02:55AM, Monday 24 February 2014
Paul Hawkshaw, 32, who lives in Windsor, had spent 15 years in the army and felt lost when he left.
He said: "I was really bad at the lowest point. I wasn't sleeping or eating and drank to sleep. When that didn't work I took drugs and ended up doing both just to sleep."
He says he was saved by the Mike Jackson House in Aldershot, which offers support and training for troubled veterans.
It is run by social landlords Riverside ECHG. As well as offering a home the Mike Jackson team arranged for a psychiatrist to help Paul cope with traumatic memories of endless rocket attacks.
He said: "I had buried it all but the stuff in Afghanistan in the end did boil over. I was depressed and had all these negative emotions flying around."
Now Paul has a home of his own in Windsor and a job in corporate security in London. He said: "I've got my sights on a supervisor's job and am looking for more responsibility.
"I'm quite level headed facing all my issues. Getting help has definitely helped sort everything else. I have my odd days but who doesn't?"
He said: "Mick Jackson House is somewhere you can start from scratch again. Veterans go in with literally nothing at all. You have help with drink, drugs, depression.
"My only concern is it's not big enough. There are 26 flats but with all the redundancies in the army there will be a lot of guys and girls with nowhere to go."
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.