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In Savoy, the Athos house welcomes soldiers wounded during wars. It opened its doors a few months ago. How does it work, and how do these soldiers attempt to return to normal life? Reportage.
“I regularly dream of what I experienced in Afghanistan, quite simply. It prevents me from sleeping, or it wakes me up”, confides David, alpine hunter for 22 years. He is now a member of the Athos house in Brison-Saint-Innocent (Savoie), directed by René, a former officer in the Marines. “I had many soldiers, whether in Bosnia or in Africa, who came back marked by what they had experienced, either for the loss of a brother in arms, or for having seen complicated situations”he explains.
The Athos house is a non-medicalized place, accessible on the advice of a military psychiatrist. David, who has been staying there for a few weeks, assures us that he “lived again[t]” and has “even been to the movies”, a first for several years. Every day, he and his brothers in arms choose their activities, such as yoga. Patrick, also a former alpine hunter, was traumatized following a military operation. After several relapses, he is now trying to regain his self-confidence. “We may not know each other at the beginning, there is this link. (…) There is this fraternity, this mutual aid that we have kept”, he explains. Emergency services at the Athos house are fully supported by the army.