G'day I'm Josh.
I've been out of the Army, for nearly a year and a half. The transition to civilian life was rather rough and my employment with my military career didn't end the way i'd imagine it to.
A bit about me first...
I was 18 years old when I enlisted into Army. Where I served in the Royal Australian Infantry for 5 years.
The lessons I learnt, places I experienced and brotherhoods forged, will stay with me. After my deployment to Afghanistan I felt it hard to fit back into society (like most, if not all do. Which is a current problem for those discharging from Military service).
At first life seemed different and strange. I eventually realised nothing had changed, just myself and my outlook.
I struggled for the following years, wearing a different mask for protection and lusting after any chance to escape the country. Like most I turned to alcohol and expressed my emotions with violence. Which eventually push both my partner and close family members away.
The reason why I tell you this is not for any sympathy, my mindset was toxic and I used the worst possible way to deal with my problems as do. It's to paint the picture that the for 2 1/2 years this went on, it was deemed "normal" Soldierly conduct.
After all of the nights passing out with a bottle in my hand or violent incidences, my career come to a close with nothing but a Certificate of Appreciation of Service and a truck load of problems.
But the story isn't all dark and gloomy.
A man name Ian Bone, taught me how to acknowledge these problems and to stop hiding behind a bottle when the fight gets to tough. He put me through physical training and put me into social scenarios which helped me get out of my comfort zone and has lead to me being able to better myself in my line of work to this day.
I talked to him about how I could give back and he told me that the VSA has always had his back in helping him out on non-profit events.
Why the beard? It wasn't originally a fashion statement, although it did grow on me and I began to love it. I used it to basically hide away and not have to deal with myself on a day to day basis. Since our last Anzac day this year, the dawn after. One of my close friends and mentors Raf Rosado, encouraged me to stop hiding and practice what I preach. That re-enforced the fact that if i was going to help others, I start with myself first.
So if you have made it this far. Please help me support a non-profit organisation that has helped thousands of current soldiers, veterans and their families. I honestly believe that small things like this, can make a massive difference and help out those soldiers forced to suffer in silence.