A Center for Sustainable Change Project
We all want peace.
We all want the contentment, ease
The systems are broken, not our veterans.
The current systems that are available for veterans make a basic assumption that a veteran is broken and needs to be “fixed.” Many of these systems teach veterans that they are permanently broken, that they have incurable mental illnesses, with no hope of ever leading a normal life. It is difficult at best to experience peace when this is what you are told.
There is another way to bring peace to veterans.
Teaching veterans that they have a psychological immune system that naturally brings them back to peace is life-altering. No longer are veterans forced to “survive”. Instead, they are learning to Thrive in their lives, regain control over their experience, and have hope – often for the first time since they have returned home. Knowing that their experience of the world TODAY comes from thought and is brought to life via consciousness, allows them to live in the present moment instead of reliving the horror they may have experienced during their service to their country.
Imagine a world where veterans could be fully participatory in their communities, could truly leave war and troubles behind them and see that they are healthy and whole and have the rest of their lives to thrive and enjoy living again. That is not a dream, but a reality for many veterans who have learned about their psychological immune system and their innate resilience through courses and programs taught by Dr. Judith Sedgeman and other Practitioners of Innate Health.
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Read Beverly's Story
Center for Sustainable Change was able to offer a small pilot version of its THRIVING vs Surviving veterans program in Charlotte, NC, in April, 2016. Beverly was the only female veteran in the group of five. She came to the three-day event with a lot of skepticism, after years of traditional and non-traditional treatment for PTSD. In the quiet, caring environment of our talks about the Principles, she heard her own wisdom. Today, she is a supporter, ready to advocate for anything Center for Sustainable Change can do for veterans.
Peace for Veterans will be facilitated by well-known Innate Health practitioners that have years of experience helping veterans.
Dr. Judith Sedgeman - whose work in Veterans court in Bradenton FL has given new life to veterans who have entered the criminal justice system - will be the lead facilitator. Dr. Sedgeman has long been a leader in teaching and practicing leadership in the presentation and development of innate health education and services. Learn more....
Dr. William Pettit Jr. - whose experience as a psychiatrist led him to move away from the concept of mental illness and instead focus on mental health, will be part of this series as well. Dr. Pettit served as a physician in the United States Navy for over 9 years, including 3 years as Chief of Psychiatry of the Navy Nuclear Submarine base at Groton, Connecticut. Learn more...
Read Paul's Story
My name is Paul Dean, I am 53 years old as I write, and suffered with chronic PTSD as diagnosed by a psychiatrist who had spent six years in the United States working with Vietnam Veterans. This is my personal experience of The Three Principles with regard to my PTSD.
I spent twelve and a half years (the half is really important! LOL) in the British Army as an infantry soldier and later in my career with the Royal Corps of Transport. During this time, I served three tours in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and early 1980s both as an infantryman and as an armoured ambulance driver. I joined at the tender age of 16 years old.
As far as I am aware, I first visited my G.P. in 1998 with “mental problems” and was initially diagnosed with “depression.” It was, in fact, the beginning of twelve years of torture with PTSD.
During this time, I was visiting doctors, councillors, psychologists and psychiatrists and was taking 32 tablets a day including lithium. On a number of occasions the authorities had even tried to send me to a mental institute and I was fortunate to escape this fate thanks to my lovely, caring wife.
I was also self medicating with alcohol on a daily basis for the last five years of my PTSD. I was extremely angry with society as a whole and spent nearly all my time indoors for fear of harming someone. (Little did I know at the time that this would have added to my problems.)
Cutting a long story short, my anger turned to sadness and I ended up with a loaded 9mm Glock pistol at my throat, threatening to take my own life. The horrified look on my wife’s face was what stopped me pulling the trigger and at that moment I decided to look elsewhere (other than the established health authorities) for a “cure.”
Up to this point, I had been told that I would have PTSD for the rest of my life. How wrong that statement would be, because for the last two and a half years (now you see how important the half is!) I have lived WITHOUT PTSD and my world is a much happier place.
I spent some time researching and eventually in November 2009 came across a charity in the UK that dealt with veterans suffering PTSD by veterans who had previously suffered PTSD. This was the start of my recovery.
I had shifted immensely, but still felt that there was more to offer “out there” so continued my research until I eventually came across The Three Principles in April 2011 just short of a year ago.
The Three Principles have taken me to a whole new level of human experience. Without question, The Three Principles have improved not only the quality of my life and that of my wife, family, and friends around me, but has also given me a wealth of happiness that I hadn’t up until this point experienced, and most importantly for me, a “quiet mind.”
I had always been searching “out there” for my happiness, when in reality it only ever existed “inside” of me! I was stuck in the trap of “I’ll be happy when.” “I’ll be happy when we move abroad,” for instance. We had moved to Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean, thinking this may help with my PTSD. In actual fact it made it worse! I eventually lost my business out there.
Now I know that I only ever need to “look inside” for my happiness, that bad things happen to all people, and that it is the way that I “think” about the situation that determines the “outcome.”
Understanding the “quiet mind” and having a “deeper understanding” of The Three Principles has not made me happy 24/7, but it HAS made the “low quality of mind” times a lot less often and for a much, much shorter time, therefore giving me a better quality of life and a happier life including those around me.
My mind was always racing, thoughts popping in and out on a split second basis. The fact that I had taken myself to my room, in effect, had worsened my PTSD as in my solitude I was left alone with nothing but my thoughts!
I now know, through learning the Three Principles, that I do not need to pay any attention to my thoughts, as they are just that… thoughts! They are not real, they cannot harm me in any way and I will be OK. Living in the moment, literally moment to moment, is the only reality! The rest is just thought!
I also know that I am only ever “feeling my thinking” and that in the past, because I was “feeling,” I “thought” it was real. When in fact, it was just an illusion that I had created for myself.
I would also like to point out at this stage that everyone has their own “inner wisdom” and when I was about to commit suicide, my “inner wisdom” (i.e. the little voice in my head) was saying “don’t do it,” “you’ll regret it,” “it will be OK.” How glad am I that I listened to that inner voice of wisdom now!
I am in a completely new and exciting time in my life right now because of the understanding of The Three Principles. If anyone who is listening or reading this letter has any kind of mental issue, I would recommend that you learn The Three Principles. If it can help with PTSD, then it will in no doubt help with all other mental issues.
At this point, I would like to thank all the people who are involved with The Three Principles, and especially those who have helped me on my journey!
We believe these possibilities should be accessible to every veteran, not just the lucky ones who have programs like this in their home town. You will be helping to make this possible by assisting us in bringing these programs online and making them free for veterans who wish to thrive in their lives.
Your funds will allow us to record these lessons in short manageable bites of no longer than 15 minutes, and index them according to topic so a veteran can easily find solutions for what they are struggling with. These video and audio recordings will be provided free of charge to veterans through a website at peaceforveterans.org. Funds will be administered by Center for Sustainable Change – a well known non-profit founded by Dr. Roger Mills and his daughter Ami Chen Mills-Naim. Dr. Mills was best known for his work in communities, and was profiled on the Today Show on his work in the Modello Housing Project.
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Read Nicole's Story
My name is Nicole Cetrangolo. I graduated college in December of 1994 with two BS degrees. About three months later, I was brutally assaulted and nearly murdered by someone that I knew in college and who had become a Massachusetts State Trooper. The assault lasted over eight hours in which I was beaten unconscious (nearly to death), kicked, punched and tortured, all while a locked and loaded semiautomatic 9 mm gun was being held to my head. At one point the person put the gun in his mouth and tried to make me pull the trigger. I was also raped while the gun was held to my head. This high-profile case made national news.
Before this “incident” I had no psychological issues and had never seen a mental health professional for anything. Immediately after this brutal attack, my mind slipped into what was diagnosed as “acute and severe PTSD.” It took days, weeks and months just to remember most of the events that took place. Over the next nine years, I was hospitalized many times in mental wards. These hospitalizations were too many to count. I can estimate there were more than twenty (some lasting in excess of three weeks).
Over the years, I was prescribed in excess of 40 different psychiatric medications, often taking ten or more of these a day.
I was extremely suicidal and made numerous attempts to take my life. One of those attempts resulted in me being in a coma for a week and the doctors saying that there was no medical explanation why I lived. For many years, I wished I had died that horrible night that I thought had changed my life forever.
In 2002, a doctor wrote a letter indicating that I was “permanently damaged and would most likely never be able to function on my own again.” After hearing this prognosis, I felt doomed and began drowning my feelings of hopelessness with alcohol and drugs.
During one of the ensuing hospitalizations in April of 2003, the psychiatric team considered having me committed to a long term facility due to my determination to end my life.
Subsequently, I was hospitalized an additional four times at CRH; the last of these being in July of 2004. One afternoon during this hospitalization, I was standing at the nurses’ counter saying to the staff how I was stuck in this mental state of feeling “forever doomed” and how I did not want to live anymore. A doctor whom I had never met was standing at the far end of the counter and overheard my comments.
At some point that doctor interjected and said that these feelings were due to my thinking. My first thoughts were that he had no idea what he was talking about because he didn’t know me nor what had happened to me, and that I was an exception to what he was saying. I said just that.
He responded by elaborating a little on his previous statement. At that time I got a glimpse of a light, a light that I now see all the time. He later dropped off books on the Three Principles by Sydney Banks. After watching several videos of Mr. Banks my life completely changed. A few years prior, while hospitalized, a video was played for a group. I ‘got it’ immediately but it didn’t last. I asked the staff who the video was of and no one knew. I could not find any information on it. It wasn’t until years later that I realized who it was after Dr. Petit gave me some videos to watch. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there might be a way out of the state of mind that I had been unknowingly feeding for so many years and resigned myself to. The only ways out that I had ever previously known were attempting suicide, using alcohol and drugs, and praying (daily) for God to take me back.
When I met this doctor (Pettit), I was on 300 mg. Zoloft daily, 200 mg. Trazodone at night, 1 mg of Klonopin 3x/day and Ativan as needed for flashbacks which I usually took daily. During the previous nine years, my longest period of time in between hospital stays was no more than a few months. The day I met Dr. Pettit was the LAST DAY I was in a mental hospital (some 4+ years ago) and no longer need the medications. I began to see that there was a different way to perceive my thoughts. This enabled me to see I also had control over my future. This was something I always had deep inside me, but completely lost touch with as a result of the trauma. It was not about the thoughts I was having, as much as it was what I chose to do with them. I might add that I had been a patient of a number of doctors who are currently considered to be the best mental health professionals in the country.
I have not been hospitalized in well over three years. I no longer consider suicide as an option or would even want to die. All of my perspectives have changed. I am mentally healthier now than I have ever been. These simple concepts have allowed me to change myself and my way of thinking.
I am now doing things that I never thought possible. I have recently been presented with “life challenges” unlike any I have experienced before. I am better equipped now, than I EVER would have been (even prior to the trauma) had I not learned this way of thinking.
I only have one wish, that being that all people struggling with any form of mental illness could learn of these principles and apply them to their own lives. If I was introduced to these principles before I was traumatized, I could have avoided many hospitalizations, self labeling, suicide attempts, and all of the grave and grim prognoses by the dozens of doctors I saw. Understanding these Principles saved my life. They saved me from myself and my thinking. I would suggest these Principles not only for the “mentally ill” but for ALL humans in the world in order to better their lives and the world. I know I would not be here today without that chance meeting at the counter during my LAST hospital stay over 3 years ago. I can’t say enough about this and the great potential it has to change so many more lives if it were learned and accepted around the world. The great thing about it is not only how easy it is, but also that nobody has anything to lose by simply opening their mind and learning about these principles.
I am so grateful for meeting Dr. Pettit and being introduced to Sydney Banks’ Principles. It has allowed me to live again and enjoy living.
Sadly, Nicole passed away on April 5, 2009 as the result of a motorcycle/automobile accident. She was an avid supporter of our troops, and volunteered to adopt a platoon stationed in Khost, Afghanistan, providing care packages as well as moral and emotional support by cards, letters, and e-mails to the troops until they returned to the United States.
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