PANAMA CITY-- Michael fuller served as a medic in the united states army for 15 years . He never thought his return to civilian life would be so difficult.
"I mean I was real reclusive. I didn't want anything to do with family or friends, so i would just self-medicate with drugs and with alcohol," said Fuller.
Fuller is homeless and lives at the Panama City Rescue Mission. In fact, 2 out of 5 people who go through the mission are veterans.
"It's a matter of getting past the macho and admitting you have a problem that can be the barrier. And maybe its just, I can handle this myself, because veterans are self reliant, maybe that's the biggest barrier," said John Kittler of the Rescue Mission.
Jennifer Clark has written a book about her deployment to Afghanistan and her struggles with post traumatic stress disorder.
"A very important piece of themselves that they sacrifice when they go overseas is there innocence. And they carry the remnants of war with them the rest of their lives, and i think that is a very big sacrifice that they make that is not always pointed out," said Clark.
Historically, the rescue mission has served all homeless the same. But the mission received a new grant allowing individual attention for each veterans. And that could make a huge difference.
"They went through some things that the civilian population didn't. They have a little toughness inside of them that many don't. And it's that something extra that I believe will help them get off the street," said Clark.
Fuller called on that toughness to conquer his addictions, and is already planning to help others.
"I'm going to intern here at the mission, so i can give back what the mission gave to me," said Fuller.