Former Green Beret dedicates life to helping veterans fight addiction | Military Health

“Our clients have the common bond of trauma and a common bond of being strong. We’ve had guys who have been in the same battles from different platoons, and then they’re telling their story, and then someone speaks up and says I was right there when that was happening,” he remarked.

Warriors Heart serves first responders and law enforcement officers, as well, and Spooner says there is commonalities between those groups and those who serve in the military.

“The physical differences of a combat vet and a stateside EMT might be much different, but the things that eat them up at the same,” he explained.

The programming available at Warriors Heart includes individual and group therapy, but the real magic happens when they’re sitting around the fire pit at night.

“You have that guy or gal who’s on day three, they’re trying to think about leaving and then you have the guy or gal who’s been there for 40 days and a mentorship forms. That’s what happens in our population anyway — when we see someone struggling, we help them. That’s our nature, and that’s our training,” Spooner said.

A picture from the ranch.

That connection with others helps them remember that they’re not alone. The private, 60-bed facility is located on a 543-acre ranch outside San Antonio, Texas, where it does everything it can to be the opposite of a hospital setting. It’s catered to the military demographic, both in terms of treatment choices and the overall approach to the program.

“I am the population, so it’s not a doctor or nurse practitioner saying what needs to be done. At the end of the line, there’s a warrior that’s making the decisions because I know what they can tolerate and what they can’t,” Spooner said.

He notes these military members come to Warriors Heart at the lowest point in their lives, so the staff tries to make it familiar to them, starting with an accountability check at 7 a.m.

“Everyone has been in basic or through an academy, so it’s a familiar flow to their day. This helps remind them that you’re this person now, but you weren’t always. Let’s get rid of the stuff you don’t need. We remind them who they are,” he added.

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