My name is Ethan Lucas and I joined the Marine Corp at age 19, a few months after 9/11. I joined for many reasons, but that national tragedy is the one that stands out in my mind. That morning I woke up and saw the World Trade Center towers burning. I was sad, angry and most of all felt like it was my family inside those burning buildings. As an American I feel we are all tied together as a nation, which is held together by patriotism and the acts of brave men and women to keep us free. I enlisted in the Marine Corp to protect my country, as my family has done for generations.
While serving in the Marines I did two combat tours in Iraq. I have developed PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from the time I spent at a small FOB (Forward Operating Base) in the triangle of death, 20 miles south of Baghdad. I endured frequent mortar and rocket attacks nearly every day. There was never a moment when my life didn’t feel threatened. I thought I would come home in a body bag because you can only dodge incoming fire so many times. Three years after being honorably discharged from the USMC I finally hit my breaking point.
I got out of the Marine Corps in 2006. I used alcohol to escape from the trauma I endured while I was in the military and as a civilian. I lost my father right after returning from my 2nd deployment to cancer and alcoholism. He was a Vietnam veteran and drank until he died of cancer at 53. I have lost military friends in combat on foreign soil, and from suicide on U.S. soil. I thought that getting out of the military would help with my PTSD, however I soon found out that civilian life has just as many struggles and hardships.
My girlfriend left me due to my PTSD and alcoholism, which I don’t blame her for at all. I was hurting everyone around me, including myself. I hurt my mother the most; she first lost her husband and then had to watch her son fall apart and couldn’t do anything about it. I knew I would have the same fate if I continued on the same path as my Dad. I hit rock bottom and couldn’t get back up. My family and friends urged me to get help. I woke up one morning and asked my mother to take me to the VA. At that point I wasn’t sure even they could help me. Luckily I was able to find the help I needed; the help my father never asked for. I began treatment at the West Los Angeles VA and spent 7 months there. I have been sober since Nov, 2, 2009.
Each day I feel stronger and more focused than the day before. Writing and reading these poems helped me to identify my issues. By listening to others I saw that I can live, and live well above addiction. In April of 2010 I won a creative arts contest at the West Los Angeles Veterans hospital, which had participants from Los Angeles and surrounding cities. I received such great feedback from many veterans and their families that I decided to write down my thoughts and feelings to help others. When I started writing the book, it felt like I was breaking all of the ties holding me down. I never knew how to express my anger, depression and anxiety in constructive ways. Along with the combat/ trauma teams and therapy and guidance headed up by Dr. Haas at the VA domiciliary, I learned how to deal with my PTSD and alcoholism; to become the man I am proud to be today. I decided to publish this book of poetry for military personnel and their families, and every other person who suffers from trauma and addiction.
Dealing with all of life's problems is impossible while submerged in addiction. I feel that my poetry will speak to those that need to live sober. For those who are sober, these poems will remind them why they chose sobriety. You can live at your highest potential, if you choose to have the discipline and do the work to move forward. It’s never too late to take your life back. If you struggle with trauma and addiction, I hope my poetry helps you realize that you are not alone.
The outline of my book mirrors my sequential struggles beginning with trauma, leading to addiction and eventual recovery. The poems are very dark in the beginning because trauma and addiction are an extremely dark time in anyone’s life. This book will take you through my battle, and hopefully helps you or your loved one overcome their challenges. Thank you and Semper Fi.
"Scars of War/A Journey Through War, Addiction and Recovery"
Dreamed of this for so many nights
I made it through the tunnel and I’m at the light
Leaving this place in my past
I knew this hell couldn’t last
Not the man I was
I guess that’s what war does
Innocence lost in smoke and fear
Never knew if death was near
Was my love replaced with hate
Did I leave a little to late
Am I able to have fun the same
Will I look at you with selfish blame
Afraid of so many things
Normal things that life may bring
Every second I get farther
I now wish, I could stay longer
War now feels like home
Home feels like the unknown
In war I knew what to do
At home I have no clue
How will I answer all their questions
Will they expect a complete confession
Needing it to be absolutely quiet
Asking me why I’m so silent
People all around, welcoming me home
All I wanna do is just be left alone
Being asked if I’m all right
Makes me so mad, I want to fight
Drinking to feel tame
Everything’s boring, everything’s the same
Asked what do you want to do?
Not to be here with you
Don't ask things you don't want to hear
In war at least I thought clear
At home I don't know what to do
I miss war, more than I missed you
Corporal Ethan Lucas, USMC, Veteran
Artwork by: Larry Jay Lucas, (Vietnam Veteran and Father)
Below is the link to my web-site so you can learn a little bit more about me. While going through treatment I noticed their was no material written or aimed at my generation. I think this will reach a large audience and put today’s problems in today’s terms. I had a book reading at the Long Beach, Borders in August. I got incredible feed back and think this will help many avoid going down the same road I went.
Contact me at email@example.com or EthanScarsofWar@gmail.com
PURCHASE BOOK HERE!!!!!