CATLETTSBURG, Ky. — It was 18 years ago when Matt Bailey decided college wasn’t for him, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

What You Need To Know

  • Addiction Recovery Care is a rehab center in central and eastern Kentucky

  • ARC helps veterans with no-cost drug treatment programs

  • Matt Bailey celebrated a year of sobriety on Veterans Day, thanks to ARC and a fellow veteran who went through the program himself

Bailey was injured twice while serving in Iraq and became addicted to the opioids he was prescribed after he left.

“To get to the point to where I couldn’t get out of bed unless I had a pill, I struggled with it, and I would abuse them,” Bailey said. “And I lost my family.”

Bailey struggled with addiction for years until a judge urged him to seek out help from Earl Young, a peer support specialist at Addiction Recovery Care (ARC), a rehab center with multiple locations in Eastern Kentucky.  

Young drove several hours to pick up Bailey on Veterans Day last year and bring him to ARC.

“I think that’s beautiful myself because anytime we can help a vet, there's no feeling like it,” Young said.

Young is another veteran who battled drug addiction, working through ARC’s program himself before beginning a career there helping others.

He’s celebrating three years sober this coming January.

“After coming to Addiction Recovery Care, it changed my life,” he said.

Young said ARC gives veterans a “grace bed,” meaning they don’t have to pay. That’s especially important because veterans can have a hard time seeking treatment for drug addiction.

“The VA insurance doesn’t pay for outside treatment; they will only pay you for veterans’ treatments at the VA hospitals, and they stay packed,” Young said. “A lot of times, there’s waiting lists on these treatment programs.”

Bailey said the help came at a crucial time in his life.

“It saved my life,” he said. “When I say I was bad off, I was bad off. I was 137 pounds, literally being eat up by fleas and bed bugs. I mean, it was a miserable life.”

Now Bailey has his life back with a year of sobriety under his belt.  

“And ARC gave me that. If it wasn’t for me coming to ARC, and meeting a brother veteran like Earl, coming into my life like he did, I could be dead or worse,” he said. “And I don’t want to return to that lifestyle.”

Now every Veterans Day means another year of a clean lifestyle for Bailey.