"I had a friend that died in my arms and that caused me to drink and drug...alot," he said.
Jackson says for a time, cocaine and alcohol freed his pain. That all changed for him seven years ago.
"This time when I came back in 2003, i came here for me. I was tired of drinking, I was tired of getting high," he continued.
Elaine McDade tells a similar story. She also struggled with cocaine.
"It was calling out my name. I could be sitting here and way cross town, "Elaine, Im over here." thats how bad it was on me," she said.
The pair got the help they were looking for at Overton Brooks VA hospital. Its 28 day substance abuse program helps veterans detox, re-group, and get back on their feet.
"They come everyday, weekdays, and spend the whole day up here. Intense therapies to help them gain insights to the nature of the problems that they have and to get some educations about some things that can be done to alleviate the problems," program director Steven Barrinbacker said.
Many of the veterans whove been through this program, whether it was for drugs or alcohol, say it it literally saved their lives.
"If I had not came in this program and got help, Im sure Id be dead today, because I was at the point of no return," Jackson said.
Once the initial therapy is complete, veterans receive continuing care support to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
"Its up to me now..one day at a time," veteran Estell Williams said.
If you or a veteran you know is struggling with substance abuse, there are several different places you can go for help. In addition to Overton Brooks in Shreveport, there are "out-patient" cliinics in Longview, Texarkana and Monroe.