"The Story Behind Victims-N-Crisis Retreat Center"
by Joe Fuller
I usually don't talk too much about what happened to me because it was law enforcement related and rarely happens to police officers working the streets. I am one of few police officers natioanlly to survive a kidnapping/attempted murder plot. I was a undercover narcotics officer that worked alone, not by choice. I was apprehended by a regional drug gang, held against my will, physically beaten and mentally abused and tortured. My captors took my pistol, buried it into the side of my head and pulled the triggger repeatedly. They beat me so bad that I was numb all over and knew that death was very close at hand.Surviving was a miracle. There is no other logical explanation. I recovered from my physical injuries and returned to work, but I never got over the mental abuse and torture that I suffered at the hands of my captors. Unknowingly, I developed PTSD soon after the incident. the secondary wounding that I experienced was worse than the incident itself. I never had a clue about PTSD. My response to anybody was that I could handle it. Soon the symptoms consumed me, slowly changing my life forever. The progression of the illness moved at a snail's pace until my family could barely stand me. Two years after the incident, law enforcement had abandoned me and I found myself changing jobs frequently because I could not get along with anybody and the paranoia was running rampart.Late in 1991, I was finally diagnosed with PTSD and started treatment. During my three years in treatment, I had been on many different kinds of medication. Because of my PTSD, I voluntarily left the workplace and accepted Social Security Disability. By 1994, all my lawsuits had been settled and there was nobodyelse left to sue. Five years of fighting and waiting, had netted me about $15,000.00, but I still found myself very much in debt. The stress of the lawsuits just increased the intensity of my PTSD. The finally blow came in December of 1994, when I found out that my prognosis was not favorable. My therapist told me that my illness was severe, chronic and permanent. I could either stay on the medication the rest of my life or learn to live with the illness. There was no noticeable improvement from the time that I entered treatment until now. Workers Compensation had paid in full all my medical expenses up through the settlement. Soon,I began to realize that if I was going to learn to live with my PTSD, I needed to know and understand the illness. I basically educated myself about PTSD. I knew that it was a miracle that I survived and there had to be a reason for this. In 1995, I founded Another Day Ministries Inc. of South Carolina. I started a local peer support group for trauma victims. In three short years, Another Day Ministries has struggled financially, but has managed to open its peer support ministry to trauma victims nationally. The Victims-N-Crises Retreat Center now renamed the National Retreat Center For Trauma Victims is ready to serve victims nationally who want to get better. The Trauma Assistance Recovery Program is a two-day seminar that blends education about PTSD with organized peer support. The sminar, room, board and meals are free to all victims and their families. T.A.R.P. is well organized and provides victims with a meaningful program that is very different from treament in that it focuses only on the symptomatic issues surounding a victims' traumatic event. In our peer support groups, victims do not relive the details of the trauma. Instead, in our groups, victims are bombarded with empathy which binds them together breaking down the loniliness and opens lines of comunication where victims feel very comfortable in sharing their thoughts and feelings. Being with other victims who have been there and sharing information about living with the symtoms of PTSD is very meaningful and helpful to the group. A small number of victims from many different states has visited the retreat center and have been very pleased with our services.
I have tried to take something that happened to me that was tragic, turn it around and make it into something positive so that other trauma victims could benefit from what I have learned in my ten year battle with PTSD. PTSD carries a life sentence unless caught in the early stages. There are some illnesses that are far beyond the help of traditional treatment practices.The best that any traditional mental health treatment program can provide any trauma victim with PTSD is temprary relief from the symptoms. Today, another miracle has taken place in my life that I can now share with other victims. I am free of all the symptoms of PTSD. The nightmares, flashbacks, the insominia, the wide mood swings, the paranoia, the hyperactivity and the other symptoms are gone forever. My traumatic event is still lodged in my memory but like the symptoms no longer carries any weight in my life. I am doing things now that Ihave not done in ten years, however, I still carry the stigma and all the negative labels that our society places on " being a victim ". The Lord healed me of this illness in a very special way. The secrets of my success now are invested in the Victims-N-Crises Retreat Center and the Trauma Assistance Recovery Program. Education about the illness + Organized Per Support (empathy) + " Healing The Inner Self ( Rightous Truth) = Freedom from symptoms of PTSD is our formula that we offer to victims. This formula worked for me and others, it could easily work for victims who want to get better and it is free.
Our policy has always been that victims are in total control of their own recovery. There are no treatment planning or record keeping nor professional facilitators. Victims pick and choose what programs they want to participate in at the retreat center. We promise victims who come, security, privacy, reliable confidentiality and an opportunity to get better.
The Victims-N-Crises Retreat Center needs public support and funding from individuals who are empathetic towards trauma victims. Another Day hopes that our cause wil become your cause.
Joe Fuller© 1999
Founder of Victims-N-Crisis Retreat Center
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