Joe Williams on Active Duty

Thank you for visiting the After Action Network website. We believe this initiative can be life changing and in some instances life saving, not unlike my own personal story. We hope you’ll enroll and engage in the many programs and services we offer.

As for me, I spent seven years in the Marine Corps (‘04 to ‘11). In 2005, I was badly injured and then again in 2008. In 2009 I tried to kill myself after learning that the severity of my injuries meant I could no longer be a Marine. I struggled to cope and became addicted to painkillers, leading to clinical depression, aggressive suicidal tendencies and a disconnect from myself, who I was, and where I was going in life.

When I returned home I struggled to adjust. I missed my brothers and sisters and longed to be back in Iraq, Afghanistan or some other place fighting for our lives, doing what Marines do best. I missed the adrenaline, the excitement, and the fear of being in a war zone. Most of all, I missed having a purpose greater than my own, fighting for what I truly believed in. I was desperately seeking something to fill a major void in my life. Drugs and alcohol only made things worse, so after the many failed attempts to reintegrate through traditional (VA) standards I began to research and seek out alternative resources and programs. And that’s when the idea for After Action Network began to take hold.

Message from Joe Williams

Luckily for me, I found comfort and purpose through art. Through art and creativity I found my way back home — learning creative outlets to express myself in a healthy, positive and constructive manner. Art opened my eyes to new possibilities and new ways to help my brothers and sisters. It helped me become an entrepreneur and an advocate. And it led me to start After Action Network to help others find their own paint brush, to paint their own pictures and to master their own lives as I did mine. Together we will help others explore new passions, find opportunities and discover careers as born again civilians finding their way home.

~Joe Williams