Degree: Master of Social Work
College/School: Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work
Worlds Ahead Graduate Alan Brailsford was fresh out of high school when he joined the Air Force. There he was able to fulfill his desire to help others as a medic in the ICU and ER, on surgical wards and in clinics. After four years of service, in Texas, New Hampshire, Florida and Korea, Alan decided not to reenlist when his tour was up in 1983. This was long before a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was to be adopted, and the military’s unspoken sentiment toward LGBTQ persons at the time was “just don’t.”
So Alan, determined to define the next stage of his life as a gay man, came out to his parents. Although Norman and Elli received the news with compassion and unconditional love, society was not as accepting, and Alan fell victim to self-hate. Like many other LGBTQ individuals who struggle for acceptance, he turned to alcohol and drugs. Yet Alan’s desire to help others never wavered. With the support of his parents and brother Donald, and through a 12-step program and volunteering, he was able to gain perspective and overcome his disease.
On May 29 of this year, Alan celebrated eight years of sobriety. After his first-hand experience with addiction, Alan decided to pursue a Master of Social Work with a certificate in addictions from the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work in order to help others on the path to recovery.