Connecticut Navy Veteran No Longer Homeless

Nov 6, 2015

"If you're not ready to quit something, that doesn't mean you have to stay under the bridge."
Steven Bernier

In the days leading up to Veterans Day, WNPR brings you stories from veterans and those in their community. 

Steven Bernier served in the U.S. Navy.

"I loved it. I would have stayed in over 20 if I could have. But I became a single parent. So I got out, learned the restaurant business. Opened up my first restaurant I think it was in ‘92. Then I opened up my bar and my father says, “Don’t do it.” Because he just knew.

"And about four months into me owning the bar, 2 o’clock in the morning, I says, ‘Oh I’ll have one shot’ and then, boom, I was on a run with alcohol.

"I was living under a pier in New London, Connecticut and somebody told me about the homeless shelter. I went to the VA; I checked myself into the emergency room, and went to a substance abuse program. It’s a 21-day program but I did like 40-something, and that basically was my road to recovery.

Steven Bernier experienced chronic homelessness. He was helped by veteran specific outreach programs in the community and at the VA.
Credit Victor Suwatcharapinun CPBN

"If you’re not ready to quit something, that doesn't mean you have to stay under the bridge, OK? There’s places -- come stay here; we’ll take care of you; get warm first. And then we’ll tackle the second thing, and then we’ll tackle the third thing. It’s like a domino effect. I have my own apartment now. I’ve had it for, January it'll be two years. You’ve gotta take the first step."