I spent last Tuesday evening relaying a personal story to almost 400 people that was the inspiration for my second book RELAPSE. It was the story of adopting my brother in-law’s unborn daughter after he died. I talked about how three of them lost their lives struggling with addiction and depression. Two of these deaths happened while I was deployed. Just before my 22nd deployment my wife took her life in our master bedroom closet. I never saw it coming. It made me an instant single father, navigating a landscape I was unfamiliar with and without an income to support us.

After I stepped off the stage, I was busy signing books when a young woman approached me. Her eyes were welled with tears. She recognized my daughter’s father from the story despite the fact that I didn’t use any of their proper names. She had always wondered about what happened with his daughter after he died and was glad to hear she was in my care. She gave me a hug and walked away. I had the feeling that despite the grim nature of my story, it had brought her some peace.

You never know who you can touch relaying a traumatic or difficult personal experience. I’m here. I survived and what I’ve lived through is worth something to someone else.