Scholars Profile: Miranda Dillard
Miranda Dillard was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force in 1987 – it was then that her substance misuse began. After experiencing trauma during her time in the military she developed symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “My addiction to alcohol was made worse with drugs (cocaine and crack) which caused me to lose control of all things precious to me. The addiction became my life.” She adds, “I was hopeless.” She entered treatment and remained alcohol and drug-free for about 8 years – but she soon grew complacent – she stopped engaging in supportive services and stopped treating her disease – at which point, Miranda reengaged in use.
Service members have an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder, but have low rates of of referral to treatment services, according to a recently published Research Update from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, “This is often attributed to high levels of stigma.” Furthermore, “post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur following exposure to a traumatic event, with symptoms that include re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, hyperarousal and negative cognitions. PTSD occurs significantly more often among military veterans than civilian populations.” Miranda found that in order to get and stay well she needs to treat both her substance use disorder and her post-traumatic stress disorder.
Today, with almost two years in recovery, Miranda is an active member of a 12-step program, attends a support group at the Veterans Affairs (VA), and is an active member of her church. She also volunteers weekly.
At 57 years old, Miranda received an Ammon Academic Award for the Spring 2019 semester. “I am very grateful for the scholarship, along with the opportunity to network with others pursuing higher education.” She attends Kennesaw State University and is studying Sociology, with a Concentration on Criminology. Recovery has helped Miranda reunite with her both of her children, her son and daughter, who are 11 and 19.Today, not only is she a college student, but her son is one as well. She is committed to furthering her education and believes education will help her give back to her community. “I would like to bridge the gaps of the prison system as it relates to the rate of recidivism among drug offenders.” She wants to use her education to eventually work with drug courts and diversion center programs.
Our blog features the profiles of other recipients of the scholarship award, as well as information about how to apply.
Ranes, Bethany, PhD (March 2018) Substance Use Disorders among Military Populations. Research Update, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Retrieved from: https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/education/bcr/addiction-research/substance-abuse-military-ru-518