Statistics show millions of Americans battle substance abuse, with one in eight adults simultaneously struggling with both alcohol and drug use disorders.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found 19.7 million adults in the U.S. facing addiction, according to results examining substance abuse usage in 2017. Julia Bullock, a National Guard spouse who previously worked in law enforcement, has taken on the task of arming those struggling through faith-based tools.
That calling led to Bullock being named the 2020 Armed Forces Insurance Arkansas National Guard Spouse of the Year. But before she was a military spouse, she was a police officer. Rather than concentrate on arrests, she instead focused on finding resources for those suffering from addiction.
And it’s personal for her. From the time she was in high school, she was an advocate. She would eventually lose her brother — a veteran — to suicide due to addictions he could no longer battle. His struggle began after returning from Afghanistan and being told not long after he’d have to go back. When he chose instead to go AWOL, he was dishonorably discharged. This led to a downward spiral of addiction. Since then, combating veteran addiction and suicide are her priorities.
“People don’t know the full responsibility that these guys take on, of taking somebody’s life,” she explained.
Her brother wouldn’t be the last person she would lose to drug and alcohol addiction. Many friends would follow, including those who have been to prison for drugs, she says.
Her own sister got involved with a cartel, causing her to be marked.
“When the U.S. Marshalls found my sister, we were relieved. It’s sad that my mom was relieved that my sister was going to prison but we thought she might have a chance now,” Bullock said.
Despite continual losses, she continued to fight to get men and women into rehab, advocating for them in court and even in the prisons.
Bullock did this even as a police officer, finding ways to get people resources they desperately needed. It was while serving in law enforcement that she would meet her now husband, a police officer and soldier in the Army National Guard. Not only do they serve their community, which has been hard hit by the opioid and heroin epidemic, but they’ve taken it a step further and adopted children in the foster care system who’ve lost their parents to drug addiction.
Though Bullock has experienced significant trauma in her life, she credits God for leading the way.
“I tell people all the time, you are right — I’ve never been there, I don’t know what it’s like to withdraw. But I do know the hell that families are going through worrying,” she explained.
Bullock is a staunch advocate for faith-based restoration and recently co-founded a nonprofit called Exiting Egypt Restoration Center. It is a one-year transformation center that is faith based for those battling drug and alcohol addiction. She and her husband are also working on their doctorate as a team through Center Arkansas Bible College.
Her message to families who are going through the struggle of watching a loved one battle addiction is simple: “There is still hope, don’t give up on them.”Read comments