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Local veterans celebrate recovery at VA Maryland event

Posted at 6:59 PM, Feb 03, 2017

D'Andre Wells' story started like many other veterans: at war.

His military career began in 2001 just as the United States went to war with Iraq. After going to and from the war zone every six months from Fort Campbell in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Wells returned home and started a new life in 2005.

"I had to find a way to survive. I had to find a way to come back into the civilian world and reconnect with myself and the community," Wells said.

Wells went on to marry his wife and start a family, but then, his horrible past caught up with him. He began to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and started self-medicating with alcohol to get through the day. 

"I came home with pain I did not want to share with anyone," Wells recalls. 

He said there were several times he wanted to commit suicide. Wells was admitted into a mental hospital for 40 days. When he got out, he started his life again. He lost weight and became a fitness instructor at Brick Bodies, gaining a following as a spin teacher.

Wells is now the founder and CEO of FreeWheel Fitness Baltimore.

"I decided, I want to live," Wells said. "I decided I had the power to change my story. I had the power to say this is not how it's going to end."

Wells shared his story Friday at a celebration event in honor of veterans who have recovered from substance abuse.

If you or someone you know if struggling with PTSD, you can find more information on the services that the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System offers on their website.

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