I often wonder where I would be if I hadn’t joined the army. I’d probably still be an alcoholic even if I hadn’t joined the army, but the army did speed the process up. When I was in the army in Germany you could buy a 40 oz bottle of Bacardi Rum for $2.90. When I was in the army everyone drank to excess. Every Friday there would be a line of soldiers trudging up the hill to the package store and back. Sometimes I think the military should pay disability pensions to guys who became alcoholic in the military, but it would probably bankrupt the country if they did that. If I hadn’t joined the army I would probably have had more to lose when the alcohol got me, but I was a born alcoholic, and I was going to succumb to alcohol regardless of my circumstances.
I think there’s a possibility I’d be dead if I’d done things differently though. I’m extremely lucky just to be here.
My Case Manager used to work with Vets, and she said that there is a high rate of alcohol and substance abuse among this population.
More so than mental illness alone.
Large armies seem to always have problems with the vices of their soldiers. It’s all that “hurry up and wait”, and also all that make work stuff. They’re always having you paint something. If I was a post commander I would take steps to make alcohol more difficult for my soldiers to get.
Getting addicted to crack and then getting clean was kind of a blessing. If I had never smoked crack, got addicted, and then got clean in 1990, I would have been doing drugs probably for the last 28 years. If those things never happened, the chances are about 80% that I would have been nickel diming myself with drugs and alcohol this whole time. I got addicted and had to get clean and abstain from all drugs and alcohol. But I would most likely have been getting drunk and high and my life would be drastically different. When I got clean, I almost immediately got a job, enrolled in college and got a good social life. But I wouldn’t have done those things if I was getting drunk and high several times a week which is my natural inclination. So being forced to get clean (to save my life) saved me from getting drunk for the past 28 years.
Maybe this is weird, twisted logic, lol.
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