Vets sail through therapy on the water

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- As a Veterans on Deck member untied the rope, the group set sail on its weekly journey through the Charleston Harbor and through life's challenges.

But finding their course in life hasn't always been easy. Many of the women on board weather challenges, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, military sexual trauma and mental illness.

"We've seen some veterans who started with us who've been completely withdrawn and stay at home most of the time," said operating officer Sean Muzzy. "Some have been suicidal. We've seen them commit to come out and put themselves in situations they're not comfortable with."

While the women talk things out on the sail, they're also responsible for keeping the boat afloat and managing all the sailing apparatus on board.

But their other purpose is harder to describe; it's a feeling similar to the feeling one gets when staring at a blue ocean illuminated by the sun.

"One day I came on here, I was talking about something. I didn't know I had that in me. I never had talked about that ever. So it brought that out," one participant said.

"Let's face it any time you get all these women on a boat together you're going to have to work things out," another participant said.

Through the program, the women have become tied to the others' lives. Some called it a life saver.

"It's just easier to talk to other females than it is to males sometimes," a veteran said. "It's just being able to have that time away isolated from the whole world but getting to learn how to interact with people again."

She said she wouldn't have her head above water if it weren't for her Wednesdays with Veterans on Deck.

The ladies meet every Wednesday at 11 a.m. Veterans on Deck also has a mixed sail for men and women at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The group invited any veteran or active military personnel to join. Interested parties can show up at the Ashley Marina at 33 Lockwood Drive at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday or Friday.