Juice. Hard stuff. Hooch.
There are songs written about it, advertisements plastered all around about it, social and personal experiences that shape how we all look at it. Alcohol can be a treat for some, a temporary solution for others, or another weakness in the internal battles with mental health. Service members/Veterans are notorious for being labeled as the seasoned drinkers, the ultimate partiers, and the ones who can handle their liquor the best. It’s a culture of proving oneself that you can hang with the best and a way to ease the tension of the many vigours that come with wearing the uniform.
It helps with easing the pressure
When the pressures of military life continue to mount, finding a LEGAL way of easing the tensions can be easily obtained at a local exchange. We can view alcohol in many different ways, it can bring out the comedic side or dark side for some of us. Some of us know our personal limits and occasionally might need to “let loose a bit”. However, there are those who can not control their intake and soon alcohol becomes the only focus in life. Many service members have suffered from the addiction to this substance which cost them their career or their life. Despite treatment programs within the services to help those with any substance abuse issues, there are still those who fall prey to the stigma of getting help, such as mental health treatment, that they will often hide it from everyone around them.
I admit I fell into the pressures of needing to find some release from the stressors of life. My first military experience with “hitting the bottle hard” came after a traumatic experience working in the military hospital ER. Death, blood, and raw emotions of pain have all become too familiar with me over time but what I found I couldn’t handle was the death of a child. I will spare the details but simply put that holding a small lifeless body in one’s arms then suddenly being confronted by the parents took a toll. I took myself to a bar to look for answers, more for a way to forget, at the end of the bottle. Being alone was not an option, but I didn’t want to talk to friends or family about it, either. So, I found solace with others downing their “suds” next to me. Despite many bottles into the night, I only found myself at a local ER with alcohol poisoning.
I wised up and swore off doing something like that again. I only recall three times having blackouts in my early 20s, typically within the company of friends. But never again did I go back to the bottle to find answers to life’s problems. Over the years, I lost friends and brothers/sisters of arms to the “drink” for different reasons. Some didn’t have the intent to take the bottle with them to heaven and others felt they had no other choice and that going down drinking was the preferred option. Especially now, when I am at my worst, both mentally/physically, because of my various ailments, I never thought of hitting the bottle hard. I have seen countless times what alcohol dependence can do to a person. I don’t want to put my family and friends through that. However, there are those who unfortunately can not easily escape the bottle.
THERE IS HELP
Countless Veterans fight alcoholism, some manage and some don’t. There are countless resources available to get treatment and to win the battle against the dependency on alcohol. I would like to take time to bring attention to one particular website that I found incredibly useful for those needing help with this troubling addiction. AlcoholRehabHelp.org is a great informational website for individuals who need help in their battle against alcoholism. With medical literature, friendly explanation of various treatment options, and best yet is the ability to call them for additional information. Please reach out to them, for yourself or a loved one. Please also check out my links for more references for both medical resources and mental health resources.