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Nonprofit Helps Minnesota Veteran Overcome Alcoholism

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On Wednesday, WCCO is hosting a phone bank as part of our "Trees of Hope" series.

All month we're raising money for different charities. This week the funds are for Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge (MnTC). The group helps thousands of people overcome drug addiction and lead healthy and productive lives.

People from all walks of life can struggle with addiction, and this program helps them give back to others who are going through similar experiences.

Annie Kackman, 24, grew up in Eagan with a dream of following in her brothers' footsteps.

"I have two older brothers who left when I as 16 and joined the Marine Corps together," Kackman. "I didn't want to feel I wasn't doing a good enough job and was comparing myself to people in my family."

During her time stationed in Japan, the pressure became too much for Kackman. After drinking in high school just for fun, alcohol eventually became and escape for Kackman during her time in the service. The Marine Corps sent Kackman to treatment once, but she relapsed and couldn't rejoin the corps.

It was during a visit home one Christmas, Kackman said she hit rock bottom.

"I came home for Christmas vacation to visit family and got in a really bad drunk driving accident," she said. "I was really lucky to have walked away from that."

Her family urged Kackman to try the long-term 13-month treatment program at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. Kackman never felt she got to the root of her problems in her traditional 28-day rehab stay.

"Coming to Teen Challenge, you discover your addiction is more of a symptom of something else that's going on with you," Kackman said.

After completing the treatment program last March, Kackman began working with veterans through MnTC. Some days are still a struggle as Kackman deals with difficult emotions surrounding her past choices.

"I wish I could still be in the Marine Corps because I love it, and I love my country, and I love my brothers and sisters," Kackman said.

But she found new purpose through her work with MnTC.

"What I found is who I am when I took my uniform off, and who I am apart from my family," she said. "There are so many different kinds of freedom and I am so glad now I can walk in a different kind of freedom and I want other people to know they can have that freedom, too."

Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge relies mostly on private donations to help people ages 14 and up across the state through short-term programs as well as 13-month faith-based programs.

There are programs that are not faith-based available or open to different faiths.


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