda and like her on Facebook.
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