“This Too Shall Pass”

Army Veteran Clyde McDougal always has a smile on his face, a story to tell, and a saying or quote about God to share. He grew up in Leola, Arkansas and right after high school, he did two things. He got married in the summer and  joined the Army the next January. “I had a deferred enlistment so I had signed up while I was in school. My best friend and I signed up together. He didn’t last through boot camp and truthfully I didn’t think I’d make it eight weeks. But I did.” After boot camp and training, he was sent to Germany as a mechanic and served from 1987- 1993.

He and his wife, JoAnn, had one daughter, but the marriage didn’t survive his time in the military. “I was stateside at Fort Benning and got leave shortly before I got discharged and went home to see of we could work things out. But she told me to to turn around and walk back out of her life so I did. That same leave, I got a phone call from the commander. My best friend in the Army had been killed in a car wreck. His name was Mayfield and he was the one who turned me on to Jesus. That taught me how fragile lives are.”

The two things sent Mr. McDougal into a tailspin. “I was using, alcohol and cocaine. I met my second wife during that time and she was an addict like I was. And when the money ran out, I started making meth. That gave us a steady supply. One night the police started banging on the door. We were both arrested and charged on manufacturing, intent to deliver and child endangerment since our son was in the house. She was convicted and got fourteen years; I was facing forty to life. But when they drug tested me, I was clean. I started NA after that and I’ve been clean for twenty-four years.”

Mr. McDougal’s mother got custody of his son and eventually adopted him. “But I was right there. I lived with them once the charges were dropped. I got a job and got clean. But then I met another woman, Holly. She and I were living together and she had lots of health problems. I looked after her and took care of her. When she got very sick, her daughter was hired as her home health aide, but she just took the money and didn’t do anything. And Holly wouldn’t do anything to help herself. I tried and tried. She was addicted to morphine and liked it that way. I had even told her it was the morphine or me and she looked straight at me and said she’d take the morphine. But I felt obligated to stay because of her health. She eventually went into the hospital. I saw our landlord one day and he told me that I couldn’t stay on the property. When I asked him about it, he said Holly had never put me on the lease. He had sold the house and I’d have to leave. Holly knew about it and didn’t tell me. I left. I spent a few days with my mom, and some time with my cousin and then went to the Day Treatment Center. I spent two nights unsheltered before they opened, but once they did, I got to come here.

Mr. McDougal is currently working on finding housing. “All my paperwork for HUD/VASH is done, I’m waiting on my background check and then I can find a place. Honestly, I didn’t know it, but I prayed for this. And I’d tell any Veteran that whatever you’re going through, ‘this too shall pass’. And then get help and to anyone who thinks you can’t do it, prove them wrong”