Local veteran battles, beats addiction

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Julius Bell’s career in the U.S. Army spans nearly 30 years. But after all that time in uniform, he undertook his most important fight only four years ago.

Bell, who fully retired from the Army in 2007 after being stationed in Fort Knox, Kent., battled an alcohol problem for nearly the duration of his enlistment. After almost three decades in his own personal war, Bell celebrated four years of sobriety Monday.

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“Things just were out of control,” Bell said of his reasoning to seek help. “You lose responsibilities, you don’t take care of your business…I lost my driver’s license…”

Bell sought help from the Tuscaloosa Veteran’s Administration, living at the facility for 90 days as part of the treatment program.

“I’d been in the program before but I didn’t finish,” he said. “This time, I was going to finish. I had just had enough of it.”

Bell committed to the program and invested the full 90 days. Last week, he was awarded a certificate of appreciation, recognizing his commitment to the program and celebrating four years of sobriety.

He and his family also celebrated his four-year anniversary with a cookout at their home.

Now, with 48 months of sobriety among his accomplishments, the former Army Supply Clerk offered fairly simple advice to those who struggle daily with the grips of drugs or alcohol.

“Pray and trust in the Lord,” he offered as step one. “Then, take the advice of people who are trying to help you. You have to want to help yourself. If everybody can see your problem but you, you won’t be successful. You have to want to do it for yourself.”