CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A local veteran is crediting a Charlotte nonprofit with rebuilding his life after war.
Tim Kee said he's finally feeling like himself again after more than a decade of drug addiction.
“I'm Tim again. I'm who I want to be (and) I'm doing the things I want to do,” he said. “My recovery is number one to me.”
His battle began when he was forced to retire because of an injury after 28 years in the U.S. Army. He took medicine for the pain, but soon lost control.
“I started getting addicted to the painkillers, but then I decided that I would try to take myself out, so by that I started doing cocaine and heroin, mixing that with pain pills,” Kee said.
He tried for years to hide his addiction from his family. He went in and out of rehab until he found Hope Haven, a center for homeless adults struggling with drug and alcohol dependency.
Hope Haven provides counseling, life skills courses and job training.
“The counselors and everybody worked with me, you know, they was there for me,” Kee said. “They're here for you to overcome any boundaries that you may have had.”
People can stay at Hope Haven for up to two years.
Kee is just months away from finishing.
The staff there said the time commitment is key to recovery.
“We have discovered in measuring outcomes, people who stay with us longer stay clean and sober longer,” said Susanne Faust, a staff member at Hope Haven.
For Kee, this Independence Day isn't just about honoring his country and the service he gave, but about his own personal independence, too.
“So that's the best independence you can have, to be clean today and to be in the right mind,” he said.