Stephen Otero has been in the Airforce for eleven and a half years; it was typically simpler to be on duty than to be at home, he says. Photographing combat, Otero was sent with the Army and Marines to be sent to the ground and go over thousands of miles, typically in the darkness of the night. The son of a police officer as well as a teacher not only enjoyed the missions he was performing, but he also was pretty good at it too.

“I wasn’t good at coming back home and being a husband or being an office military worker,” Otero stated.

His job required him to be available during all hours of the day. He had become pretty accustomed to the pain of a hernia with an ACE bandage. In addition to that, his body went through heavy damage from bombs and bombers. And worst of all, just like in any war, he watched friends die.

“I was diagnosed with (post-traumatic stress disorder) the first time in 2008,” Otero added. “I kind of chalked it up to the fact that I hated the office environment. I was more aggressive than anybody else.”

But the issue was that he really wanted to get back into action. It turns out when he got home; his wife reported, he was much more aggressive and experiencing worse nightmares. It turns out that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He felt awful, though, after having to take eight pills daily. After a near suicide, a friend of his spoke and began to look into marijuana. He began smoking before bed.

“All I took was that,” he affirmed. “That night had the best sleep I had ever had, it felt like, in my life.”

Otero had found a type of medicine that was successful for him, and he became a daily user of marijuana. That plant, he stated, “worked 100 times better” for him than the daily mixture of pills.

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