Back in March, I received an email from a veteran named Akshay. It was a reply to one of my automated emails, where I gave away a free copy of my book Play It Away.
His message is one the kindest I’ve received, and it hit me pretty hard (I immediately forwarded it to my parents). He told me that he’d used play to overcome the darkest periods of his life — depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Here is his email:
Hi CharlieI just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
After struggling with drug addiction and losing two friends to that lifestyle, I got out and joined the Marines. I then went to Iraq and came home only to be diagnosed with PTSD by the VA. I then struggled with alcohol addiction and almost found myself on the brink of death. I have also lost friends and fellow Marines to war and suicide.
I found a way through all of these challenges, and it was play in one form or another that allowed me to do so.
So I am writing this message to express my sincere gratitude to you for giving away your book to my fellow veterans, people who I know for a fact need this knowledge. Your story is incredible, your wisdom is priceless and you are a gift to humanity. Thank you for being such a giving and caring human being, Charlie.
With immense love and gratitude,
I ended up sharing a portion of this email when I presented at the Pentagon with American Dream U a few months later.I have much more to share about play helping soldiers, but we’ll save it for another day…